Field of Dreams for 2024

Field of Dreams for 2024

For those who know and love our Boughton House home and the venues we programme and produce in its beautiful grounds, we’re excited to let you know that we have a few new venues for you to explore and enjoy this summer – as well as some creative layout changes, which we’re sure will make your festival experience even better. Allow our Creative Director, Paul Northup, to take you on a tour…

The Orchard. Photo: Rupert Martin

What’s new in the Orchard?

Last year we dipped our toes in the water when it came to using the Orchard space – we moved the Canopy programme into the travelling barn structure and re-named it the Orchard Stage and we delivered our visual arts workshop venues in that space, too. But, although we loved the setting, the venue structure was the wrong one for the Canopy programme – and the access to the area as a whole wasn’t the best it could be. It was a message that also came through loud and clear on our post-festival survey, and we’ve listened.

So, this year we are opening up the whole of The Orchard area – from top to bottom – and creating two main entry and exit points. And we’re moving a new grouping of venues into this beautiful setting.

As you enter the Orchard, you’ll see a brand new venue facing down towards you – one of our most ambitious venues ever. In collaboration with our main partner Christian Aid, this brand new venue will connect us to the world in which we live in very real and meaningful ways across the weekend. We can’t wait to tell you more soon – including its name. But we’re holding back just a while longer so we can make a really big splash, together with Christian Aid, all about it. Watch this space!

Shelter, Chapel, Grove and Wild Goose
A little further up into the Orchard, we’ll be producing a grouping of venues at the beating heart of the festival. The Shelter’s rolling programme of communal worship, reflection and prayer – featuring festival favourite sessions like Taize, the new Quiet Communion and so on – along with some fresh and exciting surprises for this year.

The Chapel space will be close at hand for quiet reflection and personal prayer and we’ll also have daily Grove gatherings in this area, too – in the early afternoons and mid-evenings. This year, we’re also pleased that our good friends from the Iona Community will host their Wild Goose venue next door to these worship spaces – providing resources, reflection and programming that is complementary to the wider programme in the zone.

The Residency – and an expanded visual arts offering this year
And then, at the top of the Orchard, you’ll find our visual arts cluster, comprising the Studio and Workshop venues. Plus this year, you’ll also find a new space called the Residency, which will host talks and networking with guest artists – including three ‘artists in residence’, one on each of the three main festival days this year. Bobby Baker is already announced as one of these, with two more yet to be revealed. Working with our new visual arts lead Georgina Barney, we’re really excited to be able to expand and deepen our visual arts programme this year.

The visual arts programming here will also connect, by way of an exciting new ‘visual arts trail’, to a main exhibition in the Tapestry Suite up at the main House, which will be open each afternoon. Full details of the visual arts programme will be announced in the coming weeks. There will also be a coffee and book stop in the visual arts cluster, provided by the good folk at Beam in Nottingham.

Plus Takeaway and crafts
Last but not least, there will also be a number of Takeaway exhibitor organisations and crafting tents in the Orchard too. All adding to the vibe of what we think will fast become one of Greenbelters’ favourite new spaces in the festival site.

Glade Area. Photo: Jacob Lowe

What’s new in the Glade Arena?

Our food venue, the Table, makes a welcome return – this year in a new structure, in a new setting, and in a new collaboration with first-time partners, Refugees at Home. Set in the beautiful travelling barn (which we used in the Orchard last year), expect a rolling programme of food and story – all designed to build solidarity with and deepen empathy for those from around the world who seek to make their home here in the UK. Plus, watch out for some very special surprise guest chefs in the mix!

The Table is your chance to watch, smell, listen, and learn – as well as to sit, eat and encounter after each formal session. The Table will be tucked in behind the Glade mainstage, where the Angels Lounge and Tank have been, facing out towards the Hot House venue across the way (see below). In the evening there will be a few different sessions in the Table – ranging from stand-up comedy from two Coventry-based refugees through to our very own Great British Bake Off contestant and a special ‘listening party’.

Hot House
The Hot House – our climate change-focussed venue, supported by the Pickwell Foundation – will be joining us in the Glade Arena this year, taking up residence in the space where the Caravan of Love has been in recent years. Facing out towards the Table, we will be underlining the connection between climate change and migration (one which is only set to grow over the coming years).

