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Date: 22 August, 2012
George Luke looks forward to this weekend's Greenbelt Festival, which takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Next year, Greenbelt celebrates its 40th birthday. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; we’ve still got this year’s festival to look forward to – and what a lineup it has!
Nitin Sawhney makes his Mainstage debut on Sunday night, rounding up an eclectic lineup that also features former Mercury-winning rapper Speech Debelle and the Proclaimers, back for their third Greenbelt appearance.
Also making welcome returns to the Mainstage are Charlie Simpson (who last played here in 2008 with Fightstar) and Seth Lakeman (on a Monday night lineup that also features fellow folkies Bellowhead, The Imagined Village and spoof folksters Folk On).
The last time Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn played Greenbelt, we were still looking forward to the Millennium.
It's great to have him back after such a long time – and he's as iconoclastic as ever on his latest album, Small Source of Comfort.
The lineups on the other stages are just as strong. Award-winning banjo player Abigail Washburn plays the Performance Cafe on Monday, and on the same day, 'emergent eklectic' Bobby Bovell plays both the Canopy Stage and the Performance Cafe.
Look out too for Luke Sital-Singh, who's been getting a lot of love on Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music of late, and for Listener, whose unique 'talk music' was such a big hit last year.
The Asian fusion band Aradhna are back, following the release of their brilliant new album Namaste Sate. Another popular artist making a long-overdue return visit is singer Steve Taylor.
But this time he's coming with his filmmaker's hat on, for a screening of his adaptation of Donald Miller's popular book Blue Like Jazz.
Of course, it’s not just the established names that make Greenbelt what it is. It’s always been a great place for spotting fresh talent on its way up (Ed Sheeran and Corinne Bailey-Rae being just two of the stars who played Greenbelt before going on to become household names).
This year, there’s a new venue, the Roots Stage, which Greenbelt's organisers describe as “an open-mic, sign-up-and-play venue where the content can be anything.” Sounds intriguing; who knows what treasures you might discover there?
This being the music page, I wouldn’t normally be plugging the talks programme. But I must give a special mention to fellow Surefish correspondent Giles Fraser, who is one of the weekend’s guest speakers.
The talks line-up also features Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, Tom Wright and comedians Robin Ince and Frank Skinner.
And did I mention that I'll be speaking too? Just a short one...