Monday, 29 August 2011

Greenbelt (Well, some of it...)

For some reason, it always rains when
Martyn Joseph performs!
So, I went to Greenbelt, but came back early. There were a few reasons for this, but mostly it’s because I couldn’t deal with camping!

I got to see/hear a number of things though in the two days I was there, so thought I’d share a little about them.

Brian McLaren – On Friday evening I heard his talk about the importance of a fair tax system. Sounds incredibly dull, right? Well, it wasn’t. Through some illuminating stories, McLaren showed that, for a country to get out of poverty and remain so, a fair tax system must be in place so that a proper justice system can be maintained, so that necessary infrastructure can be created, so that education can be provided etc etc.

It made me think that, next time it comes to voting, I will take a good, long hard look at tax policy, and what the parties propose to do with the money, so that maybe my tax ‘dollar’ will be put to be better use in the world.

Martyn Joseph – This artist is my favourite of all. And his set on Friday night showed why. Playing with a small backing band, for the first time I’ve seen, he performed a series of songs from his latest album, and older ones, interspersed with insights into the things that really matter in this life.

It was, by his own admission, a mellower Martyn than perhaps seen in previous appearances – he made reference to the ‘trouble’ he got into last time he performed on Greenbelt’s main stage. But he had lost none of his fervour for fairness, justice and a better world, expressed through poignant and apt songs. Brilliant.

Rob Bell – I think most of this man’s work is excellent, and his talk on Saturday morning about how the only thing we have to be is ourselves, was no exception. We spend so much time trying to be like someone else, dismayed that we can’t do this, or we can’t do that, that we sometimes lose sight of the fact we were created to be no-one but who we are. So we should stop striving to be like someone else, and just focus on being more like ourselves. Something like that anyway.

Flight Brigade – I was really looking forward to seeing these guys live, and I’m glad I stuck around to hear them. Their song, ‘A girl who loves her smoke and wine’ is rapidly climbing my chart of ‘all time favourite songs’.

And that’s about it. I’m disappointed to have missed some other talks I really wanted to go to but, armed with my MP3 player, I will catch up when they’re available for download! And, in spite of the camping, I did have a good time, meeting some cool people – notably comedian Andy Kind – and just generally soaking up the atmosphere at this little festival that always feels a little bit like a homecoming for me.

With its theme this year of ‘Dreams of Home’, this seems an appropriate feeling to have, even for just my short stay.

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