A letter to the First Minister from a concerned resident is shared with the council with questions about the economic benefit.
Dear First Minister
Green Man Festival 2022: Up a Garden Path?
Living in the Usk Valley for the last 35 years, I have always been impressed with the Green Man Festival that has been been held on the Glanusk Estate for many of those years. There can be no doubt that, although regarded as a ‘bijou’ festival, it is well-organised and greatly enjoyed by those who attend. According to a pronouncement by your government: “… is a major employer in mid-Wales making a significant contribution to the local economy”. It is therefore with great disappointment that I feel I must bring to your attention just how few local caterers appeared on the Festival 2022 site. In addition to that, the percentage of performing acts that come from Wales is extraordinarly low. More bands come by international air travel than come from Wales. It seems that our Government has gone up a garden path, partly through self-delusion.
My evidence for the number of caterers that serviced the Green Man Festival 2022 has been obtained from an analysis of the listing in a post-event questionnaire sent to attendees by the Festival organisers. It is attached as Annex A. Only 13 come from Wales.
My evidence for the home country of performing acts, bands, singers, musicians, authors, comedians, commentators etc results from a trawl through the Green Man Festival 2022 website. The list is attached at Annex B. Of the 153 acts listed, only 18 (11.7%) are listed as coming from Wales. These are outnumbered by the 22 acts from the United States. There is a huge preponderance of acts from England, 82 (53.6%). Strangely, as well as the 22 US acts there are 7 others that probably travelled intercontinently by air to this ‘Green’ Festival. No mention has been made by the Festival organisers of carbon offsets for decarbonisation in respect of intercontinental air travel. Our Minister for Climate Change is not aware of any (Email exchange TO/JJ/01760/22).
The evidence for the companies servicing the 2022 Festival was obtained by observation on the Glanusk site and is listed at Annex C, attached. With the exception of the taxi service all the companies are based outside Wales.
The evidence of the Annexes is disturbing. The Festival 2022 appears to have only paid lip service to employing Welsh performers and enterprises although the owner has received regular transfusions of cash from Welsh taxpayers.. Our Minister for the Economy, in pandering to the owner of the Festival, has undertaken to secure a permanent home for it in Wales at Gilestone Farm in a arrangement that seems a ‘sweetheart’ deal. The threat to which he was responding was that the Festival would decamp to elsewhere. Judging by the evidence of the Annexes, it would not be such a terrible blow for the Welsh economy.
Please give me your assurance that the operations of the Green Man Festival will receive a forensic scrutiny and its exact benefits to the Welsh economy will be ascertained by your officials independently of Green Man Festival’s claims. Any future plans to aid the owner of the Festival in cash or kind must be seen in the light of the truth that emerges. Our Government must not continue up the garden path.