Ah, Green Man. A dreamy festival bursting with beguiling folk and indie music, where the views of Table Mountain (original Welsh version) compete for attention with the bands on the main stage; where the range of craft beers is so extensive they required a menu the length of a short novel; where there’s more vegan food than you could shake a tofu skewer at; and which this year was dedicated to the National Health Service (NHS), whose founder, Nye Bevan, grew up and developed his twin passions for social justice, song and art in nearby Tredegar.
Every Valley, Public Service Broadcasting’s third album, is a cleverly crafted concept album about the rise and fall of Welsh coal mining. That is going to sound quite niche, but trust me, Every Valley is worth forty-five minutes of any music-lover’s time. Moreover, not least because like it says on the tin, the band take inspiration for their songs from public service broadcasting, the album is even better seen performed live. Markontour had this pleasure in Leicester last week and was completely riveted by the combination of film and music.
Ah – the last festival of the season, for markontour at least, and there couldn’t be a better conclusion than Festival No.6. This year’s festival was slimmed down a little and was all the better for it. The Port Meirion setting is so exquisite – Clough William Ellis’ faux Italian village, nestled between the mountains of Snowdonia and the Irish sea – it needs a little space to be enjoyed properly. Some of my favourite moments this year included sunrise over the beach as the estuary tide powered in, wandering around the woods trying to find the Ghost Gardens, and finishing the festival on a moon-lit Stone Boat. You don’t get so many of those moments with 20,000 people knocking around.
Despite having no aptitude for science, I have been fascinated by space travel and the stars since I was a teenager. So I had to borrow a friend’s son for an excuse to visit the Science Museum’s nostalgic tribute to the Soviet space programme – Cosmonauts.
‘The Race for Space’ is a craker of a concept album, taking the listener through twelve years in the history of human space exploration from the first beeps of Sputnik to the Apollo 11 Moon landing.