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Date: 22 July, 2011
Surefish music columnist George Luke looks forward to the acts performing at Greenbelt over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The August Bank Holiday weekend is nearly upon us. I can't predict that we'll have perfect weather all throughout it (nobody in their right mind would do that; we are living in Britain, after all).
But one thing I can safely predict is that the music line-up for this year's Greenbelt Festival will blow your socks off.
A slew of old favourites from previous Greenbelts can be found on the Mainstage throughout the weekend: people such as Billy Bragg, Duke Special, Ron Sexsmith, Soweto Kinch and Iain Archer.
Elsewhere you'll find other acts Greenbelters have come to know and love over the years, such as singer-songwriters Miriam Jones, Beth Rowley and Rob Halligan (all playing in the Performance Cafe), 'ska worship' crew Sounds of Salvation and acoustic hip-hoppers the Austin Francis Connection (both in the Underground).
But the first-timers are well worth catching too – especially the legend who'll be closing the festival on Monday night.
It's easy to throw words like “legend ” about, but there's not much more you can use to describe Mavis Staples.
Whether on her own or with her siblings and late father in the Staple Singers, Mavis' powerful voice has thrilled soul and gospel fans for decades. Her Mainstage appearance is one of the most highly anticipated gigs at this year's Greenbelt.
Another highly anticipated act making their Greenbelt debut this year is Gungor (formerly the Michael Gungor Band), whose song “God is Not a White Man ” has become something of a Youtube hit.
They play the Big Top on the Saturday, with band member Lisa Gungor (Michael's wife) also be playing a solo gig in the Performance Cafe on the same day.
Also making his Greenbelt debut this year is guitar virtuoso Jason Carter, who brings his harp guitar and his eclectic fusion sound to the Performance Cafe on the Friday night.
2011 has been quite a busy year so far for Philippa Hanna. It started with an appearance on Songs of Praise, followed by a nationwide tour and the release of her new mini-album Out Of The Blue.
She also spent part of last year in Hong Kong, working as a part of the development team for Blush (Asia's premier girl group). Fans describe Philippa's music as “happy. ” So if it's music to make you smile that you're looking for, you might want to visit the Underground on Monday while she's playing there.
And if you're still in a dancing mood, pop in to the Big Top where top DJ Andy Hunter will be spinning some tunes.
This year's now customary farewell gig by a popular Christian act is by Coventry rockers [dweeb], who released their final single earlier in the year.
Of course, a farewell gig doesn't always mean you'll never see the artists involved ever again – and to prove that, Chip K (whose thebandwithnoname played a farewell gig at last year's festival) is back as a solo act, playing in the Underground on the Sunday.
See you at Cheltenham Racecourse...
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