Last night, South Yorkshire powerhouse Self Esteem brought the emotion to Green Man Festival with a stirring headline set that showcased her magnificent songs in all their glory. Self Esteem, aka Rebecca Lucy Taylor, performed an electric set, including a powerful rendition of breakout hit, “I Do This All The Time”, the dancey “You Forever”, and fan favourite “The Best”.
The penultimate show of her extended and ever-changing tour in support of the Mercury Prize-nominated Prioritise Pleasure, the show was rapturously received. Taylor was clearly delighted to headline her first major festival, especially emotional to have climbed through the line up at Green Man over the years, following her previous appearances opening the Mountain stage and a breakout moment on the Far Out stage in 2021; she first appeared at Green Man festival as part of her previous band Slow Club, completing a truly full circle moment.
Before Self Esteem, the crowd at the picturesque Mountain Stage was treated to a series of musical delights. Mercury Prize nominated Lankum brought their immersive dark folk sound to the main stage, following an energetic performance from Obongjayar. Earlier in the day the critically-acclaimed Julie Byrne brought in the day, with a poetic set of songs that highlighted why she is one of 2023’s artists to watch, and acclaimed American composer Yasmin Williams soothed any fuzzy heads with her string playing, commenting: “WOW it was so lovely!! Really warmed my heart, thank you Green Man!”.
It was not just the Mountain Stage programming that delighted the crowd: over at the Far Out stage London slowcore band deathcrash opened the day, before US indie-rocker Snail Mail captivated the crowd with her sharp tracks “Pristine” and “Valentine”. Acclaimed London-based duo Bob Vylan played a raucous set to an energetic crowd, bringing their unique sound merging elements of grime, punk rock and hip hop to the Welsh Mountains. Australian party-starters Confidence Man truly brought the party with their after-dark set, where lead singers Janet Planet and Sugar Bones held the crowd in the palm of their hand with incredible dance moves, their dance-pop hits ringing out across the packed out tent.
The Walled Garden line-up was eclectic with US hiphop mavericks clipping. headlining the stage with their conceptual artistry and laser-focused, nimble raps. Sam Akpro opened the stage earlier in the day performing cuts from his second EP Arrival and beyond. One of the standouts of the day was from NYC group Water From Your Eyes whose coruscating, experimental electronica provided a factor of true shock and awe. The Rising stage also saw an opening set from local Bristol legend Big Jeff Johns and bandmate Zach Hawthorn, who made their festival debut as part of duo The Outlines.
Over in the Babbling Tongues area, legendary comedian Dylan Moran brought the laughs with his sharp wit and incisive humour, and there were talks from acclaimed writers including Michael Cragg who discussed his new book, Reach For The Stars: 1996-2006: Fame, fallout and pop’s final party, a chronicle of UK pop from across the decade.
The kids of Green Man were once again joyous, exploring the Egyptian themed area in the Little Folk area, before heading to Einstein’s Garden, where they were treated to scientific talks and installations.
Today, the festival closes with a headline set from First Aid Kit and the mythical Green Man burn following their performance. Other performances throughout the day include Young Fathers, Sudan Archives & more.
Photo credit: Parri Thomas