Well the weather was certainly…er…interesting at Greenbelt this year. I’ve been to some muddy Greenbelts since the first time I went in 1984, but this is close to the muddiest. 1986 was pretty shocking too!

Mrs L and I arrived on Friday evening and met up with our friends, before kicking off the weekend’s music with a Performance Cafe set from Paul Bell.  I had previously only known Paul through Twitter so it was great to finally see him play and meet up with him in person.  I really enjoyed his set, he’s a great guitar player and his set ranged from the deeply spiritual to the downright comic. My favourite was the one about the biscuits, which you can find on the “Name In Lights” album.

Bruce Cockburn, one of my favourite songwriters was playing the mainstage on Friday night but of course I managed to miss that set!  He was due to play again on the Saturday night in the Big Top and I was planning to go to that but the weather fairies interfered with that plan so I didn’t see him at all this year.

We haven’t camped at Greenbelt since it moved to Cheltenham so at the end of the evening we departed for a nearby Travelodge and abandoned the rest of our friends to their fate. Never before has the wisdom of this decision been so apparent. Saturday featured a wonderful set from our old Greenbelt friend Rain. Quite a lot of Rain. The Rain played an exciting and diverse live set that lasted the whole day and was received with varying degrees of enthusiasm from a captive audience.  Many of Rain’s greatest hits were included in the set, from Drizzle to Heavy Rain and Torrential Downpour, the set also included guest spots from Thunder, Lightning and Flooding.  Mud turned up too and decided to stay for the weekend.

I had planned quite a full day on Saturday but didn’t make it to many of these pre-planned events.  We stood up to our ankles in mud in a queue for an hour to see Frank Skinner in the Big Top, but the tent was full to capacity before we got anywhere near and as stated earlier I missed the Cockburn set.  I did get to see Lobelia play an acoustic set in the G Music store and have a chat with her and hubby Steve Lawson a couple of times over the weekend.  Greenbelt is always a great time to catch up with old friends like this, and this year I also managed to meet a few online friends and upgrade them to real people.

One of these was Andrew Howie, a guitarist and songwriter who performs under the name Calamateur. I’ve admired his music for a couple of years now and it was lovely to catch his Performance Cafe set.  One of my favourite songs from his catalogue is his cover of Steve Taylor’s “Jesus Is For Losers” and at Greenbelt Andrew got to play it whilst Steve himself was in the audience.  I went to say hello after the set and as we were talking Steve Taylor came up to express his appreciation of Andrew’s version of the song.

On Sunday our band, the Tim Crahart Blues Band were playing two sets.  We had taken a stock of our CDs to the G Music store and we played there at 1.00pm.  We weren’t able to use a drumkit for either of the sets so we gave Harvey an acoustic guitar and a stomp box and hoped for the best.  The short set in the music store went down really well and we sold and signed a few CDs there.  Later on that evening we were playing the Performance Cafe.  The slot was at 8.00pm and we played immediately before Hope And Social. H&S had played the mainstage in the afternoon and they are an enormously popular band, this worked out well for us as most of their crowd came along ealry to get a good seat so we played to a packed out tent.

This was my tenth appearance at Greenbelt, I counted them carefully beforehand, although I doubt wether many of you saw any of them previously.  Our set was received brilliantly and we had a really great time.  Afterwards we went back to the G Music store to sign some CDs, but when we got there we found they had sold out of the new one, “Isaiah 61 Revisited”. Fortunately we had more stocks with us so we replenished the supply and it was great to meet some appreciative music fans and talk blues with them.

We came home quite early on Monday so this year I didn’t get to see any of the Monday stuff. In all my years of going to Greenbelt I think this was the first time that I didn’t really see anything on the MainStage, all I caught there was the Sunday morning service and about half of the Hope And Social Set.

Had a great time as always, despite the weather. Looking forward to next year already.

Here are a few music recommendations from the festival, please check them out and if you can please buy a CD or download from some of these artists, they deserve it.

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