Green Man isn’t all necking cider and chilling out on a hill to alt-folk. It’s mostly that, but it also prides itself on a its array of alternative activities, from supping barrels of Dead Canary in the craft beer tent to wishing for a media blackout on James Corden at the Wishing Tree. Here are five of the best…
Green Man: Real Ale
Mocking their Cornwall cousins and their foreskin-infused scrumpys, the real ale tent at Green Man is ranked with near endless kegs of frothing freak beers that would send your local Spoons running for the Pils. Trying to find a pint either a) without an accidental sprinkling of beard glitter or b) not served to you by a juggler is tough, but amongst the vast choice of Horny Goats, Telekenesis and My Darlin’ Lemontimes, we plump for a pint of Dark Side Of The Moose. It certainly lives up to its Floydish name – it has a hint of bitter recriminations, will sell in its millions to stoned hippies and ends with a gargantuan bout of brain damage.
Green Man: Laughs
Venturing into the Last Laugh stage at Green Man is a brave move for audience and artiste alike. Random front row teenagers are liable to get sexualised by the acts for comic effect, while the comics – many flown in from Edinburgh for the occasion – face arguably the drunkest audience on the festival circuit. Pity poor comedy illusionist Doug Segall, whose assistants chosen to remember a single word from a random page of a book appear to have forgotten what word they remembered and, indeed, what words are. We certainly remember the word Brian Gittins – aka David Earl from Derek largely standing silently onstage in a pink bubble wig and honkable penis, occasionally requesting nine cheers for Gabby Roslin – makes up for the occasion. “Give me a ‘p’! Give m a ‘u’! Give me an ‘f’! Give me another ‘f’! Give me a ‘t’! Give me an ‘i’! Give me a ‘t’! What have you got?”
Green Man: Wishes
The actual Green Man, a gigantic foliage sculpture in the middle of the site, doubles as a wishing tree, where people tie tags containing their hopes for good GCSE results, fairies, life partners and drugs. This year sees numerous wishes from five-year-olds for Donald Trump to “go very, very far away” amongst the heartbreaking hopes that the bullying stops or loved ones come back from the dead. Always amusing are the tags with parents wishing long life, health and happiness for the children on one side and, on the other, those same kids wishing for long life, health and happiness for their dogs. And full marks to the people who wished for “a chocolate wand”, “to learn necromancy” and “to be a part of a 70s rock band”.
Green Man: Science
Alternative science is big news at Green Man – over in Einstein’s Garden you can charge your phone by cycle power, gasp at cutting edge technology for hydrogen-powered cars and find fun, child-friendly ways to learn about artery diseases. We chance our arm against a ‘computer’ made up of a stack of small plastic boxes that’s ‘learning’ to play a nine-square, pawns-only version of chess by trial and error. We thrash it, obviously – it’s a stack of plastic boxes and thus a dick at chess – but given an hour or so more practice it’ll be unbeatable. Still, at least it’s reassuring that the development of super-intelligent AI is still in a formative stage.
Green Man: Art
The site is dotted with large-scale art installations to wander around but definitely not let little Ambrose climb on. Out towards the Far Out tent you’ll pass a giant triangular wall of mirrors – not a great place to head after six pints of Dark Side Of The Moose. And in the woodland behind the Walled Garden you’ll come across neon trees, glowing boxes that look like they should be fuelling a Tardis and an enigmatic moon-like circle of light projected into the canopy and surprisingly free of teenagers copping off beneath it. Yes, Green Man is like the Tate Modern, but with more pufftits.