We tried to work out exactly what it was that made Green Man so special, what set it apart from the other festivals, the reason why only days later we were already so desperate to go back. Honestly, we tried, but everyone we spoke to held something different to their heart. Each experienced something unique, but they all had one thing in common: when you say 'Green Man' to them, they smile.

All festivals have some degree of catharsis, that 'leaving the real world behind' feeling, but none manage to feel like Green Man does, none manage to tie themselves so intrinsically into the make up of you. That feeling has nothing to do with the Druids, although maybe it does, it has everything to do with the Green Man himself.

The Green Man stands tall in his own field, overlooking proceedings, and over the weekend you can walk inside the giant wooden structure, which is where it happens, where you unwittingly make the festival part of you, and where you become part of the festival. You find hundreds of pieces of paper tied to the branches and beams, the hopes and dreams of the people scrawled in biro, we collectively attach all of our worries and desires that make us human to the body of the Green Man. In that one act we let them go, for a weekend we all become one, and before we head back to the world of our day jobs and our concerns, we get to watch them burn. We watch them turn to flame and smoke and drift away, and then we return to life anew.

In this review we document a fragment of what made Green Man 2014 such an incredible experience for us, knowing deep down our words will never truly do it justice.

The disposable camera photos were taken by friends, family and staff members of The 405. The rest were taken by the excellent Mathew Parri Thomas. Introduction by William Caston Cook.

Disclaimer: There's a lot of photos on this page. You might want to let it load for a minute or two before scrolling down.



The Green Man

Slightly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of it all was the Green Man himself. Standing tall, he calmly watched over the festival in his finest foliage jacket. With plenty of visitors snapping away at him throughout the festival, his time was up at midnight on Sunday. As the festivities drew to a close and the burning began, his antlers disappeared and the slow burn saw a Green Man no more. The fireworks lit the sky and the audience cheered as they soaked up yet another successful display. - Kylie O'Connell

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Green Man Highlight: "Studio Ghibli double-bill, Cinedrome. How do you wake yourself up after a long Saturday night of drinking boxed wine and losing your sanity to the dance playground that Green Man had become? Drink a pint of coffee, sit in a dark space and sing along to the Totoro theme tune, then wave a tearful goodbye to Hayao Miyazaki, as his last opus 'The Wind Rises' plays out in front of you of course."- Will Slater



Little Folk

The kids seemed to be having the time of their lives in the Little Folk section. As I strolled through the sea of face paint, I reached a small stage surrounded by giggling punters. Five minutes in and it was obvious that 'Kids Comedy Corner' was a real hit. The concept was to get the kids up on stage telling jokes, suit jacket and hat provided. If you're going to be a comedian, you must look the part. As the parents sat back with a beer, the cheeky four year olds were up telling jokes. It was genuinely hilarious: How did the eskimo get to school? He rode his icicle. Maybe I like bad jokes, but seeing children explore their personalities in such a way is far more productive than plonking them in front of a TV or an iPad. - Kylie O'Connell

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Green Man Highlight: "Pip's Human Jukebox. We spotted this humble fellow in his little music booth while looking for a party. The hour consisted of us being crooned at by the man with his excellent repertoire of live romantic music. I mistakenly put change in his drink, thinking it was his coin slot, but he was very forgiving about it. When his power cut off, he stepped outside the booth and sat in a circle with us, carrying on with the requests. It got to a point where he became an unwitting Pied Piper, as he got up to pull his cart over to another stage and we all followed, begging for more."- Will Slater


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Green Man Highlight: "The Muppet Movie in the cinema tent - I can't view without you."- Tim Boddy



The Mountains

The mountains in Glanusk Park will be your best friends during this festival. They gave me the drive of my life as I soared through them to the entrance with gravity as my accelerator, and they were the perfect view throughout the weekend, right up to the drive home, where my friends and I pulled over at a lay-by, played Mew's 'Comforting Sounds', and jumped up down in front of them, while passing cars beeped at us. - Will Slater

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East India Youth

He made the Walled Garden my favourite area of the festival once again. I saw Sam Amidon give an enchanting performance here four years earlier, where I began to care less and less about getting drenched from the rain. Now, Will Doyle was here, making me dance erratically to some very intense sequences from Total Strife Forever. His mug that displayed the phrase, 'Total Fucking Bullshit' wasn't a bad sight either. - Will Slater

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Green Man Highlight: "East India Youth - Couldn't have been better."- Tim Boddy

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Green Man Highlight: "East India Youth was perfect. Best set of the weekend."- Oliver Primus

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Green Man Highlight: "Expert headbanger East India Youth headlining The Walled Garden stage in a perfect night setting #totalfuckingbullshit"- Stephen Bevan



