Here’s where it all starts

Here’s where it all starts

As the days start to lengthen and the air begins to hum with all the possibilities of spring: here are the very first clutch of names appearing at this year’s Greenbelt.

Each week we’ll introduce you to more of the carefully handpicked artists and activists, poets, preachers and performers that you’ll meet in the fields this summer.

As we add more and more names to this year’s dream ticket, you’ll be able to dig deeper into each of them on our lineup page.

For now though, let’s begin. Greenbelt 2024 starts here…

We are going to the end of the rainbow

We start with one heck of a bang. Corinne Bailey Rae is coming (back) to Greenbelt to headline our main stage with her utterly astonishing new album Black Rainbows, which she will perform for us in its entirety.

As you might imagine, she’s been on quite a journey in the two decades since she last performed at our festival in 2005. Her latest critically-acclaimed album melds rock, electronica, glam, punk, jazz and Afrofuturism into a cohesive, extraordinary whole.

The music on Black Rainbows is as expansive as the breadth of the Black experience she found at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, which inspires and informs each track on the new album. To say she was changed by the visit does not do justice to the profundity of her experience. She was transformed. “I knew when I walked through those doors that my life had changed forever,” she says.

Stony Island’s collection encompasses a vast array of art and artefacts. Built in 1923, the building was purchased by renowned artist Theaster Gates in 2012 and reimagined into a cathedral of Black art; 17,000 square feet housing a one-of-a-kind space for innovation in contemporary art and archival practice.

The sheer enormity of the venue and the witness it pays to Black art and life was immediate. The two-time Grammy winner began writing the songs for her newest release Black Rainbows before she’d even left the building from her first visit in 2017. As well as headlining our Glade mainstage, Corinne will be appearing in conversation with us separately to talk about her experience, and the life-changing impact it has had on her.

In its fusing of multiple forms of artistry, combining with protest and prayer, rage and riot grrrl energy, Black Rainbows is a genre-defying album that could have been made to be played at Greenbelt. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome her.

Hayley Hill

We’re dragging you to church

We know how many of you loved our drag queens last year, so we are delighted to welcome Flamy Grant to the fields this summer. Flamy is a glorious, shame-slaying, hip-swaying, singing-songwriting drag queen and Billboard-charting artist from North Carolina. This down-to-earth diva has entertained music lovers from Los Angeles to Nashville with her funny, frank, and fabulous songs about glamour, gays and God.

It’s no accident that Flamy’s drag name is an homage to Amy Grant, the undisputed queen of Christian music and 90s chart-topping pop artist. Much of Flamy’s music centres on the queer spiritual journey, telling stories of resilience and recovery from religious trauma in a world where LGBTQ+ people are frequently ignored by, harmed in, or ejected from religious spaces.

Flamy is the first drag performer to appear on Christian music charts, with her gorgeous, soaring country-gospel single “Good Day” and her Album Bible Belt Baby reaching #1 on iTunes. With a bold lip, a big lash, and a blistering voice, Flamy drags audiences to a soulful, uplifting church of her own making. As she sings in the glorious “Good Day”, she’s “coming back to fight for her place” and we can’t wait to sing with her.

We’re bringing you the finest Palestinian jazz fusion

Akram Abdulfattah is a young Palestinian-American violin master who melds jazz with middle eastern and Indian music. His style is a rich fusion brew influenced by Hindu, Turkish, and Persian styles, reflecting the rich legacy and culture of ancient music, but given a modern 21st century feel.

In 2023, his multinational five-piece group, made up of musicians from Palestine/Sweden/Italy/Greece/and the UK, visited the UK for the first time. With a new album due for release in 2024, we are thrilled to welcome Akram and his band into the fields this summer.

Akram’s talent is so prodigious that he was able to overcome the many challenges of growing up with a Palestinian instrumental music field that lacked resources and infrastructure. He received national and international recognition as he formed the youngest-ever Palestinian musical quartet, won prestigious awards and took part in various international and cross-culture projects.

Johannes Frandsen

We’re rewiring the world’s wealth

Kate Raworth is a renegade ecological economist, committed to the rewiring of economics to make it fit for 21st century challenges. If we’re going to make the needs of everyone fit the means of the planet, we need a new economic mindset.

If you’ve seen Kate before at Greenbelt (or if you haven’t), you won’t want to miss out. She’s going to be taking part in an interactive ‘We need to talk about growth’ session in our Hot House venue. She’ll be focussing on our culture of ‘growth is good’, by examining the last century’s social and ecological implications of GDP growth, and open up a live audience debate on ‘green growth vs degrowth’.

Over the past 25 years, Kate’s career has taken her from working with micro-entrepreneurs in the villages of Zanzibar to a decade as Senior Researcher at Oxfam. Her international best-selling book, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think like a 21st Century Economist, has been translated into more than 20 languages. It’s been widely influential with everyone from the UN General Assembly and Pope Francis to Extinction Rebellion.

We’re showing you something you’ve never seen before

One of the things we try to do each year at Greenbelt is try to show you a few things you’ve (hopefully) never seen before – or might never see anywhere else. With CODE, we think we’ve found one of them.

Created by physical theatre company Justice in Motion, CODE is a thrilling, visceral new show that tells the story of ‘county lines’ crime. It takes place in a specially-built environment designed to look like an estate of concrete block architecture, which we will stage (twice) in our Playhouse venue.

You’ll follow the story of a young person groomed by a criminal gang, who becomes caught up in the illegal drugs trade as a mule, delivering to different areas of the country. Around 1000 county lines operate in the UK, each one returning an average annual profit of just under £1 million.

The performing company features a talented group of urban sportspeople – trials bike riders, parkour athletes, skateboarders – as well as physical theatre and dance performers. All of it accompanied by a unique live soundtrack. It promises to be extraordinary and we can’t wait for you to witness it.

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