So, another August and another Green Man Festival and what a Green Man Festival we had in 2014!

This is a festival that bands seem genuinely humbled to play. The organisation, staff, catering (and beer festival) are first class. The audience are a mix of age groups from 2 months to 80 for what I could see. It's a real family atmosphere and they certainly know how to keep the kids of all ages entertained.

Queuing up to get in on Thursday lunchtime, festival supremo Fiona came along the queue with a box of chocolates. That single act just about sums up the vibe of the festival.

The weather was kind enough over the weekend and the music started on Thursday evening with a solid set from ex-Doves man Jimi Goodwin followed by a rollickingly good show from The Waterboys.

Friday and Jupiter-C, a duo with Depeche Mode like guitars and loops get things rolling. Babe and Happyness continued the vibe of promising new bands before the first Mountain stage heavyweight appeared in the shape of Jonathon Wilson and his band. A beautiful set in the West Coast sunshine of psych, jam guitars that just drip with the 70s.

Mark Kozelek in Sun Kil Moon with 3 piece band mode were stunningly the polar opposite of JW. A lyrical mastermind the lengthy songs flowed over a lengthy set with Mark in his usual, pretty 'fed up' mood. Brilliant!

A stonking set from an ever improving Toy on the Far Out stage was followed by a testosterone fuelled blast from Augustines. Not a band you would call shy, they were thoroughly entertaining.

One of the few bands to bring their own light show Daughter played on the main stage under headliners Beirut having playing in the Walled garden (tiny stage) on their last visit to Green Man. I think you had to be close up to the stage to get the full benefit of their tremendous set. The sound was really quiet up the hill apparently. Beirut entertained as only Beirut can, sweet songs and lots of brass. Excellent!

Saturday kicks off with Sons of Noel and Adrian. An enormous band filling the Far Out stage, but after two songs it was difficult to see where the band was heading. Pre gig, I thought they were quiet and acoustic. Obviously not.

We Are Catchers struggled to capture the imagination and by the time Mutual Benefit had completed their sensitive (very good) set on the Mountain Stage, the mind was calling out for someone to plug in and turn the bloody amp up! Saviours came in the shape of the legendary Pooh Sticks who played "songs that meant something 27 years ago" A loud set with short sharp songs, result; soul cleansed.

Women's Hour brought their 'Daughter' / 'London Grammar' like songs to the Far Out stage to great effect. The Kendal band with Fiona Burgess up front really do emanate a real aura of cool. Same hometown as Wild Beasts, there must be something in the water!

My Sad Captains deserved a bigger stage for their landscape sound but their set from the mainly new album was superb.  A quick walk through Einstein's Garden to the Mountain stage for (Walkmen's) Hamilton Leithauser. Rock royalty in the States, Hamilton and sadly the Walkmen have been long underrated on our shores and the size of the main stage crowd reflected this. You could actually see Hamilton grit his teeth when he walked on stage and he must have been thinking, right, let's go for it!

A great set from one of the finest voices in rock, the majority of songs really did motor and the crowd grew as the set advanced. It still looks like a long hard slog on these shores though for this band for some strange reason.

Sharon van Etten and band were next up and produced a fine show at the end of her current tour, Sharon really did seem to be enjoying herself and the festival vibe and, that showed in the performance.

Again, the spot below the headliners proved a highlight of the day this time it was the turn of The War on Drugs to fill that particular slot. Adam Granduciel and band are now one heck of a well-oiled machine.  Their set was nothing short of stunning with a capacity crowd bouncing all the way up to the top of the hill.

Mercury Rev returned to the stage to play 'Deserters Songs' in full as well as' delving into their back catalogue.  No Fuss, no special effects, just a band humbled to be given the chance to headline this festival. They did the festival proud and there is a new album due next year.

Sunday sees Vancouver Sleep Clinic start the day's proceedings. At least a 20 minute delay on their schedule start-time(not sure why, being first band on) meant they had to work cut out to win the crowd over but, this Bon Iver esqe band from Australia had little to worry about. Tim Bettinson's ethereal vocals are the key to the band sound and for one so young is was an impressive set.

The late running VSC set meant we came in halfway through The Rails show in the walled garden. James Walborne and Kami Thompson are a dynamic husband and wife pairing fronting this folk rock five piece. An excellent debut album, these guys seem to have a rich vein of creativity about them. Samaris are from Iceland and play electronic/oboe driven ethereal songs created from ancient   Icelanic poems. It was magical.

Mountain stage next for the sunshine and a melodic Boy & Bear followed by the guitar crazed Anna Calvi. Ex Smog man Bill Callaghan in usual dark humour mood played a challenging set for an early evening festival crowd. Better suited to an indoor show it was still exhilarating for fans. You can see just from the last three acts on one stage alone, just how diverse this festival is.

With the burning of the Green Man and fireworks at midnight it was down to First Aid Kit and Neutral Milk Hotel to provide the entertainment. They both did and yes you guessed it, in completely different styles.

First Aid Kit were returnees to the festival having played on the smaller stages in years gone past. Now it's the main stage which is draped in sparkling gold matching sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg's gold outfits and shoes.

Now mixing in music royalty circles (Jack White) the girls may be in danger of becoming Abba, but for now the songs veer more towards the country world. This was an accomplished set.

Festival closers on the Mountain Stage were Neutral Milk Hotel on their comeback trail. "No photos please" (and people complied), no big screens (so people left the hill and headed for Kurt Vile). For us down the front the set was predicable but still teriffic and really does breathe new life into old songs.

So perhaps, the best Green Man Festival yet. We are looking forward to 2015 already!


Festival Website