Today’s the day we make our second wave of lineup announcements, adding to the music, ideas, theatre, comedy and worship lineup we first shared back in March. We’re really excited (but we’re conscious there is still more to share – not least a handful of what we’re affectionately calling ‘Greenbelt Legends’ and details of our extensive children’s and family programming). Here’s a quick guide to what’s new today from our Creative Director, Paul Northup…
Completing our Sunday mainstage music bill are…
Rumba De Bodas, bringing their vibrant Afro-Latin funk all the way from Bologna in Italy, and sure to get the Greenbelt groove well and truly going.
Making a welcome return to Greenbelt, we are excited to platform radical rapper Lowkey whose heart-on-sleeve passion, creativity, activism and politics are plain for all to see.
Chali 2na is simply one of hip-hop’s most distinctive and best-loved voices. A founding member of the legendary rap group Jurassic 5, as well as salsa funk band Ozomatli, over his career he has collaborated with Blackalicious, Roots Manuva, Mos Def, and Linkin Park – among others. Greenbelt, are you ready for this?!
Additions to our brand-new Orchard Stage lineup are…
Canadian singer-songwriter Cat Clyde, whose nourishing and essential voice is at once deeply personal and intimate as well as strangely universal, connecting the loose threads between us and the world in which we live.
Siskin Green, a contemporary Scottish folk trio drawing on themes of faith, feminism and justice to create fiery protest songs, re-imagined hymns and their own new material, in a sound that moves between the earthy and the ethereal.
Greenbelter Sambambo returns with her quality sound – inspired by jazz and Black American Music – and this year she’s got the full set slot she so deserves.
Originally a jazz trumpeter and multi instrumentalist, House of EL (aka Kieron McIntosh) has fast-become a distinctive songwriter and performer – taking inspiration from soul, jazz and gospel and citing Massive Attack, Gorillaz, Joy Division, Bootsy Collins, Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis as influences.
We couldn’t be 50 years old as a festival without Lee Bains III being at the party to help us celebrate. One of the most urgent and essential artists we’ve discovered in recent years, Lee returns to Greenbelt with his righteous rock and his fiercely-inclusive and liberative Old Time Gospel Hour.
Tawiah has worked in collaboration with artists including Mark Ronson, Cinematic Orchestra and Kano and built a reputation as a TV and film composer. She writes songs that tell the story of the human journey as one of ‘getting lost in order to be found’, suggesting that despite unavoidable suffering there is great hope.
Festival favourite Harry Bird returns with his infections, feel-good multilingual, genre-hopping songs. Harry combines his own British folk roots and those of others, in the belief that music can act as both a mirror and a bridge across all kinds of different human experience.
Fusing folk and soul – think Terry Callier, Joan Armatrading, Nick Drake and Laura Marling – and you might be getting close to the sound of Philippa Zawe – a singer-songwriter who draws on the rich storytelling culture of her Ugandan heritage.
For fans of Haim, Flyte and The Staves, the hypnotic harmonies of The Deep Blue will come as a welcome addition to the bill. But make no mistake, their sumptuous and silky sound packs a punch of rebellious social conscience.
Acoustic at heart but experimental by nature, The Rabbitts avoid the well-trodden path and instead define their own unique sound with creative harmonies, finger-style guitar arrangements, and epic mandolin solos.
And Folk On are back for our 50th, with a brand new nursery rhyme show for children and families (which we’ll stage in The Orchard before their mainstage set).
And bolstering the fantastic, Mouses-curated Rebel Rouser bill are…
Riff-driven London based trio Berries with their garage rock melodies and empowering messages about what it takes to overcome mental health struggles.
A BBC Introducing Tip for 2020 who have had multiple plays on Radio 6 with critical acclaim from Tom Robinson and Radio 1’s Jaguar, BigFatBig‘s irresistible and energetic show always packs a punch.
Northern Irish / Dutch duo Fräulein create cathartic 90’s-flavoured alt-rock influenced by the likes of The Breeders, PJ Harvey and Big Thief, while incorporating cavernous grooves and sharply observational lyrics.
