It's the location that does it. We decided as much as we left Glanusk park for another year, despondent that Green Man had to end at all. Sleeping with the sound of the picturesque River Usk in the shadow of the beautiful Black Mountains is good for the soul. It's all about the location. The location indeed. We drove on.

I broke the silence first, my thoughts appeared aloud for the others. Of course, the location just helps to create the atmosphere, the atmosphere is the best thing about Green Man. Everybody is so friendly, it stands in complete contrast to some of the bigger festivals, you do not feel like a human shield stuck in a teenage warzone...Once it gets dark they light the big communal bonfire, it's where the party is and it's the only fire allowed on site. You don't need to worry about burning to death in your sleep because Rupert and Charlie have had one too many ciders and fallen asleep with their nitrous cannisters by the fire, you don't need to worry about that.

The first year we went to Green Man we camped next to a lovely older couple who have been frequent visitors, they explained to us that the best thing about the festival was the atmosphere, upon spending some time and having a good explore we soon agreed with them. The following year we bumped into them again and exchanged hugs and warm greetings, I think that says a lot for the festival. The atmosphere really is the best thing.

We continued our drive through the beautiful countryside, taking it all in, the festival rolling around and around our heads as we drove. Not ready to commit ourselves to the real world again just yet. I'm not sure who spoke first, but someone did, because the silence didn't last. The bands they get to play are amazing though. Maybe thats actually the best thing about Green Man. The bands. We talked through some of the sets we had seen and decided it was the bands that made it. It was the diversity of music they had hidden in the hills. From the euphoria and majesty of Explosions in the Sky, the late night sets from Squarepusher and Holy Fuck that made us dance until we couldn't breath, all the way through to the intimacy of The Low Anthem and Josh T Pearson. It is the quality and the diversity of the music that make the festival as good as it is, along with the location and the atmosphere, but just maybe the music is the most important factor in making it so special. The music indeed.

Its not all about the music though is it, said a voice to anyone that was listening or no-one at all. I mean, we saw John Cooper Clarke in the Literary tent, and he was just fantastic. I couldn't help but agree, we had spent an afternoon learning how to make a simple electrical unit that we could connect to our bikes to charge our phones. That had nothing to do with the location, the atmosphere, or the music. We stumbled upon it by accident. Much like finding an early edition of 1984 hiding in a shed that was temporarily housing a book shop in Einstein's Garden. A happy accident to us, although you can't help but suspect, all part of a bigger plan to the festival organisers.

Like the art installations, which can be as simple as making a tree look like a giant smiling face, or even bigger than that. Let me explain, We were walking between stages when a man dressed as a fox came sprinting through the crowd, closely followed by a pack of men dressed as dogs, and men on hobby horses dressed for the hunt. Tally-ho indeed I said.

We haven't even mentioned the Green Man himself yet. I think he may well be the point. Maybe the Green Man is the best thing about Green Man. Over the course of the festival you can walk inside the Green Man. You'll find pens and labels. You can write down your hopes, your dreams, your fears. You can read those of others, your fellow festival goers, you can share your most intimate thoughts with those sharing the collective experience.

Maybe thats what make makes the atmosphere so special. Standing in the shadow of the Black Mountains. Sharing your most intimate thoughts with 10,000 strangers, with some of the finest musicians the human race can muster, becoming part of a piece of art. Leaving your hopes, your dreams, your fears, tied to the inside of the Green Man to become his heart. To end your festival watching them burn, and to return to face the life you left behind, feeling new.

The 405's Top 5 Musical Tips for Green Man 2012


If Mr Scruff can't make you dance, you need to reassess some of your life choices, he is one of the best DJ's on the planet. Lets hope he brings his tea hut.

2. Alt-J, Islet & Three Trapped Tigers in the Far Out Tent.

Yes, having three bands as one pick is a cop out, but these three young British bands are pushing the boundaries of music in all different directions. You get to stand in one spot and watch all three play after each other. Actually, I defy you to stand in one spot, these bands will have you dancing.

3. The Walkmen

This New York band are finally starting to become recognised as one of the bands of our generation. Effortlessly grandiose and heartbreakingly intimate all at once. A must see band.

4. Mogwai

The term pioneer is not used lightly by us. Mogwai are one of a very small number of bands that you could desribe as genuinely genre defining.

5. Megafaun

For us the stars of Green Man 2010, you'll wonder how such a charismatic band are not as well known as their former bandmate, Justin Vernon. They certainly have the songs and the style.

For the full line-up and to purchase tickets, head over to the Green Man Website.