Music, music, I hear music

Music, music, I hear music

Creative Director, Paul Northup on Greenbelt’s music lineup for 2016 …


We’re really excited about the music bill we’ve built for this year’s festival. We’ve searched high and low and worked hard to assemble a lineup that is packed with quality, intrigue and beats and tunes to move hearts and mountains.

We’ve already blogged here about why we’re excited about each of our Glade mainstage headliners – Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, The Hot 8 Brass Band, Nakho and Medicine for the People and Hope & Social’s A Band Anyone Can Join. The headliners reflect our commitment to bring you new music, community-minded music, music that’s for change, music borne of struggle, and music that is just downright ingenious and infectious. We think we’ll deliver that in spades this year – with genuinely headline acts, not just household names. It’s about bringing silent stars to your attention.  

And behind the headlines, there is a real strength and depth to the music bill this year. And this was underlined in last week’s music announcements, including Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, Mahalia, Barbarella’s Bang Bang, and Terakaft among others. Here’s just a few words about why we’re excited to have completed the music bill with acts like these.

Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers
A charismatic charmer and a smasher of pianos. A madman and an earnest poet. A strummer of delicate chords and a lover of bent and broken melodies. Ben Caplan is not any one thing. We saw him at The Great Escape festival in Brighton in May and were instant converts. Inspired in part by Eastern European and Jewish folk traditions, Ben Caplan mixes older musical sensibilities with his own soul, straight from his hairy heart. 

When singing, it’s like the rock-gargling croaks of Tom Waits and James Hetfield mingled and matured in an oloroso cask.

Leicester based 18-year-old Mahalia writes effortless and beautiful melodies that belie her tender years. Already championed by the likes of Ed Sheeran and Rudimental, Mahalia is destined for greatness. We’re just pleased to have her grace our festival while her star quality is still largely silent, unnoticed. It won’t be that way for long!

“The one thing I want people to take from my music is a sense of honesty. My biggest fear is for someone to listen to my music and think I’m not being truthful.”

Barbarella’s Bang Bang
Connecting us to Eastern and Roman Europe at a time when we do well to remember our inter-relatedness right across our continent, Barbarella’s Bang Bang play fast and furious carnival music – with the archetypal accordian sound front and centre – mixing European gypsy folk roots with a theatrical pop musicality. This is music to dance to. This is music to take you on a ride.

Highly skilled, and utterly barmy
Fuji Rock

Pictured above, Terakaft (meaning “caravan” in Tamasheq) are a genuine desert rock band, sculpted by the pure searing air and the endless rolling sands of the Sahara. Born out of the very same group of musicians, environment and sensibility that have us Tinariwen (Greenbelt, 2014), Terakaft are still close friends with the global superstars of desert rock – choosing to your less and stay in the desert more. Mixing guitar and percussion, their create and irresistible groove that will transport you to to the heart of the desert from wherever you hear it.

★★★★ Truth is, there’s little Nile Rodgers could teach this lot about using a guitar to get people dancing


These are just four acts adding to the likes of the recently announced Ruarri Joseph’s William the Conqueror, the returning Philippa Hanna and Danni Nicholls and the inimitable Matthew Crampon’s Human Cargo.

For the full music lineup, click here.