Ten Best Things About Green Man 2017

The fifteenth birthday celebration for Green Man festival may have seen rain, lots of kids running around in the mud, a wonderful setting, massive Green Man burning and fireworks, plus a whole bunch more, but it was the music that won the weekend. Here are our ten highlights from three days in Wales.


Hurray For The Riff Raff

(Friday, Mountain Stage)

The current incarnation of Hurray For The Riff Riff is led, as always, by Alynda Segarra, but it’s a more funky, and serious yet populist version of the band. The maturity of songwriting is quite stunning at times, with the killer ‘P’alante’ getting the audience raising their fists as one: move forward. Still, the tunes are as strong as the messages and Segarra is an effervescent frontwoman, bobbing and bouncing for the full set. It’s the first triumph of the weekend and set a bar many can’t match.

Karl Blau

(Friday, Walled Garden)

The delightfully entertaining trio headed by Karl Blau made the first sprinklings of rain just that bit more palatable. From the interchanges between band members to the tracks from Blau’s debut Introducing Karl Blau it was a laid back peek into the world of Americana.

Stevie Parker

(Friday, Rising Stage)

The Green Man Rising stage plays host to the cream of the up and comers at the festival and often sees some of the highlights of the weekend. This year Stevie Parker brought her chilled electronica to Wales, and picked up the tempo. True to her word this was an upbeat set, including killer track ‘The Cure’. Nicely done.

Angel Olsen

(Friday, Far Out)

After the resolutely homebrew Burn Your Fire For No Witness was usurped by the wonderful My Woman there was a sense of intrigue for those who hadn’t seen Angel Olsen live before. The sharp suits of the band and her accompanying white dress foreshadowed a pitch perfect set of her best songs, and some winning between song banter. All in all a supremely confident set from an artist on the up.


(Friday, Walled Garden)

One of the breakout new acts of 2017 is five piece Pumarosa. Their mix of indie guitar music and goth based lyrical themes has made them stand out from the busy “NME” crowd of new bands that every calendar year seems to churn out. Resplendent in a white body suit and yellow coat frontwoman Isabel Munoz-Newsome is an energetic presence. Live their songs, ‘The Witch’ particularly, have a magnetic edge to them.

The Wave Pictures

(Saturday, Mountain Stage)

There’s no getting away from it The Wave Pictures are a bit weird. But in a good way. Their set at the foot of the Brecon Beacons is full of great tunes, spot-on musicianship, and good natured banter. Singing drummer Jonny Helm is droll with his humour, and lightning quick with his sticks. Simply put, they’re a proper band.

Michael Kiwanuka

(Saturday, Mountain Stage)

With his stunning second album a year old now it’s time that Michael Kiwanuka got the reputation his music deserves, and afantastic set in the late evening will have woken up plenty of people to the soul man. Opening with the gestating hum and rhythms of an elongated ‘Cold Little Heart’ and including the repeating refrain and powerful lyrics of ‘Black Man In A White World’ – ironic in some ways at the whitest festival of the year – revealed a clutch of songs that lend themselves to the live environment and the crack band that Kiwanuka has put together.

Ryan Adams

(Saturday, Mountain Stage)

The headliner of the weekend. Future Islands were too shouty and gimmicky to win over everyone, while PJ Harvey does put on a mean headline show, but for sheer unadulterated guitar hero-ness, the double denim wearing Ryan Adams took the crown. Mixing a decent chunk of new stuff, including the rocking ‘Do You Still Love Me?’, with classic Adams (and The Cardinals) tracks like the epic ‘Peaceful Valley’ it’s a dry ice filled performance of the headlining kind.

Timber Timbre

(Sunday, Walled Garden)

In the dark of Sunday night Canadian quartet Timber Timbre had the perfect setting in the Walled Garden for their indie-weird style of guitar music. A living breathing manifestation of the dark underbelly of American (Canadian?) life, their songs brood and simmer, and get thrilled reception from a tired and damp crowd.

Saint Etienne

(Sunday, Far Out)

The Britpop survivors closed the Far Out tent with a totally beguiling set of old classics – the double whammy of ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ and ‘He’s On The Phone’ two of the best-received songs all weekend – mixed with tracks from their most recent album. Of the new tracks, ‘Dive’ stood out and with Sarah Cracknell her usual charming self, and their lyrics painting wonderful pictures of the minutiae of British life, Saint Etienne delivered.

Green Man returns in 2018 over the same weekend. For the exact dates and early bird tickets keep an eye on the Green Man website, its Facebook page, and follow the festival on Twitter.


Max Mazonowicz

Updated: Aug 24, 2017

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