Part of the joy of going to a festival is discovering new things. New things about yourself. New things about the world. New things about other people. And, of course, new artists and ideas you hadn’t heard (much) about before. And that for us is the joy of curation, too: we get to make something new every year.
Sometimes that can be about the luck of platforming an artist before they make it big. That’s happened a few times at Greenbelt, by accident and design. A fresh-faced U2 in 1981, a wonderfully soulful show from Corinne Bailey-Rae in 2005, an attention-grabbing set from an adolescent Ed Sheeran on our acoustic stage in 2008. And so on…
When a festival is over 45 years old, you’d expect it to have introduced a few ‘before they were big’ gems over the decades. But our curatorial passion means that we’re always working to introduce you to beautiful, meaningful artistry, activism and devotion that might be new to you.
Curation isn’t about looking for the Next Big Thing, primarily. It’s about seeking out the best, the most bold and beautiful artistry and ideas we see, hear and read – and bringing them to the Greenbelt space to share them with you.
This year’s love
This year, our Glade mainstage bill will close on Monday night with a set from Gregory Alan Isakov and his band. He has been making sublime music and touring for 15 years or more and he has a devoted following. Still, we have a hunch that lots of you won’t have come across him before. And we haven’t been this excited about bringing a new-to-the-festival artist to Greenbelt in a long, long time.
Curation is about trust. You trust us to piece together this bill of artistry, activism and belief in such a way that you will be engaged, inspired, provoked, drawn in, taken deeper, stopped dead in your tracks, made to think again, to laugh, cry, and wonder. We think this guy can do all of that.
Gregory Alan Isakov’s songs seem effortless, falling from him like gentle rain onto parched earth. As an immigrant, farmer, thinker and compassionate communitarian, he embodies so much of what we cherish as a festival. But the sheer beauty of his artistry belies his steely, contrary determination to plough a different furrow in life.
Greenbelt 2019 is going to be full-on, jam-packed, a frenzy of fun, activity, workshopping, watching, listening, thinking, dancing, drinking, chatting (and not much sleeping). So, trust us when we say that Gregory Alan Isakov is going to be the perfect way to ‘come down’. To still your soul. Centre yourself. Ready yourself for the good fight. His set will be a benediction. A sacrament, almost.
We want you to leave with his music deep in your being. It’s a statement of intent. A “this is who we are, this is what we value, this is what we think is important, this symbolises our commitments” type-of-thing.
Trust our heritage. Trust our curation. And make sure you’re there to see Gregory Alan Isakov and be part of what is sure to become the latest in a long line of Greenbelt moments when“you had to be there”; when something new and astonishing breaks in on our communal conscienceness and changes us all. Forever. For the better.