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Greenbelt festival looks to the next half-century

01 September 2023

Mark Kensett

Casting Off, a feminist circus act, performs during Greenbelt’s 50th-anniversary festival last Friday, in the grounds of Boughton House, Northamptonshire

Casting Off, a feminist circus act, performs during Greenbelt’s 50th-anniversary festival last Friday, in the grounds of Boughton House, Northamptonsh...

THE 50th anniversary Greenbelt, held in the grounds of Boughton House, Northamptonshire, over the Bank Holiday weekend, was attended by more than 11,500 people — its highest attendance since 2014, the organisers said.

Among the speakers at the festival were Gordon Brown; Tim Farron, a former leader of the Liberal Democrats; Dr Eve Poole, speaking on artificial intelligence; and the writer, liturgist, and poet Cole Arthur Riley (Features, 1 April 2022).

Musical highlights included the veteran Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn; the folk duo Indigo Girls; the American singer-songwriter Ezra Furman; and the British singer Laura Mvula.

Greenbelt’s creative director, Paul Northup, said after the festival: “We’re leaving, feeling energised, and looking forward to taking the next steps towards what we hope will be our next 50 years — of making a space where artistry, activism, and belief can thrive; of Greenbelt still being somewhere to believe in.”

Tickets were sold on the basis of “pay what you can afford”: approximately one fifth of the festivalgoers bought the most expensive “Supporter” tickets, which enabled the organisers to keep the cheapest “Supported” tickets priced at £150 (News, 18 August). This year’s model is being replicated for next year, except that ticket prices will rise as the festival approaches. Tickets for 2024 (22 to 25 August) are on sale now. greenbelt.org.uk

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