The bill for Greenbelt 2018 is already sizzling, right? It can’t get any better, right? Well, you’re wrong.
Here are ten more reasons to be with us this summer. It’s going to be wild.
1. Beyond forgiveness: the supreme act of imagination
When Jo Berry’s father, the MP Sir Anthony Berry, was killed in the IRA Brighton Bombing in 1984, little did she imagine that she would one day meet and then become friends with Pat Magee, the man who planted that bomb. But today, Jo and Pat work together to promote peace and help people better understand the roots of war, terrorism and violence. This year at Greenbelt, you can hear Jo Berry and Pat Magee in conversation.
2. Greenbeltrun (inspired by parkrun)
We’re hosting our very own 5k run on Saturday morning in homage to the global phenomenon that is parkrun. It will be a properly marked and stewarded course. So pack your trainers and (reusable) water bottles because at 8.30am on Saturday you’re going to want to run, Forest, run!
The run – not race – will include well-known Greenbelt runners and writers like Jenny Baker (author of Run for Your Life) and Greenbelt’s Creative Director, Paul Northup – also an avid runner. It’s been organised for us by parkrun fanatic and long-time Greenbelter, Nick Gretton.
N.B. In year one (yep, we hope this will become a Greenbelt institution) we’re not able to invite wheelchair users to take part due to the trial route – sorry. However, visually-impaired runners with assistance dogs and experienced guides can take part.
3. Tenx9 with Pádraig Ó Tuama
Pádraig Ó Tuama and friends will host a couple of these irresistible storytelling sessions on the themes of courage and kindness in The Leaves literature venue on Saturday and Sunday evening.
4. Great chefs in the new food venue, The Table
We’ll be welcoming all manner of foodies to The Table. Like Indian chef, Anjula Devi; Palestinian chef, Phoebe Rison; vegan chef, EpiVegan Brett Cobley (pictured) on ‘What Vegans Eat’; our very own Celebrity Masterchef contestant, Rev Kate Bottley; Jack Monroe talking about cooking on a bootstrap; Real Junk Food chef, Duncan Milwain; small-holders Malcolm and Meryl Doney on ‘peasant food’; Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires with a taste of the American South in Birmingham Dog & Fried Green Tomatoes; and halal chef Ruksana Shain. Are you salivating yet? We are.
5. Panels, panels and more panels
We’re just putting the finishing touches to our festival panels. This year, we’ll be tackling some extra-meaty issues, like intersectionality, fair trade and cultural boycott – to name a few. Watch this space.
6. Grenfell Tower conversation – one year on
We’ll be hosting a conversation reflecting on the Grenfell Tower tragedy – now more than a year on. It will involve local residents, and faith community representatives will share what this tragedy means not only for North Kensington but for wider society. It will be hosted for us by Mike Long, Methodist Minister of Notting Hill.
7. The OK Chorale
To finish the festival, we’ve invited the glorious Chris Read (of Harry and Chris fame) to front a first for Greenbelt – The OK Chorale. It’s an idea we’re borrowing from Portland Oregon and it’s a mass-aoke of sorts with the chance for you to belt out some timeless pop classics together.
8. The #MeTooPoets
#MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology is a brand new collection of largely new work that rose up directly out of the collective rage from the #MeToo campaign. It features mainly previously unpublished work from 80 women poets, including Jacqueline Saphra, Helen Mort, Kim Moore, and Pascale Petit. These poems are painful, angry, often difficult to bear. But the result of these voices singing together is one that’s beautiful – full of sisterhood, strength, and recovery. And we’re delighted that poets Deborah Alma, Victoria Bennett, Gill Lambert, Amy Rainbow and Kathy Gee will be performing readings of their work from the anthology at Greenbelt.
9. Journey to Sanctuary
This is a walk-through exhibition – an interactive, immersive installation telling the story of a mother as she journey from despair to hope, leaving the home and country she loves when they’re ravaged by a violent civil war. This forces her to escape to a makeshift refugee camp on the back of a crowded truck, where she’s interrogated by immigration and border officials, rejected by her new host community, and then delighted as a faith community finally accepts her.
10. Greenbelt: Open Michael
The inimitable and wonderful Harry Bird will host what used to be called Greenbelt introducing… but this year is cunningly renamed Open Michael. Harry’s thrilled to be doing this at the festival where he gave one of his first ever performances. We can’t wait to see what talent is unearthed.
Pictured: EpiVegan, the vegan chef, cooking up a storm in the Table venue at Greenbelt 2018.