An angry five-piece queer sax-punk band from London, Gutts make riotous noise to unravel to, bringing the ruckus and taking no prisoners – creating chaos in the pit.
Hailing from Belfast, queer punk band Problem Patterns don’t have a front person, but swap instruments and roles to ensure that each member of the group has a voice.
And finally, electropunk juggernaut Straight Girl is the alias of Leeds-based composer and producer Remy Enceladus – the self-branded ‘connoisseur of sad-dance’, tearing up the UK’s alternative, electronic, and progressive scenes since 2019.
IDEAS, IMAGINATION & ACTIVISM
Adding to our ideas bill is none other than former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who comes to us as part of the Methodist Church. He is spearheading a brand new anti-poverty campaign and coalition to provoke and inspire us to recognise the moral failure that the levels of poverty in the UK represents, and how we can act and organise to change things for the better.
We couldn’t let this year pass without remembering Julian of Norwich in the 650th anniversary year since her Revelations of Divine Love and Claire Gilbert will help us do just that as she shares from her critically acclaimed reimagining of Julian’s life for the 21st century.
Daniel Munayer comes to us from the Musalaha project, a faith-based organisation that teaches, trains and facilitates reconciliation, mainly between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. We are grateful to our friends at Embrace for bringing Daniel to the festival.
After too many years away, we are delighted to welcome back radical Australian Dave Andrews. If ever the phrase ‘walk the talk’ has meant anything, it is embodied in the life and work of Dave, having lived and worked in intentional communities with marginalised groups of people in Australia, Afghanistan, India and Nepal for over fifty years. He is currently a part of the Waiters Union, an inner-city Christian community network that is walking and working alongside Aboriginals, refugees and people with disabilities in Brisbane, Australia.
Greenbelt trustee Dave Tomlinson hardly needs an introduction, articulating what might be described as Greenbelt’s theology for decades and continuing to bring his wit and wisdom to Radio 2’s ‘Pause for Thought’ and through his profound and playful weekly vodcast, ‘The Holy Shed’.
All the way from Nashville Tenessee comes David Dark, who first volunteered and fell in love with Greenbelt way back in the early 90s and still thinks of the festival every time he smells damp grass. A writer and public intellectual, he is the author of several books, including Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons, and, soon out, We Become What We Normalize.
Jasmin O’Hara began her work supporting refugees and asylum seekers in the notorious Calais Jungle in 2015 and has worked tirelessly in refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East ever since, telling the stories that too often go unheard. She comes to Greenbelt with stories from her Asylum Speakers book.
Roberto Martinez serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for AMOS Health & Hope in Nicaragua, founded in 1967 with the work of the legendary Dr. Gustavo Parajón. Roberto was mentored and inspired by Gustavo to pursue the dream of health for all people, and build a world where no child dies of a preventable disease. Roberto comes to Greenbelt to help us remember the seminal life and work of Gustavo and bring us up to speed with what’s going on in Nicaragua – a country that has been so inspirational and transformative in the Greenbelt story – today.
Ruth Pearce is a researcher, campaigner, and punk musician. Her work explores issues of inequality, marginalisation, power and political struggle from a trans-feminist perspective. She is currently co-editor of the Community Development Journal, Senior Fellow at Chicago’s Center for Applied Transgender Studies, and a lecturer at the University of Glasgow.
An environmentalist, theologian and social activist, Ruth Valerio is no stranger to Greenbelt. She enjoys living sustainably – practising what she preaches and inspiring others as she does so – in the South of England with her family. She comes to the festival to explore how we can ‘keep going’, using our spiritual resources and stories to fund our activism, living and loving.
Another high profile politician making his Greenbelt debut, Tim Farron MP has represented Westmorland and Lonsdale since 2005, and served as the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party from 2015 to 2017. Famously, his Christian convictions have not always sat comfortably with his public political life and he comes to the festival to get into all of that.