People Showing Up Early

Engaged crowds for the first sets of the day. This became apparent when I went to see Brisbane band, Vancouver Sleep Clinic at midday on Sunday. Playing their first UK festival, they expressed their gratitude several times - "We didn't think we'd get ten people here and look at you all." Admittedly, it is normal for people to wander up to the festivities fairly early at a camping festival, however these tents were nearly full. It was the same when Eaves kicked off the Saturday with his beautiful set at the Walled Garden. But why wouldn't you I guess? Welsh coffee and live music is the ideal way to start the day (and that coffee was delicious). - Kylie O'Connell


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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Vancouver Sleep Clinic

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Green Man Highlight: "We all know portaloos are one of the crappier things that outdoor festivals have to offer. These portaloo's were no better, but they were still dispensing soap and toilet paper at 2am. Thank you, Green Man."- Kylie O'Connell

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of First Aid Kit

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Green Man Highlight: "In the walled Garden there is a little van that sells fruit juices called Nurses Cottage. For years these dudes have dragged me out of hungover holes so it's only right that I mention them. I drank pints and pints of their blackcurrant and elderflower juice over the weekend. (Pro Tip: plonk a couple shots of something you like into their plum juice and you'll have a time). "- William Caston Cook

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Green Man Highlight: "Watching Frank in The Cinedrome on the Thursday night #butigavethemmynestegg"- Stephen Bevan



Adult Jazz

It's pretty hard to pick a highlight musically when there's a stupidly good line up to choose from. Caribou on Friday night was no doubt a masterpiece, and Fat White Family on Saturday knocked my socks off. Real Estate asking for extra time to play more songs, The War On Drugs under the moonlight, hearing Angel Olsen play 'High & Wild' live with all that attitude, Charles Howl awakening the Green Man Rising stage with their refreshing rock (I could go on and on). It is tough and maybe Adult Jazz weren't the number one live act of Green Man 2014, but they were certainly the most evocative (for me). Playing the beautiful Walled Garden stage on the Friday night, they managed to take complete control as they delivered a delightfully twisted set. It's the unexpected turns they make with every song; a sound so dynamic that you don't know what's coming next. It demands a level of attention which effectively means you become completely immersed in it all. A big fan of their debut album Gist Is, it was mind blowing to hear the vocals transcend so perfectly live; piano, percussion and lengthy songs that whisk you away. Completely at ease, Adult Jazz were divine. - Kylie O'Connell

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Green Man Highlight: "Adult Jazz's constantly shifting set #keychange"- Stephen Bevan

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Anna Calvi

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No Dickheads

Green Man is the best anti-dickhead zone I've ever entered. And if you are a dickhead, well you know not to behave like one as soon as they slap that band on your wrist. Or, maybe it's just that I was too caught up in the ambience of it all to care if someone stood smack bang in front of me with a headpiece on. Regardless of why, that's what it is and I blame the children. Those beautiful little kids floating around with the bubbles being blown about all weekend; carefree without a worry in the world. This diverse mix of not only different types of people, but age too, meant that there was a level of awareness and respect present from the moment we arrived. Maybe it's subconscious behaviour, but when you're five ciders in enjoying Simian Mobile Disco at 7.30pm on a Sunday, you look to your left and see a 21-year-old tripping out to the lights, look to the right and there's a couple chilling at the side of the tent with a pram - you can't help but smile. When people are nice, you're nice back and no one cares enough to judge. - Kylie O'Connell

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Poliça

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Angel Olsen

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Green Man Highlight: "The BBQ Venison wrap I had at The Walled Garden stage #nomnom"- Stephen Bevan



Music Still Has The Power to be Utterly Spiritual

Music comes at us a mile a minute, and while this can be good thing, you rarely have the opportunity to take a step back and appreciate just how magical an art form it can be. A band that sounds incredible on record is fantastic, but there's something very visceral - and maybe also due to the transitory nature of the experience of it - that makes live music that much more poignant when it's done well. It hits you in your gut. From Caribou's mesmerising, pounding rendition of 'Sun' on the Friday night, Sharon Van Etten's typically beautiful take of 'Your Love is Killing Me', and the electric vibe that circled the War on Drugs' crowd - it's not just about the bands that play, but the willingness of crowds to truly discover and engage with what they're listening to, and Green Man festival is a festival that fosters this entirely. - Michelle Kambasha

Green Man Highlight: "A hungover Wil Cook bumbling through his radio show #bleugh"- Stephen Bevan

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Nick Mulvey



Caribou

Caribou played on the friday night and I'd been building to that glorious peak since I first heard 'Can't Do Without You' a few months prior, and you know what, it surpassed even my vastly overblown expectations. It was a fluid, coherent, demonstration of just how wonderfully fucking talented Dan Snaith and his band are. More than that, taken as one whole piece of music instead of individual songs, looking at the dynamics of it all from the out-of-body-above-the-crowd-place that I witnessed the set: it was life blood, it was music as the excitement that you feel as you realise that you are alive and free and you smile in the face of the ridiculous potential of all your dreams made possible. It's like they understand the dynamics of music in such a way that it means any human wilfully hearing it is essentially under their control. We're all flailing limbs and desperate thoughts, the stage lights flash holding memories of distant times, and we dance them out until they reach their logical conclusion, supported, no, driven by the music. - William Caston Cook

