LONDON -- The thirty-second annual Greenbelt Festival commenced yesterday at Cheltenham racecourse with over twenty thousand people gathering together for the four-day event.
The festival, running from Aug. 26 to Aug. 29, will bring together a unique and diverse mix of the spiritual, musical, political and artistic. This year the festival celebrates with headlining sets from Radio 1s Giles Peterson, Soul diva Carleen Anderson, MOBO winner Estelle, singer-songwriter Ella Guru, the musical cross-breeding Jazz Jamaica, and following on from their appearances at Cambridge folk festival and Live8, Greenbelt will welcome The Proclaimers.
Performance highlights include long-time festival comedian and Radio 4 favorite Milton Jones, performance poet Jude Simpson and the Reduced Shakespeare Company.
Talk highlights include former nun Karen Armstrong on fundamentalism, Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith on Guantanamo and the death row reprieves, advice on ethical living from Leo Hickman, and ex-KLF front man and million-pound burning Bill Drummond on how to be an artist.
As the Make Poverty History campaign shifts to the United Nations Development Goals and WTO meetings this September and December, Greenbelt will also be having its say with a campaign day on Bank Holiday Monday in association with Christian Aid.
With more than one in four on people on site expected to be under 18, the festival provides a dedicated program and area for both children and young people.
With a full range of worship events, visual arts and literary events, this years festival has been touted by organizers as being one of the busiest ever.
Celebrating the Year of the Volunteer, one in ten of those attending the festival will be acting as volunteers with up to 2,000 people contributing to the running of the festival.