Greenbelt '06 preview
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Date: 01 August, 2006


'It's a Christian festival, of course, but both of those words have equal weight.'

It's the biggest Christian arts and music festival in the UK, and it takes place in a few weeks' time. Andrew Chapman presents a quick preview of some of this year's festival highlights.

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How does one describe Greenbelt?

It's a Christian festival, of course, but both of those words have equal weight - there's plenty for Christians but also a great spirit of openness - so plenty for anyone who likes a big party, enjoys music, art, books, comedy and entertainment of every kind, regardless of your age, creed or colour.

This is its 33rd year and once again it's at Cheltenham Racecourse over the Bank Holiday weekend of 25 to 28 August.

You can find a full line-up at the Greenbelt website, of course, but here's your handy Surefish guide to some of the headliners.

You can find more about the music line-up here at Surefish, too.

Daniel Bedingfield needs little introduction: he's already had three UK number one chart hits.

Michael Franti and Spearhead mix rock, reggae, afrobeat and funk while taking on serious global issues.

Maria McKee has given country music a new raw edge for the last 20 years, and has worked with luminaries such as Bob Dylan and Tom Petty.

The inimitable Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain has been the surprise hit of many a festival over the last couple of years - and they're as happy with the Buzzcocks as with George Formby Talks.

Peace activist Norman Kember hit the headlines as a hostage in Iraq; he'll be speaking about his experiences at Greenbelt.

Keiko Holmes OBE works in the field of reconciliation ministry, helping to heal the wounds opened by the Second World War in Japan.

Rudo Kwaramba is a director of World Vision UK and a leading human rights campaigner.

Christopher Booker was one of the founders of Private Eye and is now a renowned author and newspaper columnist Literature & Media.

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion will be reading from his recent work.

Writer and feminist theologian Sara Maitland is currently exploring mysticism, madness and silence.

Michael Wakelin and Mark Dowd will talk about making religious programmes for BBC television and the challenges they've faced - on the BBC theme, you can also listen to the festival's dedicated Greenbelt FM radio station.

Arts & Comedy - award-winning magicians Barry and Stuart bring comedy and a hint of darkness together.

Performance poet Jude Simpson has uniquely been compared to both Eminem and Joyce Grenfell.

Union Dance will be performing their stunning movement and sound piece Sense of Rapport.

Cardboard Citizens is Britain's only homeless people's professional theatre company.

And there's more - it's not all pop music, readers: there's a lively programme of classical music, all sorts of fun will be going on in the children's festival, teenagers can try for a chance to make their own film, and of course there are opportunities for worship of every kind.

Surefish will be again sponsoring The Tank internet cafe venue, where everyone will be encouraged to sign up for its new broadband services, and on the Sunday in the Performance Cafe, where Christian Aid is based this year, Surefish Editor Andy Jackson will once again run the alcohol-free pub quiz.

Surefish will also be reporting from the event so if you can't go, you'll at least get a flavour of it.

Tickets for the festival are selling fast and can be purchased at or by calling the ticket line on 020 7374 2760

Find more about the music line-up

Greenbelt index