Greenbelt Festival celebrates Justice, Tolerance and Community
Greenbelt festival of arts, music and spoken word have announced the first batch of artists, speakers and performers for the 2012 event.
Mercury Music Prize winner Speech Debelle; audience favourite Bruce Cockburn; live folk sensation Bellowhead and OperaUpClose are among the first clutch of acts to be confirmed for 2012.
This year, Greenbelt will offer festival goers a triumphant celebration of the arts, music, justice, tolerance and community. Critically acclaimed South London artist, Speech Debelle will bring her soulful and raw blend of poetic and powerful rhymes to the Greenbelt mainstage.
Canadian-born Bruce Cockburn brings his ever-evolving folk brilliance, Cockburn is known for his virtuoso guitar playing and powerful political lyrics including hits “If I Had A Rocket Launch” plus “Wondering Where The Lions Are”. Joining Cockburn, fellow folk sensation Seth Lakeman will bring his bow-shedding violin riffs and driving tenor guitar rhythms. Bellowhead will perform for the first time at Greenbelt with their “full throttle…rare and exhilarating” live showcase, rousing crowds to their feet in what is set to be a sensational performance.
Further additions to the line-up include The Imagined Village plus folk revival band Megson with their infectious sounds and heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving rhythmic guitars. Thomas Traux will stun festival goers by using his bespoke inventions of strange self-made instruments in a surprising spectacle. Last but by no means least for the festivals music stage, Brooklyn-based, multi-instrumentalist and former member of American indie rock band The Hold Steady, Franz Nicolay, who is famed for combining the accordion and piano in unique way, will be making his debut at Greenbelt in 2012.
Greenbelt has also today announced the first of its speaker programme. Former University lecturer Dr. Andrew Tate joins the festival to discuss his reflective interest in postmodern fiction, theory and spirituality, Professor Mary Grey will offer insight into her vast knowledge of Feminist Liberation Theology and Spiritualities, Editor of New Humanist and former music journalist Caspar Melville will also be part of the 2012 offering.
Esteemed lecturer in philosophy and author of several books on the modern world, Giles Fraser will speak at Greenbelt and after his recent, highly publicised departure from St Paul’s in October 2011, Fraser is an exciting addition to the speaker programme. Nationally acclaimed magician and author Mark Townsend will be part of the 2012 bill using his magic and mind-reading to unlock people’s inner wonder. This astonishing, slightly unsettling but life-affirming act is not to be missed.
The articulate, charismatic...and sophisticated operator that is Rose Hudson Wilkin, who is tipped as the leading contender to become Church of England's first female bishop joins Greenbelt's speaker programme. Having fought for equal rights throughout her life, Wilkin's talk will be both engaging and thoughtful revealing what it's really like to live a double life in a parish where gang members roam, contrasted to her time spent as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Ruth Gledhill will also speak and as a prestigious and longstanding correspondent for The Times, her appearance at Greenbelt will be both informative and tantalising.
Reverend Richard Coles, broadcaster, writer and priest, is best known for being one half of 1980s band The Communards who enjoyed three UK Top Ten hits including 'Don't Leave Me This Way' and 'Never Can Say Goodbye'. Coles’ multi-talented reputation meant he was an obvious addition to Greenbelt’s diverse offering. Radical partner of The Simple Way, Shane Claiborne will also engage audiences with his fascinating experiences ranging from spending ten weeks alongside Mother Theresa in Calcutta to his recent three weeks spent in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team. Plus BBC Radio 2 Presenter Simon Mayo will be speaking about his debut children's book Itch, a fantastic action-packed thriller. A sure hits with the kids at Greenbelt this year.
Greenbelt also brings OperaUpClose, the boutique opera company who will be bringing their experimental but hugely popular sell-out production of La Bohème to the festival. OperaUpClosebring a unique approach to their discipline that firmly embraces the ethos of Greenbelt.
Kevin Tomlinson’s Kepow Theatre returns with a show-stopping performance of improvisation and comedic hilarity. Having received five star reviews at Edinburgh Festival this year followed by a sell out tour, this is one show not to be missed, while fellow award-winner Tayo Aluko will also perform in the play "Call Mr Robeson" accompanied by an orchestra propelling his unusual baritone voice across the fields.
“We’re thrilled to announce the first names to Greenbelt’s 2012 Programme. With such diverse acts from the likes of Speech Debelle, OperaUpClose and Bellowhead, this year’s offering really does set Greenbelt aside from others on the festival calendar. This year we’ve developed the line-up to offer credible acts from around the world showcasing the best in the arts, music, visual and performing arts, comedy, talks and discussion. We look forward to seeing you in the field.”
Paul Northup, Festival Director.
Tickets are now available with prices are fixed until 30th April 2012 - adult weekend tickets are £99.00; adult concession weekend tickets are £68.00; under 18 weekend tickets (5 to 17 years) are £55.00; family weekend tickets (2 Adults, 2 Under 18s) are £259.00; single parent family weekend tickets (1 Adult, 2 Under 18s) are £165.00 and infants (0-4 years) go for free.
Greenbelt 2012 - Saving Paradise - takes place 24th-27th August on Cheltenham Racecourse.