Advice for a Greenbelt Newbie (from a Greenbelt newbie)

Advice for a Greenbelt Newbie (from a Greenbelt newbie)

Here’s some wisdom from our new trustee Molly Boot, who came to Greenbelt last year for the very first time. On her own!

Thinking of coming to Greenbelt on your own, or for the first time? Last year, I did both: and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made!

As a first-time Greenbelter coming along on my own, I was pretty anxious and had no idea what to expect. Little did I know that I would meet strangers who would quickly become great friends, and discover art, conversations, and questions that would challenge and change me for the better. A field just outside Kettering became home for just a few days, and I am beyond excited to be returning this year as a trustee.

But how can we newbies make the most of Greenbelt 2019, Wit and Wisdom, especially if we don’t know anyone (yet)? Well, I’ve been thinking, and I’ve a few thoughts that might come in useful.

  1. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural camper. I’m definitely not, and I survived! And not because I was well prepared — I forgot my raincoat, a mallet, and most of my tent pegs. No: I survived because Greenbelters couldn’t be friendlier neighbours. Within minutes of arriving on site, people had lent me all the things I’d forgotten, they’d helped me put up my tent, and they only gently mocked me for being so unprepared. And, there are always pre-pitched tents, glamping, or even ensuite campus rooms if you’re really not feeling the whole camping thing.
  1. You definitely won’t feel lonely at Greenbelt, take it from this introvert. First, check out your social media networks — you may well find that you have quite a few friends coming along already! And either way, if you turn up to things you’re interested in, you’re likely to end up sitting next to like-minded people to continue the conversation with over a pint in the Jesus Arms. I’ve honestly never found it so easy to make friends as it was at Greenbelt. And, if you want somewhere to land and you’re aged between 18 and 25, we’re having a welcome session for you in The Little Big Top at 6pm on Friday. See you there?
  1. Get planning – but be prepared to be surprised! Disclaimer: I am one of those people with a spreadsheet for everything. I spent hours on the Greenbelt app (get it!) before I arrived last year, marking everything that could possibly interest me, so that as soon as I got my programme on-site, I could get out my colour-coded highlighters and make a plan. I know, I know. But the best things I saw at Greenbelt were the unplanned things, like when I ended up writing a song with my fellow Greenbelters; or when I followed the candles to the Goth Eucharist; or when new friends took me off to find new favourite comedians and musicians. If you’re a planner, plan away! But expect the unexpected.

So, can you go to Greenbelt on your own and have a great time? Yes, absolutely! I can’t wait to meet you there. Greenbelt is a magical space filled with creativity, wit and wisdom. It’ll get you fired up about things you didn’t even know you were passionate about. Watch out: you might get hooked. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!