Getting Festive in Wales

Last month I did a thing. Imagine that! My flatmate and I sauntered over to Wales for a bit of clean air, cold cider and folk music. Oh and rain. There was rain there.

My grandfather’s from Wales (super old-school style. Like Welsh was his only language until the English took over his schooling), so I’ve been wanting to go for ages. And it didn’t disappoint. I can’t really describe it, but there’s something oddly surreal about the first time you visit a country where your ancestors lived. It was strangely emotional even though practically speaking I have no real knowledge of my Welsh roots.

And really, I don’t think my family has any connection to the part of Wales we visited. They’re from the west coast and we were staying in the Brecon Beacons in the south. Still.

Anyway, we were there for Green Man Festival, a folk festival that required four nights of camping in the most beautiful countryside. Do I recommend? Very much yes. Here are my official top fives from our stay:

MUSICConor Oberst

Conor Oberst
A piece of the depressing soundtrack that made up my teenage years. We watched him while standing in torrential downpour, which seemed fitting. He did some swears, talked shit about his parents, and had a go at his bandmates. We all had a great time.

Pictish Trail
We had no idea who this guy was, but as soon as we spotted his name on the line-up we were sold. And when he brought out his sex trousers we were sold all over again.

Crazy cute Spanish girls who love to scream and look like they’ve stepped out of a John Hughes film? If your answer is no, then you need to rethink your life choices.

Charlie Cunningham
So calm, so chill. This was the biggest toes-in-the-grass moment of the festival. The sun was out, we’d grabbed some cider, and the stripped down guitar and vocals were just what we needed.

Angel Olsen
Probably the pop-iest set of the festival. We weren’t very good at staying up late, but I broke tradition to see Angel Olsen and didn’t regret it. She was lovely and we were all dancing along.

Bonus round:
PJ Harvey


My impression of festival food is over-priced junk that you choke down to keep you going. NOT FREAKIN TARTIFLETTE! Gosh, please live in my belly forever. The hot French guys who ran it had no bearing on why we went again the next night…

Toasted Sandwiches
These became our morning tradition. Coffee, goat’s cheese and honey toasty, cartoons at the cinemadrome. Why can’t mornings always be like this??

A+ for a tasty steak pie and mash. A++ for an even tastier pun.

The tastiest of tasty snacks! I haven’t had biltong since leaving NZ, so I was very happy to pay the artisanal prices for some sweet sweet dried meat.

If you have hot chips, I’m in. If you add rosemary and garlic and all the mayo, there’s no getting me out ever again.

Bonus round:


There were bars scattered throughout the festival, some specializing in cider, others in beer. All were delicious and full of local offerings. These were also helpful for huddling against the rain and beating back the cold. Plus the plastic cups made for great souvenirs.

We didn’t make it to any of the films for grown-ups, but falling asleep to cartoons was a great way to wake up each morning.

No matter how old you are, bubbles are never not magic.

Yes, we did the fun glitter thing that are a prerequisite for all festivals. Though since all our camping gear had been loaned to us by my flatty’s intrepid boyfriend, there was a lot of frantic scrubbing at the end of the day. Apparently army-issue sleeping bags and purple glitter aren’t the best of pals. I beg to differ, but he did save me that time during the heatwave so I’m not going to complain…

There was this big dragon where people can write wishes and at the end of the festival it goes up in flames. The flames bit really cut into our sleeping schedule, so we gracefully bowed out. But we did inspect the wishes. Favorites included “MCR 4 ever” (My Chemical Romance??), “I wish I had a tractor”, and “I wish I didn’t have any blood” (don’t think about it too hard).

Bonus round:
The little stage where kids sing into a microphone

Odd Goings On
The Tea Shop

The Tent Where Someone Kept Chanting “Balloon Science”

The Gimp-Suit-Wearing Performers Screaming and Stabbing Each Other

The Man Who At 3pm Was Too Far Gone To Walk Up The Hill

The Man Who Gave Away Hundreds Of Copies Of His HB Sci-Fi Novel

The Old Men With Their Peenies On Display In The Outdoor Spa Section

This Sicko

Until next year Green Man!

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Pictish Trail.JPG



One thought on “Getting Festive in Wales”

  1. It looks like you had an awesome time! I totally understand about the whole ancestor feeling, My great-grandfather was Welsh and I feel totally the same there. It’s a magical country!

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