A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to the Green Man Festival at Glanusk, nr the Black Mountains in South Wales. It was my first festival and to be honest I was very unsure as to what to expect. I had a look at the line up and bar Caitlin Moran (who’s talk was excellent) I didn’t recognise most of the names. What I did like the look of were the different areas, such as Einstein’s Garden full of Science stalls and talks, Nature Nuture where you can recover from the aches and pains caused by sudden airbed failures.
So, laden with all the camping gear and thanking the stars for the trolley hire place we got the tents set up and started exploring. Now – time for the photographers excuse. I’d heard too many stories of gear being stolen from tents from other festivals, and the last thing I want to happen is to loose my prized canon 60D and lens’. So I took my old camera, the fuji bridge I was given for christmas 5 or so years ago. This meant I had much less control of the settings as even in manual mode I can’t change the ISO, I couldn’t shoot in RAW, no continuous etc. I’ll stop the excuses now – you get the idea that this wouldn’t be my first choice of gear. But, as the saying goes “the best camera in the world is the one you have with you” I decided to try and make the most of it – if I could remember how to use it with the buttons all faded!
The first thing you notice when you arrive at Green Man is the stunning scenery. As you can see from the photo above the mountain stage is aptly named. The second thing you notice is the incredibly relaxed atmosphere.
Watching over the festival was the Green Man. He sits atop the high field, presiding over the festival. His baskets hold the wishes of those that attend and at the end of the festival he is set alight, and a new one will be created for next year. Until he is set light (and even then if you can get close enough) he provided some fantastic photo opportunities.
I discovered that one of the great things about going to a festival where you might not necessarily know all the acts was that it gave me time to discover bands that I now love, to explore all of the attractions and zones to the full. One of the big finds for me was a band called “By the Rivers” playing at the Chai Wallahs tent.
Now – I may have mentioned before using the old camera. One of the big disadvantages is that it is…well…truly pants in low light conditions. And while I love the shot above for the atmosphere, I really could have done with the option of adjusting the ISO. Putting the “what if’s” of bringing the other camera aside, I tried to make the most of what I had and try some more creative long exposure shots.
The fire staff, fire poi and light up hoopla’s being demonstrated provided some fantastic long exposure shots.
One of the things that I thought Green Man does uniquely is provide the space to do what you want. If you want to be in the full mix of the music there is the Mountain Stage, Chai Wallahs, Far Out etc to be immersed in the music. If you want to sit with a drink the beer and cider festival are more than apt. If you fancy regressing into childhood with fingers sticky with candy floss then the fairground is your place. The talking heads arena was so diverse with talks, comedy, quiz’s it would be impossible to fully describe.
Now after getting some of these shots, I’m beginning to remember why I loved this camera so much. Lighter by miles than the canon, no swapping lens’ halfway through, and with the ability to lob it in the rucksack and not worry I’m beginning to think this might be a great festival camera.
Green Man was the first music festival I’ve been too. And I really cant wait until next year to do it all again. Things I have learnt though:
1) Bring a spare airbed. If it were not for some friends arriving the next day I think I would have been much grumpier at the end of the festival from sleeping on the floor!
2) Don’t worry about bringing any food. The stalls are so fantastic I didn’t have enough meals to be able to try all that I wanted too
3) Don’t trust the rum shack to bring the rum.
4) I really want a photo pass!