After all the turbulence of recent times, and the moments when we thought we might never be able to do this again, Greenbelt 2015 had the feeling of a rebirth, a reboot, a new beginning. The field grew bright again, even in the gloom of the rain. It felt like home again.
Home is a place where you sometimes feel raw, sometimes disagree, sometimes feel able to share your hurt with others in the hope you will be loved back (and sometimes get let down). Home is where the hurt is, as Bono says. But it is also often where you belong, find inspiration, get provoked and challenged, find rest and recharge yourself and discover the strength to make new starts. Greenbelt was that again for me this year and I know it was for many others too.
The departing chair Andy Turner left the festival in a good place. Thanks Andy, for everything, including all the hard work that only a few people saw. You can hold your head up high.
It’s a crazy affair, a weekend in a field, but the people you meet, hear, talk to and hold there can change and lift up your life. It’s not the programme that makes the magic, necessarily. It is the Greenbelt moments, that come from nowhere.
I lay on the ground in the Glade Big Top, a truly inspired new venue, with my son laying beside me, and we rested as we heard Duke Special sing Georgia O’Keefe, and it was magical in a way that no other gig at any other festival has ever been for me (and I have been to a few). “Don’t ask me for the gift of sky, when all I have is cloud.”
Cloud and sky, I found them both this weekend in the Bright Field.
Together, we have arrived at a beginning. Nice to see the future guaranteed as well: the Church Times guide to the festival included an advertisement urging us all to buy tickets for Greenbelt 2106.
Now that’s forward planning.