Greenbelt believes that things often kept apart can and should be held together. Things like artistry and activism, spirituality and politics, faith and justice. It is a festival where these things belong together and where all are welcome.
What is Greenbelt?
Greenbelt is a festival of arts, faith and justice. The best you’ve never heard of. Greenbelt saw its first edition way back in 1974 and has hosted its annual festival every single year since. But thinking of Greenbelt as just another ‘festival’ doesn’t do it justice. It is also an idea, a way of seeing, a gathering of the clans – part movement, part moment. Its genius is that it defies easy description. You have to be there.
Celebrating artistry and nurturing activism, Greenbelt Festival is an act of the imagination – inspirational, provocative and fun. Energised by a progressive Christian worldview, with 19 stages, galleries, installations and outdoor performances, Greenbelt creates a festival that is inclusive, open-minded, participatory and generous in spirit.
Who we are
Greenbelt Festival represents a wonderful ecology, a web of human cooperation. The organisational bit would identify: a Board of Trustees; a small core staff team; a band of hundreds of volunteers; a host of generous giving festival Angels; and a rolling sea of artists, activists, thinkers, dreamers and doers who have graced the festival’s stages.
But that’s only part of the story. Because Greenbelt is as myriad and varied as the many individuals who help to make it, perform at it, or who rock up each August Bank Holiday weekend to be part of it. Greenbelt makes a festival where not only are all welcome, but all have a stake too.
Greenbelt’s festival roots are important. The soil in which it was planted and grown characterises it still. A dream born on the unsettled non-conformist edges of the church during the early 1970s, the festival was founded by a few brave and creative people – farmers, actors, artists, musicians, theologians and used car dealers. Their worldview was at odds with the churches they had tried to grow up in. They needed a new space to express and engage with the truths of their human experience.
After a few years of watching, waiting, reading, meeting, writing, festival-going and art-making, they found themselves at the first ever Greenbelt Festival in 1974 on Prospect Farm in Suffolk.
Trust Greenbelt is the festival’s way of giving something back. It’s a grant-making fund that has so far given away half a million pounds to projects worldwide since its inception in 2005. Greenbelt gives because it knows the difference even small grants can make to projects that are perhaps seen as too quirky, risky and alternative for other funders. Initiatives with traces of the festival’s DNA of artistry, activism, faith and social justice.
Greenbelt itself is most often perceived as too religious for mainstream funders and not religious enough for faith-based foundations. Occupying this space means we are acutely aware of what encouragement and inspiration a grant can bring. And so we give. Whenever we can.