Not forgetting the poets…
Last with us back in 2019, Australian poet, activist, educator and co-founder of the community arts organisation, The Centre for Poetics and Justice, Joel McKerrow joins us again to dig into the relationship between creativity and spirituality.
Greenbelt wouldn’t be Greenbelt without poet Paul Cookson, reading from his two volumes of The Man Who Launched A Thousand Poems, the collection of work he shared daily on social media throughout lockdown. As he says himself: “Funny, thoughtful, poignant, pithy, political, irreverent and irrelevant – if Paul was Snow White these would be his seven companions.”
Once voted “most likely to start the revolution”, Rick Dove is a progressive poet and activist from London and dubbed one to watch by none other than TS Eliot Prize winner Roger Robinson. Equally at home on a stage, a page, or on a march, Rick has a vision of a fairer world and he wants to take you with him.
Each year Birmingham City Council spends £3bn. Where does it all come from and where does it all go? In 50 minutes, using 7,000 golden dominoes, staring a human-size bear, this fast and funny theatre show explains it all. A surprise hit in community venues across the city, All Our Money arrives at Greenbelt, a must for anyone who ever receives a council tax bill and an entertaining ride for everyone else from seven years old and up.
Stan’s Cafe is an internationally-renowned theatre company. They have been devising and touring playful and provocative shows from their Birmingham base since 1991. This is their third visit to Greenbelt following Of All The People In All The World (2009), which represented human population statistics in rice, and The Cardinals (2012), a history of the world from Genesis to Revelation told, without words, by three cardinals using a puppet theatre.
Alasdair Beckett-King is a legendary comedian (in that there is little historical evidence that he exists). But he does exist. The multi-award-winning stand-up comedian has performed on the BBC’s Mock the Week, Comedy Central Live, Radio 4’s The News Quiz and at Glastonbury. People ask him for directions all the time. He looks like the kind of guy who knows shortcuts.
Childhood best friends turned poetry/music/comedy phenomena Harry Baker (World Poetry Slam Champion) and Chris Read (Hollywood’s songwriting gun-for-hire) are the creatively named ‘Harry and Chris’. Their favourite place to play is a field in Kettering to wonderful humans who put the ‘fans’ in ‘family and friends.’
Josie Long is a multi-award-winning comedian, writer, podcaster, and film-maker and the first woman to be nominated three times for an Edinburgh Comedy Award (2010 – 2012). Her powerfully original voice has garnered a world-wide audience of dedicated fans, listeners and multiple awards. Her debut book, a collection of short stories called Because I Don’t Know What You Mean and What You Don’t, arrives this summer and Josie will be in conversation about that, as well as performing a stand-up set. We can’t wait to welcome her back to Greenbelt.
As well as many of the staple festival favourites and much-valued and much-loved worship happenings (like the OUT and Alternative Eucharists and the Taizé service), we’re thrilled this year to be able to stage Andy Hunter‘s The Prayer, welcome the Fishermen’s Chapel Gospel Choir from Leigh-on-Sea, and sing along with Lee Bains III and his fiercely inclusive and liberative Gospel Hour.
So, as the weather finally gifts us a late spring as we slip into summer, festival-ing somehow feels a whole lot more possible at last. Tickets are selling well and it feels like there’s a lot of you who will want to join us in the fields at Boughton House for our 50th anniversary gathering. Be sure to get your tickets now so you can spread your costs over three interest-free payments (before the end of May) and so we can get an even better sense of the scale of event we need to build to ensure this year’s festival really is our best yet.
Thanks for the amazing generosity of Greenbelters who have bought our high value ‘Supporter’ tickets so that others can bag our great value ‘Standard’ or ‘Supported’ tickets. We’re so proud that, with your help, we’ve been able to make our radical ticketing model work in the face of all the odds.
And don’t forget, we’ll be sharing more about our wonderfully wide-ranging children’s and family offering in the next few weeks, as well as making a special announcement about a handful of ‘Greenbelt Legends‘ who we have lined up, ready to add a healthy dose of Greenbelt maturity to proceedings. Watch this space!