New names. Greenbelt Festival - including House Gospel Choir, Testament, Lady Unchained and more!

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

Don’t miss the awesome House Gospel Choir, new soul and funk musical from rapper, composer and playwright Testament,West African kora-playing legend Seckou Keita, the inspirational criminal justice activist, Lady Unchained, the musical genius of Wilderthorn, & parkrun creator and activist, Paul Sinton HewittGreenbelt Festival announces SIX new artists and activists… Thursday 22 – Sunday 25 August 2024 Boughton House l Kettering

SIX NEW NAMES MEANS MORE REASONS TO GET YOUR GREENBELT TICKETS NOW

Greenbelt Festival’s newly announced names include; the utterly uplifting, soul-soaring sounds of the brilliant House Gospel Choir; a new soul and funk musical, Chisholm for President from rapper, composer and playwright Testament; legend of West African music and one of the greatest players of the West African kora, Seckou Keita; the inspirational criminal justice activist Lady Unchained who created the platform, Unchained Poetry, for artists with experience of the criminal justice system; the genius of Wilderthorn, known for its secret gigs in disused and abandoned spaces it turns forgotten places of history and atmosphere into wild and magical locations; and parkrun creator and activist, Paul Sinton Hewitt.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What other festival offers such a diverse, heady and eclectic mix of musicians, artists, performers and activists? You can get your tickets here.

House of Gospel ChoirHouse of Gospel Choir
House of Gospel Choir

ALREADY CONFIRMED… at this year’s festival are; headliner and Grammy-winner Corinne Bailey Rae, the epic 14-strong big band infusing jazz with UK garage, Dutty Moonshine Big Band; celebrated beat poet Antony Szmierek; award-winning spoken word artist & writer, Jaspreet Kaur; chaos-bringing, grime, punk rock, and hip hop band, Bob Vylan; writer, columnist and hip-hop recording artist, Darren McGarvey; indie folk-pop band Stornoway; and triple MOBO Award-winning artist, rapper, author, broadcaster and social justice activist, Guvna B, to name but a few! It really is shaping up to be this summer’s dream ticket!

INCOMING! NEW NAMES LOWDOWN…

MUSIC - BRINGING THE JOY!Kicking off this week’s new names is the House of Gospel Choir. They made their Greenbelt debut in 2022, and if you saw them back then you’ll know why Greenbelt is more than delighted to be welcoming them back. If you’ve never seen them before, this is one not to miss.

Bringing their exhilarating, joyous gospel sound to the main stage, House of Gospel Choir magically fuse some of the biggest house, gospel and garage tunes into an empowering, inclusive, uplifting set full of serotonin highs. The art of finding the truth in deep house gospel remixes and garage classics is something that House Gospel Choir simply do better than anyone else.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
TestamentTestament
Testament

House Gospel Choir is a reminder that so much foundational dance music originally sampled gospel and worship music. Their founder Natalie Maddix says their mission is “to remind people that joy is still required….and singing is a good way to feel joyful”. If you’ve never seen them before, then you’re in for a treat. This is one not to miss.

House of Gospel Choir

MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS - RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT - THE NEW SOUL & FUNK MUSICAL TO DEBUT AT GREENBELTThe phenomenal rapper, composer and playwright Testament is bringing his new musical to Greenbelt. Testament cites Greenbelt as his favourite festival and dropped a call to ask if he could bring his new musical to the festival this summer. Greenbelt obviously said, ‘Yes!’.

Chisholm for President really is a must-see show! Testament is only taking it to two other festivals this year, so make sure you don’t miss your chance to see it!

Lady UnchainedLady Unchained
Lady Unchained

Chisholm for President tells the story of the life and work of civil rights pioneer Shirley Chisholm - the first black woman to be elected to Congress in the US - who went on to make an against-all-odds bid to run for President in 1972.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Her story is largely unknown here in the UK, although a new Netflix film might change that. But at a time when our belief in politics and the democratic process feels shaky, and as we heard towards a General and Presidential election later this year, her life and witness has so much to teach and inspire us.

With music and lyrics by Testament and a story from award-winning playwright Zodwa Nyoni, the musical will feature live performance inspired by the cream of late 60s/early 70s funk and soul: Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, Gil Scott-Heron, Minnie Ripperton and Sly & The Family Stone.

Bring it all to life will be a live band featuring incredible soul singer Rachel Modest (The Voice UK, 2022) and British funk legends The Haggis Horns. Greenbelt is honoured to be staging Chisholm for President.

Seckou KeitaSeckou Keita
Seckou Keita

Chisholm for President

MUSIC - FROM KEITA TO KETTERINGNext up is West African music legend, the incomparable Seckou Keita and the Homeland Band. Seckou Keita moved to the UK in 1999, and brought with him his kora and one small suitcase. Aged just 21, he spoke hardly any English and (until then) had only left his native Senegal twice before. Seckou is considered to be one of the greatest kora players on the planet, and when he plays this gorgeous double-necked harp-like instrument, he makes its 44 strings truly sing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Since arriving in this country he has become an integral part of the UK music scene, winning Radio 2’s Folk Musician of the Year and countless other awards. Seckou has collaborated with an incredible range of musicians and songwriters all around the world – including Paul Weller and Damon Albarn. Look out for Seckou and his 8-piece Homeland Band as they bring the Senegalese sunshine to the fields of Boughton this summer.

