GREAT MEMORIES FROM
GREENBELT 1989 - a few 'specials'
Including a free A-to-Z illustrated guide to Greenbelt and a ‘flexidisc’, 1989’s programme informed festival-goers that work on The Greenhouse was now complete, but not yet paid for. It also carried a report on all the events that had been staged at The Greenhouse – where the Greenbelt staff were now based – throughout the preceding year.
Linda Cooke and her ‘Style Council’ worked their magic once again on the tent entrances and site vibing and the next two titles in the Greenbelt files series – Dance on Injustice, a radical songbook collective from Garth Hewitt, and Wisdom and the Marketplace by John Peck – and Stewart Henderson’s poetry collection, Giant’s Scrapbook, were all launched.
The Big Top saw its first year of ‘themed’ music programming, with the ‘metal afternoon’ including One Bad Pig and Seventh Angel, and the outlandish and raucous Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus. But the balance was shifting, with 1989 marking the arrival of a new acoustic music venue called The River, featuring Gary Hall and the Stormkeepers, Maggi Dawn, Sublime, The Woebegones, Rodney Cordner and Jean Pierre Rudolph, and the return of Peter Case. And out on the mainstage Bruce Cockburn returned, complete with a band.
Meanwhile, The Very Stinking Late Show was described in the programme as “mental and manic” (PC lawsuits followed). And Pete Williams – back from a year touring with Frank Sinatra among others – worked with Pip to create ‘Trouser Television’.
Speakers included a first festival visit from Australian Dave Andrews,
while among the
Mainstage highlights were Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Labi Siffre, Steve Taylor’s new band, Chagall Guevara, and a big arena debut from 80s favourites Fat ‘n’ Frantic. Out on The Fringe, meanwhile, a youthful Eden Burning made their Greenbelt debut.
The classical programme saw the Southern Symphony orchestra and the English Chorale team up to perform Smetana’s Ultava and Dvorak’s Te Deum, while in the Fine Arts programme there was a focus on sculpture.
And so the decade drew to a close.
The yuppy excesses of Thatcher’s Britain were showing signs of waning. Countless big hair cuts, myriad theatre companies, one hurricane, several bearded Americans, and many marginalised voices later, Greenbelt was ten years older, ten years wiser and ten years deeper in debt (to God that is, not the bank).
Sweet, soothing honey
When Sweet Honey in the Rock took to the mainstage they told the audience to “sit down and be quiet.” They then proceeded to blow us all away with their vocal harmonies. Sweet honeys indeed.
Phil, one of the Rolling Mag team in the late 80s remembers getting 17 people into one wooden toilet cubicle. And, as the last person emerged from the loo, the plywood floor gave way sending him slipping into the pit up to his waist.
Phil also remembers getting another of the team to change his trousers behind a blanket on the stage as part of the Rolling Mag unaware that a hole had been cut in said blanket to reveal his bum. So who said The Moonies were never at Greenbelt?Book your ticket before midnight tonight to get 20% off