Find out what’s cooking

Find out what’s cooking

Each week you’re going to meet another handful of brand new names for this summer’s festival. We’re taking our time like this because a) we can, and b) full line-up posters can feel like an all-you-can-eat buffet. So much dizzying choice all at once, so many names: it’s hard to know where to start.

Instead, think of this more measured approach like a long, luxurious taster menu for you to savour. You get to try plenty of courses, each with its own unique flavour and feel. Spread out so you can take your time over each one (without feeling like you’ve overdone it and need to loosen your belt or skip pudding).

At Greenbelt you’re just as likely to learn about your right to peaceful protest as you are to wave your hands in the air or move your feet. With that in mind it’s time to meet some of the inspirational activists and provocateurs we’ve invited to join our dream team this summer, alongside more fabulous musical treats and a group of performers we’ve been trying to book for years.

Let’s get started.

We’re looking at the state we’re in

Making his Greenbelt debut in our talks programme is writer, columnist and hip-hop recording artist Darren McGarvey (also known by his stage name Loki). 

You might have seen his latest BBC series, a passionate analysis of the state of our public services. Darren brings a fresh perspective and a fierce intelligence to pressing questions about who runs our country – and who has to live with the consequences of their decisions. 

His first book, ‘Poverty Safari’ was published in 2017, and was informed by Darren’s own experience of extreme poverty, addiction and homelessness. An instant publishing and critical hit, he won the prestigious ‘Orwell Book Prize’ in June 2018.

We’re really excited for Darren to make his Greenbelt debut with us in the fields this summer. We were blown away with his 2022 Reith Lecture on the ’Freedom from Want’ and we’re really looking forward to introducing him to you – and Greenbelt – this summer.

We’re partying from Lagos to London

The 8-musician strong London Afrobeat Collective will be grooving their way through the fields this summer, bringing their audio alchemy of traditional afrobeat, hi-life, funk, jazz, latin and dub with them. 

The LAC’s melting musical brew means music as eclectic and inter-continental as the band itself, a tight-knit family of crack musicians from England, Italy, France, Congo, Argentina and New Zealand. 

Celebrated for their raucous energy, heavy dance grooves and conscious lyrics, the LAC are a party machine with meaning, inspired by Fela Kuti’s political conscience as much as his genre-defining music.

Taking inspiration from afrobeat’s father as well as such artists as Ebo Taylor, Parliament Funkadelic and Havana d’Primera, LAC’s multi-lingual performances in English, Spanish, Lingala and French have won them admirers across Europe.

In the UK they were personally invited by Michael Eavis to play Glastonbury and have been championed by 6 Music’s Craig Charles. Their brand new album is called Esengo, which means ‘joy’ in Lingala, and we cannot wait for them to bring that joy to Boughton.

We’re getting Smashed

We have tried to book these performers for more than a decade, so we’re beyond happy to be finally welcoming one of the greatest contemporary circus acts anywhere in the world: Gandini Juggling.

Formed in 1992 by legendary performers Sean Gandini and Kati Ylä-Hokkala, the company celebrates juggling in all its forms, exploring the outer limits of what their art form can be. 

They are bringing their show Smashed to Greenbelt, where traditional juggling meets contemporary circus. You can watch a trailer for the show hereSmashed takes a witty look at forbidden fruit and the fraying relationship between seven men and two women, alongside 100 apples and a troupe of performers in total command of their craft.

A series of nostalgic, cinematic scenes explore conflict, tense relationships, lost love, and afternoon tea, all set against an eclectic soundtrack of everything from Tammy Wynette to Bach. Prepare for a blur of surrealism, dance, comedy, flights of poetry and more, all expressed through breathtaking virtuosity we hope you’ll be talking about long after it’s finished.

We’re raising the roof with a sister act

Welcome to the gospel according to The McCrary Sisters. This gospel trio have sung all their lives, performing with Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Mary J Blige and many more, but only began singing together under their own name in the last few years.

In doing so they were fulfilling a long-held wish of their late father Sam, who was a lynchpin of the legendary gospel quartet, The Fairfield Four. Having lost their sister Deborah in 2022, Ann, Alfreda and Regina vowed to keep the family’s music alive in tribute to their sister. 

Their life-affirming live sets are packed with their own brilliant original songs and gospel classics, effortlessly switching between gospel, soul and foot-stomping R&B. We think they’ll bring the house down. Make sure you’re there to bear witness.

We’re going to rebel 

Our last name this week is someone we’ve wanted to bring to Greenbelt for years. Dr Gail Bradbrook is a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and has been researching, planning, and training for mass civil disobedience since 2010.

She’s coming to talk to us about the climate emergency as well as her own spiritual journey, and how her faith informs her awe and wonder for the environment, as well as her unshakeable determination to try and save it.

The mother of two boys and the daughter of a coal miner, Gail has been named as one of the most influential people in the UK, and honoured in a Women’s Hour Power List for her part in instigating a rebellion against the UK Government. 

Gail has been arrested several times for acts of civil disobedience and shouldered various punishments. Her talks on the science of the ecological crisis, the psychology of active participation, and the need for civil disobedience have inspired many to join XR.

Dig into the 2024 lineup. And buy your tickets for Greenbelt Festival 2024.