Seckou Keita

ACTIVISM & CRIMINAL JUSTICE - THROWING OFF THE CHAINSCriminal justice activist Lady Unchained has one of the most amazing life stories. Sentenced to prison aged just 21, she describes her life “ending and beginning” with her sentence. Today, she is a poet, performer, advocate, campaigner, broadcaster and writer.

She discovered who she really was (which included her poetry) when she was inside. Inspired by her mission to prove there is life after prison, she founded ‘Unchained Poetry’, a platform for artists with experience of the criminal justice system.

Now she actively campaigns with prisons and prisoners to build creativity and confidence, to reawaken the possibility of life after prison for those behind bars, and help them overcome their ‘ex-offender’ label. Lady Unchained is going to perform her poetry and also take part in a high-profile panel on the state of the criminal justice system here in the UK. What an inspiration!

Lady Unchained

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

MUSIC & WORSHIP - EMBRACE YOUR INNER WILDGreenbelt is welcoming back the wonderful Wilderthorn. Known for secret gigs in disused and abandoned spaces, Wilderthorn turns forgotten places of history and atmosphere into wild and magical locations. Be sure to seek Wilderthorn out this summer and your soul will thank you for it.

Wilderthorn serves up beautiful, brooding electronica with astonishingly haunting vocals - think Sigur Ros meets English folk. Wilderthorn is Jon Bilborough and he has shared the stage with the likes of St Vincent, Ben Howard, Foy Vance and This Is The Kit. Jon will be joined by his brother, drummer, producer and sound therapist Sekrit.

Wilderthorn

IDEAS - RUN FREEEver wondered how the global phenomena that is parkrun came to be? Well, it all started 20 years ago when Paul Sinton Hewitt popped down to his local park one Saturday morning in 2004 with a few friends and ran an informal 5k. The format of a free, weekly timed 5k run quickly gathered speed and today there are parkruns in over 1,500 locations around the world, including over 700 in the UK.

Greenbelt has hosted its own 5k Greenbelt run for the past few years, and is delighted to announce that Paul will be the official starter for this year’s run!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Paul will also be in conversation with Greenbelter and parkrun devotee Jenny Baker about what it’s been like to grow one of the world’s largest mass participation events. With its global reach, volunteer ethos and community-building benefits, there are obvious parallels with faith communities. Jenny and Paul will be talking about the challenges of heading up a global phenomenon at a local, volunteer level, and his mission to make the world a happier, healthier place.

Paul Sinton Hewitt

BE PART OF THE DREAM TEAMFor the last month Greenbelt Festival has been announcing new names each week including; activist theatre, world-class circus that will take your breath away, singers who want to change the world, activists who explore and make change, as well as poets, painters, performers and prophets. It’s an amazingly heady eclectic mix. Check out the festival’s already-announced names here.

Greenbelt wants to encourage festival-goers to be bold, embrace creativity, and find inspiration. It’s time to Dream On, be imaginative and find courage. Be the change and create the world you want to live in.

The festival’s creative director, Paul Northup comments, ‘“Dream On” is often seen as a throwaway phrase, something used to play down hope and possibility. But we want to invite you to reimagine it. Instead of the “yeah, right…dream on” like that’s-never-going-to-happen, we want to own it as an imperative, a call to action, as it were.’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Each year Greenbelt strives to deliver a festival rich in diversity. Since its inception 50 years ago, its ethos has always been to create a space that is inclusive and representative. Great artistry, courageous activism and open-hearted belief has always been at the heart of the festival’s programming. A true trailblazer amongst UK’s festivals, Greenbelt believes in creating a diverse, intentional, all-inclusive line-up.

HOW DO I GET A TICKET?

Greenbelt Festival’s pay-what-you-can ticketing model is back

Greenbelt Festival is rolling out its radical and inclusive pay-what-you-can ticketing pricing structure for a second year, where those who can pay – do – and those who can’t – have the opportunity to pay what they can. Even better, you can spread the cost with Greenbelt’s monthly installment plan, interest-free, up to July 2024.

Tier one adult weekend tickets start from just £160 for those who choose the Supported price, £202 for the festival’s Standard ticket, and then up to £244 for the pay-it-forward Supporter ticket. Tier one tickets are available until the end of April.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

FESTIVAL CREDENTIALSThe first Greenbelt Festival took place in 1974 on a Suffolk farm with the words ‘If you’ve got a field, you’ve got a festival’. The Sun Newspaper reviewed the first one as ‘The Nice People’s Pop Festival’, but it was more subversive than it appeared.

Over the years Greenbelt has welcomed headline acts such as Pussy Riot, Sinead O’Connor, Kae Tempest, Estelle, Laura Mvula, Magic Numbers, Ezra Furman, and Mavis Staples to name but a few! It has seen early performances by future global artists such as Ed Sheeren, Corinne Bailey Rae, as well as the mighty U2 who played Greenbelt in 1981 when they had only released their first album.

FESTIVAL DATE & VENUEThursday 22 – Sunday 25 August 2024 l Boughton House l KetteringTICKET INFORMATIONYou can buy tickets and find our more about Greenbelt’s ticketing structure here