Green Man Highlight: "Caribou. I left my group with the comment "I'm off to dance in front of a man playing a laptop." I was wrong. So very very wrong."- Mathew Parri Thomas



Fashion at Green Man 2014

Aptly set within the confines of the Welsh Black Mountains: out of all the UK festivals, Green Man has one of the most picturesque sites. Opalescent skies and scenic hilltops aside; there was also beauty to be found in the clothing choices of the festival-goers. - Lakeisha Goedluck

From Left to Right

For that one hour of the day that the sun does actually come out; it's handy to have a pair of outlandish sunglasses like these two. You can't go wrong with a bold varsity jumper, printed shorts, and a trusty bumbag either.

Co-ords are EVERYWHERE (ASOS have the monopoly on them btw). This look veers away from the standard crop top/ skirt combination, for a more individualistic take.

This girl had enough yellow on to cheer up Sun Kil Moon. Not only is it a radiant and energetic colour (ergo perfect festival hue), it's also the colour of the season, both fashion and weather-wise.

British weather is more crazy and unpredictable than Danny Brown. This means, when festival time comes around, it's usually all about the wellies. It takes guts to wear WHITE sandals, but teamed with contrast ankle socks, they make for some statement shoes.

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Best dressed goes to this guy. His arm is placed over his face to hide the shame - he's realised the faux pas of wearing a football shirt to a festival.

This just says 'relaxed and understated.' Mum jeans have finally provided that intermediate step between skinny jeans and joggers. Keep the outfit basic, but adorn with statement accessories- i.e. the Bardot hat and Lennon sunglasses (Also, check the Green Man tote!)



The Artist In The Box

If you were willing to sit still in a chair for 3(ish) minutes, you could go home with something pretty special (look below). It was excellent. If anyone knows who the artist was, please let us know!


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Green Man Highlight: "Jupiter-C. They were the first band I went to see, and they absolutely nailed it."- Oliver Primus

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a rather excellent photo of Jupiter-C

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Farao



Nature/Nurture

The notion of glamping was only ever going to end this way: an on site spa and Pamper Parlour. Fortunately, there isn't a nail bar in sight, as the Nature / Nurture area provides yoga sessions, aromatherapy, a wood-fire sauna and, yes, felt bunny making. This area may be easy to miss, but book yourself in for a massage after four days of sleeping on the ground, and you may discover the true meaning of transcendence. - Tom Clayton

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Green Man Highlight: "The heroic effort from the Tea & Toast stall in my campsite. "What time did you finish this morning?" "6am" "Wow. What time did you re-open this morning?" "7am"."- Mathew Parri Thomas

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Jeffrey Lewis

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Green Man Highlight: "Lily and Daisy, the 6-year-old First Aid Kit super fans who made me a Crystal Palace loom band bracelet."- Mathew Parri Thomas



Woman's Hour vs. Tia Primus

My little sister was given the task of interviewing Woman's Hour at Green Man for 405tv, and it turned out to be pretty special. Look out for the video in the coming weeks! - Oliver Primus

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Green Man Highlight: "The wishes in the Green Man sculpture - Couldn't deal with it. Too much hilarity"- Tim Boddy



The Music

Any mention of Green Man 2014 was swiftly followed by some sort of comment on how overwhelmingly good the line-up was. A mix of the well-established and the relatively unknown, there was something for everyone. A lot of thought goes into the booked artists, each having to reflect some part of the Green Man identity. It's tasteful yet loud, and beautifully edgy. Here are some photos of our personal highlights. - Kylie O'Connell

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Green Man Highlight: "Mac Demarco/Neutral Milk Hotel. Not so much the sets themselves, but rather the togetherness that seemed to be present in the crowds, which has happened for me at Green Man before. When Mac was on, I turned round to find a long line of people swaying, all arm-in-arm. Those of us in front span round to join them, and before we knew it we were part of an oval of can-can dancers. And for NMH, well, we all just couldn't resist a big huddle and sing-along for 'In The Aeroplane Over The Sea' now could we? "- Will Slater

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Don't Do Drugs at Family Festivals

