SOMEWHERE TO BELIEVE IN
Hello. We’re Greenbelt Festival.
We’ve been a space for people with faith (and those without) to come together for nearly five decades. We’re a space for the searchers, where it’s OK to ask questions of what we believe and celebrate the richness and joy those conversations can bring.
As you might expect, after nearly 50 years we look radically different these days, but underneath it all we’re still the same few days in the fields we always were. A home for anyone restless and hungry for more of life’s fullness.
And faith still knits the fabric of our festival together as much now as it did back when it began. You’re just as likely to get chatting over a drink in the Jesus Arms (our festival pub) with a keen-bean church youth group leader as you are with a grizzled ex-vicar. It’s just that you’re as likely to bump into them again during a Guilty Classics DJ set as you are at our Sunday morning Communion service.
One of the joys of Greenbelt is that (alongside dog-collared ravers) you also get to spend time with sceptics and refugees from institutional religion. The small miracle of Greenbelt is that we can all find common cause and become part of the same community.
The poets, performers and makers we platform are our ‘priests’ too. We see our artists – with their imagination and creativity – as making lenses through which we can see the truth. We celebrate them as prophets who signpost the future with bravery and imagination.
Some of the issues we’ve wrestled with over the years as a community might have seemed controversial at the time. We’ve certainly had our share of criticism over the decades as we’ve tried to piece together that old, old story about God for the days we live in now.
But, whether it’s been inviting Extinction Rebellion or championing LGBT+ rights, opening up to the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement or creatively countering Muslim stereotypes, we dare to hope that we’ve been on the right side of history most of the time. We’re quietly proud of the fiercely gentle, inclusive festival we’re still trying to become.
For some of us, our faith looks to the Jesus who spoke truth to power, challenged the religious and championed the oppressed; for others the answer may lie elsewhere. But here’s the thing: no matter who you are, where you’re from or what you believe, there will always be a place for you in our fields. One in which you will be welcomed, accepted and loved, as well as inspired and challenged.
We’re somewhere you can leave your old self behind – even if it’s only for a few days – and head home with a fresh sense of clarity and conviction. Perhaps a little more comfortable in your own skin. Maybe even with a deeper sense of faith in a God of love.
Come and see for yourself this summer. We’d love to show you.