I have written in some detail about how Danny Hagan and myself started the Green Man Festival in 2003. I covered the first three years from my point of view and decided at this point it would be fun / interesting to open it up to people who were there, both as attendees and performers.
2006 Artwork – Jon Clee.
To start things of we have this fabulous account from Rog Hildreth.
Rog and his friends were there as punters, however Rog is also is the singer in a great band called Vanity Pages.
Rog has also provided me with the full shows from Huw Stephens and Rob Da Bank with loads of live recordings, broadcast days after the festival on Radio 1, they make for a great soundtrack while scrolling through the page!
Green Man 2006 by Rog Hildreth
I had only managed a couple of festivals so far, and hadn’t been to one for a few years whilst trying to get by as a student. I was 23 and a recent graduate. While first my brother was at university, then I, we used to send each other compilation tapes, and Its Jo & Danny had appeared a few times on his. Soon, I was ending my own standard “first tape” with the one-two punch of Ben & Jason’s See You In My Dreams and J&D’s Love Expression. I’d heard about the latter’s own festival when it started up and liked the idea of attending.
Above – Rog, Alex and Darren
2006, and some new acquaintances told me they were going to Green Man. I didn’t know them all that well to be honest, but the opportunity was there, I had an income now, and they were kind enough to let me join them. Stu helped me choose a tent from Argos, which I tested by putting up in my living room. It was green. Having one to myself was a luxury I kept up often in the years that followed. Stu didn’t make it that year, but came the next.
Unfortunately due to work, my new friends could not set off until the Friday itself, from Manchester to the Brecon Beacons. The rain was torrential, the traffic awful, and as some stage times had already appeared online, I ticked off the acts who were playing from the back seat on the motorway. There was a collective groan that we had missed M Ward, though I was more concerned we wouldn’t catch Chris T-T. Thankfully though, we arrived around teatime and I got my tent up in just enough time to dash in and catch the end of Fionn Regan’s set.
Above King Creosote
Above James Yorkston
The two above Skygreen Leopards
The three above Gruff Rhys, the one above also features Lisa Jen, from 9Bach
Some of the other acts I saw that weekend are a bit of blur, but my mate Bri was also there and recommended the Skygreen Leopards, who I caught up with him to watch. In my memory they were on before Gruff Rhys, who I sat on the floor at the front of the Folkey Dolkey tent to see, mesmerised by a song I’d never heard before, Colonise The Moon. Though maybe they were on different days. Who can recall. I do recall enjoying Donovan’s headline set, Fionn Regan himself was stood near me. I chatted about it with him when we met a few months later at Fionn‘s gig in The Bay Horse, Manchester.
The two above Donovan
Chris, Kev, Alex and Rog
Above Cerys Mathews who stood in for Matha Wainwright. (Sadly Martha had to pull out the week before and we were delighted to get Cerys)
Above Wizz Jones
Above Micah P. Hinson
Above Jose Gonzales
The Yellow Moon Band (featuring Green Man organisers Jo and Danny, this was our debut gig we started the set as It’s Jo & Danny and finished as The Yellow Moon Band)
Jose Gonzales was also a lovely headliner, there was something hypnotic in the way he played. I also remember Wizz Jones, Micah P Hinson and catching a little of Calexico. I think it was also 2006 where The Yellow Moon Band first debuted too! I wasn’t sure that all of their audience knew that they had put on this very festival.
Above Joe Boyd in the literature tent.
Above Robert Kirby in the literature tent (Scored the strings for Nick Drake among others)
Something that really stuck with me was hearing Joe Boyd reading from his book White Bicycles. He was involved in so many great records, which really informed and influenced many of the acts who played that year, and the years that followed. I bought a book, which he signed for me, and I still have. At one point I needed a little rest and read it in my tent. I confess, I drank A LOT that weekend.
Rog and Alex
Dave and Rog
Unknown, Rob (the housemate’s boyfriend) and Bri
I was generally up until sunrise. One night I met up with Bri and he was with some young guys who were camped near him, sharing a keg. There were a lot of kegs. One of them was called Rob. Bri is well known amongst our circle for a convincing robotics dance. Years later in Manchester, I was at a friends’ house and her housemate and boyfriend appeared. I was introduced to the boyfriend and there was something naggingly familiar about him. Then it hit me! It was Rob with the keg from a few summers ago. I told him and mentioned Bri. The penny dropped. “The robotics guy!!!”
Rog in the vegan cafe
On the Sunday, almost ready to call it a night, I ran into a friend-of-a-friend from uni. I’d never really hung out with her before, but ended up joining her gang for a while at the courtyard bar. Now that I think of it, I’ve never seen her since. When we decided to call it a night, heading back towards the tent across the main field, I happened upon Cip and Esther, more new friends I had made that weekend, who I caught up with again in future years. (I even went to see Cip’s band, in the now-defunct Life Café.) Cip was trying to navigate a large circle of empty kegs, stood on end, purposefully placed a few feet apart, without stepping onto the grass. I think I managed 2 or 3 before I ended up in the mud. Time for bed. I was still caked in it on the drive home.
I attended the next 5 Green Man festivals (Green Men?) up to and including 2011, after which point circumstances took over and I missed a few years. So I left just as Jo and Danny did. I did go to other festivals every year though, and still do. Green Man made it an unmissable habit. I told everyone I knew about it, and brought a lot more friends to Glanusk Park in the years that followed.
*You may have actually happened across a few people in this story. Bri is Bri Barnes, who promotes gigs in Teesside and plays in Silver Trees and The Woven Project. The group of new acquaintances I went with included Chris who promotes gigs as “Hey!Manchester“. Cip’s band is Palmstruck.
Thanks very much Rog! X
More 2006 memories and photos to come.