Greenbelt 2016: Simple Times, Sacraments & Ceefax

19/09/2016 13:30


There's not many festivals that can boast a line up which includes a Tibetan electric lute player, a former hostage and the Archbishop of Canterbury. But then there aren't many festivals quite like Greenbelt.

The three day gathering in the lush grounds of Boughton House, near Kettering, describes itself as a collision of the arts, faith, and justice.

This year's headliners included cult-optimist comedian Josie Long who covered topics ranging from Brexit to why eating a salad for lunch had transformed her 2016. Fellow comic James Acaster, fresh from his fifth consecutive nomination for Best Comedy Show at the Edinburgh Fringe, closed the festival with his whimsical observational comedy. The story about the day he tried and failed to by a supermarket checkout divider was particularly well received.

Elsewhere New Orleans' Hot 8 Brass Band brought a taste of HBO's drama Treme to the Northamptonshire countryside with their jazz-infused hip-hop funk. They were a perfect antidote to the only rain of the weekend on the Saturday evening. After that shower the sun shone brightly for the rest of the festival.

Sharing the main Glade Stage was World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker and rising star of the London jazz scene Chris Read with tracks from their comedy infused musical wordy mash up album Whaddyawannado. Their feel good track Simple Times is the perfect summer festival tune you'll be humming for days with words that will bring a smile to your face.

Over on the Canopy Stage, cerebral singer songwriter Drew Worthley took a creatively playful approach with his mix of analogue synths and acoustic guitar. Playing mostly tracks from his captivating second album, Crucible, the song lyrics touched on Indiana Jones, the mystery of Christian sacraments and following the cricket on Ceefax (remember that?).

But Greenbelt is more than just sitting back and being entertained, there's also plenty of opportunities to make the world a better place. In the venue run by poverty fighting outfit Christian Aid, workshops were run tackling the stigma around refugees. The way refugees have been portrayed in the media has been nothing less than disgraceful over the past year so festival goers were given the chance to write letters to media outlets criticising demonization and calling for fair treatment.

Tickets for next year's festival are already on sale at

Photo published by permission of Greenbelt Festival