The Hot House is going to be stacked with urgent, necessary and inspirational programming around the climate emergency by day, and then, after-hours, it’s wall-to-wall dance – with guest DJ sets this year from Guvna B, the Pickwell posse, and, of course, the now indispensable OUT@Greenbelt Glitter Ball, packed with all the dancefloor divas, the most fabulous of tunes and the sparkliest of outfits.

The Caravan of Love
Worry not, the Caravan of Love is not disappearing from the festival. It’s just shuffling over a little to make room for the Hot House and morphing into a location for pop-up poetry and spoken word across the weekend – as well as being just a beautiful place to take the weight off and to just chill and chat.

Tiny Tea
After a year out in the Campsite Hub (as we had to move The Lawn fun and games out there in 2023), The Tiny Tea Tent returns to the corner of The Glade again for this summer. Once again you spoke and we listened (and agreed).

The Meadow. Photo: Simon Holmes

What’s new on the Meadow?
On the wide expanse of grass leading up to The Playhouse, you’ll find …

The Living Room
A homely venue focussed on UK poverty and inequality and hosted by a team of folk with lived experience of poverty, in collaboration with Trussell Trust and Let’s End Poverty, the Living Room is back for its second year, with a programme that will focus on the response of the church, the community, and the nation to the endemic levels of chronic poverty here in the UK.

With special guests and a focus on response and action, the venue provides the essential space onsite where we invite those of good faith to reflect and act on how they can include, welcome, support, stand in solidarity with, advocate and campaign for those who are daily excluded from life in all its fullness in our society.

The Hope & Anchor
A dry bar with free flowing conversations, the Hope & Anchor has become a firm favourite space in the Greenbelt festival mix in recent years, hosted by our friends, the Methodists. We love the conversational content and secret special appearances the Hope & Anchor host, but we’ve sometimes struggled to find their sweet spot – the perfect place to site them in the mix. This year, we think we’ve nailed it: not too far from the Canopy and just up the way from the Pagoda.

The Pagoda
The Pagoda is not new of course, but, with the generous support of CCLA (enabling us to platform good thinking, all ways round) once again, we are as excited as ever to present an array of great speakers, writers and activists in our showcase Ideas venue over the course of the weekend. Always full to overflowing and platforming a mind-altering parade of inspiration and provocation, this year you’ll find it at the bottom of the Meadow, straight ahead of you as you approach from the Glade Arena side.

The Canopy, in the Dell. Photo: Amy Cundill

What’s new in the Dell – and beyond?

The Canopy 
Longterm Greenbelters will be pleased to know that the venue formerly known as the Canopy is once again known as the Canopy – and, once again, it is nestled into the trees at the top of the Dell, facing out onto the great West Lawn, with the Blue Nun bar next door. Our second music stage has always been one of the honeytraps of Greenbelt (even when we dared to play with its venue and location last year). So, for great singer-songwriters all day and party bands after hours each night – all building towards the great Greenbelt institution that is The OK Chorale – you won’t need to leave the Canopy.

The Lawn 
Yes, you heard it right: this year we have the use of the Great West Lawn for fun and games once again. What better space to let off steam and rush around than on some of the best-kept turf in the kingdom? All within easy reach of the children and family venues and Canopy. Sorted.

The Campsite Hub. Photo: Stephen Radley

What’s new in the Campsite Hub?

As the Campsite Hub gradually becomes a key setting within the overall festival mix, this year it welcomes our brand new Fringe venue, showcasing the best of over hundred acts that submitted online to be part of the festival this summer – and a pop-up bar that we’re calling the Parched Pilgrim.

The Fringe and the Parched Pilgrim will join the Village Hall, the 24-Hour Kindred Cafe, Milk & Honey and the Parent Support Venue.

Photo: Rob Wicks

Not forgetting … the Rebel Rouser

Not forgetting, of course, that the Rebel Rouser is back and, once again, we’re working with our friends, the band Mouses, to curate and produce it. Soon, we’ll be sharing the exciting programme we have in store for the Rebel Rouser. We can hardly wait.

We’ll be sharing a fuller round-up of the wonderful partners we’re working with at this year’s festival very soon now.