The Flaming Lips, Joanna Newsom, Beirut, Efterklang, Billy Bragg - Green Man Festival 2010 Preview

Owain Paciuszko 24/07/2010

August 20th to 22nd 2010. http://www.greenman.net/

Is it cruel to write a preview of a sold out music festival? To some extent, yes. But it can serve as a reminder to all those not going this year, that you'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to make sure you don't miss out on one of the year's consistently best music festivals when it returns for another triumphant weekend in 2011.

What can the happy campers who venture out into Wales' beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park expect when they step out into the bright sunshine/torrential downpour (delete as appropriate) for three days of beautiful music, wonderful people, delicious food and near-miraculous cider? Well...

There's a 'green carpet premiere' of a restored and re-edited version of the Leonard Cohen film Bird On A Wire on Thursday evening, with the Far Out tent magicked into a 2000 seat cinema, which will be followed by a Q & A with director Tony Palmer and producer Steven Machat.

Friday evening headliners include the likes of Doves, Fuck Buttons and An Horse, though personally I'll be racing from tent to tent in order to take in Beirut and Steve Mason prior to that (crosses fingers for minimal schedule clashing). The main stage starts with Green Poll winners The Dufflefolks then Cardiff jauntsters Spencer McGarry Season followed by the truly wonderful, dry wit of The Wave Pictures. Current up and comers Chew Lips are tucked into the Far Out stage which will become a late night AV dancefest with DJ Yoda bringing the first night of music to an early morning close. Of course, that's skirting around other treats such as Comedy Tent line-up that includes Robin Ince, Ed Gamble and Trevor Lock, and an assortment of literature, film and other cultural shenanigans.

Beat the kids to the cinema tent on Saturday for a viewing of cutesy animation Ponyo and wake up to the clatter and caterwaul of Islet opening the Far Out tent, or, perhaps the soft and soothing tones of the truly wonderfulThe Gentle Good. The day continues peppered with the likes of El Goodo, Egyptian Hip-Hop, John Cooper Clarke and Fanfarlo (among many more); before the respective headliners These New Puritans followed by Wild Beasts and Billy Bragg followed by The Flaming Lips (I really hope they play The Gash). There's more after dark fun in Far Out where the fantastic Metronomy with be presenting, er, themselves alongside James Blake and Wild Geese.

Two bands in the Far Out tent on Sunday have the word 'bear' in their name, but they're both put to shame by the presence of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs who will be kicking off Sunday's late night fun. From a headliner point of view I'm very keen to see Joanna Newsom but also, after being blown away by their unexpected headline performance at the End of the Road festival last year, Efterklang are definitely a must see. Prior to that you've got Tindersticks, Girls, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling, comedy from Milton Jones, Josie Long et al, Simone Felice, Tallest Man On Earth and all the unexpected and wondrous surprises that the Green Man festival undoubtedly unfurls as the weekend blossoms.

Whatever the weather (it absolutely poured it down the first time I went, and I loved it - see photo below) the Green Man festival is a totally wonderful experience, effortlessly unique and beamingly friendly. I can't wait!