What’s new for 2018?

What’s new for 2018?

On Tuesday April 24 we’ll make our second wave of lineup announcements, with more detail around our Children and Families programming and worship programming for Greenbelt 2018 – among other things.

And, of course, there are still more names to announce in our music, ideas, literature, comedy, theatre and visual arts programmes – but they will come later, so hold onto your hats.

But, in the meantime, we wanted to whet your appetites about some new and returning venues and programmes for 2018. There will be more specifics about all these in our end of April second wave but we wanted to sow some seeds ahead of that.

New venues for 2018: Acts of the Imagination

ResisTent (the new Quaker venue for 2018)

We’re delighted that the Quakers in Britain are returning to Greenbelt this summer, hosting a brand new venue collaboration with us called ResisTent – programming a range of workshops, reflection and ideas sessions all with the central thread of a commitment to non-violent and creative direct action and dissent borne out of deep-seated belief and conviction in the value of all life – that there is that of God in everyone and everything. We’re really looking forward to art, debate, workshopping, queer quaker Peterson Toscano, and much, much more each day in the ResisTent venue at Greenbelt. This is not a quiet, shy and retiring space – this is about energy and activism, but curiously and importantly rooted in stillness and listening. The Quakers will also host daily meetings for worship in our Shelter venue.


In line with our festival theme being Acts of the Imagination, we knew we had to think about the future. Not in a geeky and a tech-heavy way (although there will be a bit of that!), but through a programme that is humanity and values-led.

Our futures venue (venue name to be confirmed!) will encourage thoughtfulness and interaction around how we can all be part of making the future more livable for everyone. Because it’s a matter of justice. As William Gibson famously said: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

This will be a creative and all-age space. Non-utopian and not uber-geeky, it will be a space and programme that invites creative and critical responses to the big issues of the days to come. It will be about Acts of the Imagination – imagining the future and how we’ll live there: morally, ethically, practically, religiously, sustainably. To live well in the future will require Acts of the Imagination. It will require scientists, dreamers, activists – all of us – to play our part.

The world moves fast. But we want this venue and programme to allow time for reflection and depth (as well as fun and games!). Time to explore the big moral and societal questions around things like housing, work, ageing, health, faith and money. As well as the big science, tech and ethical questions around AI, digital, the internet, data, privacy and so on. A venue about being human, about being faithful, about being creative, about being generous in the future.


We know that festivalgoers are increasingly looking for programming that is as experiential as much as it is cerebral. And we know that food is a vital ingredient in the mix of any great festival experience. So, we want to build on these two things by producing a brand new food venue at Greenbelt 2018; one that uses food as a catalyst for story, engagement, interaction, inspiration, provocation, play and reflection.

The venue will not be a sit-down banquet venue, but will instead have food at its centre (as the ‘thing’ around which the speaker/leader gathers their content). So this venue will be demonstration, tasting, and story-based.

We already have Jack Monroe in residence with us all weekend who will host a daily food ‘show’ in the venue for us. And with The Trussell Trust on board this year as brand new festival associates, there will be lots we can think about in terms of the links between food and poverty here in the UK.

But the venue will have a global dimension too – with some of our visiting artists sharing dishes from their parts of the world with us,

Again, the space will be all-age and interactive. From foraging in the landscape and then seeing how what we gather can be cooked, to cooking on a budget, to special guest cooks and recipes, to thinking about food provenance, packaging, farming, fair trade and so on … this is a venue whose time has come.

We will be collaborating with a number of agencies and organisations on this venue and programme and plan to reveal more in our end of April second wave of announcements.


NB: All of these new venues and programmes will have an importantly inter- and multi-faith dimension to them, as we work hard to reflect the diversity and richness of thought and approaches evident in our multi-cultural, multi-faith setting.


Homegrown shows and venues refreshed …

Some of our most favourite, home-grown shows will be given a breath of fresh air this year, too.

Award-winning troubadour Martyn Joseph will host one of his much-loved singer-songwriter Rising shows early in the weekend, but will then also work with and mentor Grace Petrie to host a Rising show later in the weekend – in the same open, generous spirit that he has fostered over many years. We’re not planning for Grace to become the new host of The Rising, but we are saying that this is all part of us consciously looking for new and younger hosts to share in some of our most treasured and quality programming.

And journalist Cole Moreton, with his show The Daily Mirror (which is much less a paper review show as it is a daily moment when festivalgoers can gather to reflect on breaking news and topical issues and look for themes and higher meaning), will co-host the show with a new, as-yet-to-be-announced, co-presenter. And we are working to ensure radical and diverse guests, while still retaining the drawing power of a ‘big name’ each day. Cole will continue to model the radical inclusivity the show is loved for, blurring the boundaries between the audience and the panel. Watch this space.

The Red Tent venue and programme will be back again this year, too – after its well-received introduction in 2017. Given everything that continues to unfold as the lid gets blown open on the gulfs and injustices between genders, this space and programme will be as vital, playful and treasured as it was last summer. But we will also introduce some opportunities for men to meet and discuss, too (in a carefully managed and sensitive way) – especially around ideas of ‘toxic masculinity’, which we recognise is an essential part of addressing the gender injustice women in particular, but all of society, labours with today.

We’re also delighted that The Exchange venue will return again this year – hosted by a collection of wonderful co-operative organisations including Co-operatives UK, Mid-Counties Co-op and Co-op Energy, Anthony Collins Solicitors and the New Internationalist. This venue and programme is all about the thorny real world issues of fair finance and fair work, the character of corporations and consumers. Doing business for good. 

And there’s more …

The Shelter venue on the far side of the lake will have a larger capacity this year and will once again provide a showcase space for worship, prayer and reflection – away from the hubbub of the festival. We will be putting in better lighting, ramps and tracking to allow for better access so that more people are able to enjoy the space and its programme.

We’ll also be working hard, with lots of small and carefully considered changes, to reimagine the Glade (mainstage) Arena area so that it really comes alive this year, relocating and re-orienting venues, spaces and layout to develop a vibrant, celebratory and active space where people will want to stay and soak up the content and atmosphere.

Our youth venues and provisions will also see a fresh injection of imagination this year too – including their relocation, longer opening hours and even the introduction of a basic cafe provision. There will be more about all this in our end of April announcements.

Pictured: the new Futures venue structure for Greenbelt 2018.