Greenbelt is my happy place.
It is an explosive celebration of humanity; a vibrant patchwork bursting at the seams with colour, creativity and culture.
Where else do silent meditation, soaring harmonies, belly laughs, gravity-defying acrobatics, life drawing, ‘dad-dancing’, poetry, prayer, bhangra and breakdancing come together so naturally?
Where else would you find yourself encountering Jesus in a steamy beer tent amidst hundreds of people in wellies, merrily sloshing plastic pint glasses and belting out ‘Love Divine’ and ‘Lord of the Dance’?
Greenbelt is a refuge for the spiritually homeless; a safe place for for drifters and doubters; worriers and wanderers; the faithful and the faithless.
Greenbelt is defiantly rough at the edges. It is gritty and raw and wonderfully weird.
The myth of a sacred/secular divide is nowhere to be found in the bright fields of Greenbelt. The Divine light radiating through all things is recognised and revered, while the darkness in society, religion and the world is exposed yet not feared.
Greenbelt pierces the illusions and injustices of our world with cutting cultural critique and lament. It is a glorious gathering of people who care more about the things that matter most in our world than individual intellectual beliefs.
Greenbelt is honest and authentic to the core. The Spirit of Jesus pulses through its veins and there is no false piety to be found. It tackles the toughest questions head on, probing the darkest corners of reality in order to bring genuine hope to the most hopeless of situations.
As a ‘millennial’ Christian, pining after the days when faith was easy and exhausted by a constant skepticism and cynicism of anything too “churchy”, Greenbelt comes as a welcome relief. I find it impossible to be cynical at Greenbelt. It embraces all of my questions and doubts, holding them within a greater reality and making me feel comforted, at peace and most assuredly not alone.
Greenbelt rarely offers hyped-up worship experiences, which would inevitably leave me wondering how to recreate that same high every Sunday morning. Instead it allows me to breathe deeply, to sit under the silent stars and to reflect on the things that matter. I leave the grounds of Boughton House feeling like my brain has been rewired, my heart has expanded and my soul has been watered (and not just from over-exposure to rain).
Thanks for another stonking festival, Greenbelt – looking forward to next year.
Greenbelt Festival 2016: Silent Stars – Boughton House, Kettering.
Book tickets for Greenbelt Festival 2017: The Common Good