Imagine the scenes: you're having a delightful time, not too drunk, but not sullen; someone offers you a taste of a white substance at an otherwise temperate show, where everyone is having a naturally (read: naturally, the operative word) good time, because they're merely high off the music and the freshness of the Welsh valleys. You have a choice - you can be the latter and enjoy the scenes in a pleasant natural way, wave at the laughing kids as you walk through the fields, laugh as you and your mate play imaginary fencing with your imaginary sword - orr you can be the person buzzing their tits off, kids running away from the woman/man with strange pupils, initiate moshing to unmoshable music, talk complete and utter gibberish for an extended period of time, and wake up hating yourself and everything around you. The present might be great, but the road ahead is bleak, friends. Use Green Man, and other family festivals, as proof that you can be an upstanding member of society - enjoying music, drinking but not to irrational excesses, eating vegan food and being the person your mother wants you to be. - Michelle Kambasha

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Wales Can Be A Beautiful Place

I spent a sufficient proportion of my final year of university watching The Valleys. It's not something that I'm proud of but I did it, accepted it and now I've finally moved on. When your mind defends into nondescript mush from watching such vapid programmes, it's easy for stereotypes to infiltrate where a sense of cultural awareness once was - and though I was far from totally believing that Valleys were only about young guys and gals with a penchant for casual shagging and copious drinking, the beautiful fields of Brecon Beacon put that reality far more info focus. Wales is beautiful; the fields, trees and valleys are a sight to behold. Green Man manages to fit a music festival into the beautiful scenery without feeling like it's disturbing it. - Michelle Kambasha


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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of First Aid Kit playing Table Tennis

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Camping Isn't Always Terrible

I'm essentially the furthest thing from being 'outdoorsy'. I like home comforts, the most efficient methods of transport; I'm sensitive to the cold, and so camping for me is always an intense experience, because not only does it rely on absolute preparedness, but the hope that the people around you aren't feral arseholes that will piss in your tent in a drug filled fit of LOLs and banter - and also accepting the fact that you won't have the access to showers and toilets that you're usually used to. Luckily, at Green Man, it's made to be as much as a home without having a home. Showers available to the general working public, in true egalitarian form, toilets that seem to be routinely washed, and a clientele that don't seem to have bowel problems. And if you turn up too "turnt up" in the camping area you might even get yelled at: one unsuspecting teen turned up to her family camping spot drunk, and her parents gave her a full dressing down at 5 in the morning. Don't be that person. - Michelle Kambasha

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Supporting the local community

The thing that strikes me most about Green Man's brilliance is it's utter support for the work of the local community. From the Green Man cafe, run by local volunteers, to the Welsh food vendors and the 100's of local brewery's the festival helps support. Truly, on that alone, it's the best example of integration into the community that I've ever seen at a festival. - Robbie Wojciechowski

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Einstein's Garden

Science, music and nature come together in this unique and innovative area - ever felt like making a musical instrument out of a vegetable? There's a tent for that. Live experiment demonstrations, local music and brain-powered table football are all on offer here. The main tent is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, and there are lessons on foraging and wildlife-spotting throughout the day. Society take note: be more like this. - Tom Clayton

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Green Man Rising and Fortune Falls

Not many festivals can boast a landscaped waterfall garden next to the main stage (I'm looking at you, Leeds). Green Man makes perfect use of it, placing the cosy Green Man Rising stage among the reeds and dragonflies. This year Love Stop Repeat, Lail Arad and the astonishing Deep Throat Choir delivered standout sets in this idyllic setting. - Tom Clayton

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Green Man Highlight: "100 beers and ciders."- Mathew Parri Thomas

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Babbling Tongues

Nestled beside the Walled Garden is the festival's spoken word outlet, Babbling Tongues. This versatile area has two uses - by day it is a forum for talks and discussions from luminaries like Bob Stanley, Viv Albertine, Gruff Rhys and Howard Marks. By night it is transformed into a raucous stand-up comedy venue, which this year saw Josh Widdicombe, Colin Hoult and Nick Helm's unique brand of sweaty power ballads. - Tom Clayton

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Green Man Highlight: "A space like Babbling Tongues is what every festival needs and strives for: an unpretentious thinking space that anyone can walk in and feel a part of. Over the space of the weekend, I picked up a whole scatter of amazing information I would've never otherwise known. There was the neuroscience behind beer and music with Peter Brown, stories from The Strokes’ big break with James Endeacott and a session on improving your reading that I will take with me forever. The matter is, most of the time, these spaces at festivals are just too tucked away, or filled with the kind of stuffy academics that can put you off learning, but at Green Man it's open, exciting and enjoyable." - Robbie Wojciechowski



Festival Food Doesn't Always Give You The Runs

There was a moment when I tucked into a little pot of mac 'n' cheese, sprinkled with spice and topped by two jalapenos, and thought that I had found God. And that's all I have to say about that. - Michelle Kambasha

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Photo: Mathew Parri Thomas
This is a photo of Highasakite

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Green Man Highlight: "Strumpets with Crumpets - So tasty I can't even."- Tim Boddy

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Green Man Highlight: "Feeling Gloomy DJs in the Walled Garden. Best way to see out the weekend."- Mathew Parri Thomas