THE Welsh Government has paid £4.25 million for a farm in the Brecon Beacons National Park and confirmed its intention is to support the Green Man music festival. 

BBC Wales last week reported that the government had purchased Gilestone Farm, at Talybont-on-Usk, near Brecon, and the organisers of the festival would run the site.  

Neither the government or the festival bosses would comment last week but BBC Wales said it was expected the farm will employ 174 people focusing on sustainable farming, local food and climate change. 

Economy minister Vaughan Gething told the Senedd: “When it comes to the amount we've invested in this area, it is about securing the longer term future for Green Man in Wales, and I believe we've made the right choice in doing so.” 

The BBC had reported the festival is expected to remain at the Glan Usk Estate, at nearby Crickhowell, where it has been staged every year, apart from 2020 due to the pandemic, since 2006 and attracted stars such as PJ Harvey, Mumford & Sons, Van Morrison and Teenage Fan Club. 

It also runs science projects with Cardiff University and the festival also showcases local food and drink and accessible education and the arts wider than music. 

Economy minister Vaughan Gething confirmed the purchase, and price paid, when questioned in the Senedd by the Conservative MS for Brecon and Radnorshire James Evans. 

He also confirmed talks are taking place with the Green Man Festival about it potentially leasing the farm, though the government has yet to see a business plan, but refused to be drawn on how it would use the site but said the purchase was intended to secure the future of festival. 

He said the business plan would determine the future use of the site, which also has a caravan park. 

He also said there has been interest in purchasing the festival brand and suggested it could either move from Wales or to a different part of the country. 

Gething said if the Green Man managed the site it could help give it a “greater level of invest in the festival” which he described as “one of five major independent festivals that still exist across the UK, with significant economic benefit to Wales.” 

He said the festival has plans to expand and the “overall ambition” is the festival, which he said has “a particular group of people who are interested in it for the way that it's run and the values that underpin” remains in Wales. 

The minister said: “There has been significant interest from other festival providers who want to purchase the brand. We're very keen to keep that in Wales, with the significant economic benefit that has already been generated and will be in the future.” 


In response to further questioning Gething said the Welsh Government wanted to see the festival continue in the area where it is currently based.  

He said: “The issue is about the vendors and their desire and willingness to sell, where the festival has currently been based, our ability to keep the festival in Wales with all the significant economic benefit that is returned, including, of course, significant economic benefit within rural Wales, and how we then make sure that this particular event, with a particular importance, isn't taken away and the brand used for an entirely different commercial purpose with all the jobs and the wider benefit disappearing to a different part of Wales.” 

In the Senedd Evans questioned if “anybody local” was offered the chance to purchase the farm and the government’s future intentions for the land, in light of food security concerns, and asked why a “productive farm been taken out of use?” 

He also questioned if 174 jobs could be realised “when farms in my constituency can hardly employ a single person?”. 

Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said it appeared the government was spending £4.25m to secure an event space and called the price tag “quite depressing for some farmers, when their own family members are struggling to get their foot on the ladder” to enter farming. 

Plaid Cymru’s Mabon ap Gwynfor said he shared the concern that “good agricultural land would be lost” and said: “We know that the Welsh Government doesn't have a good record when it comes to buying agricultural land, because we've seen agricultural land being bought be the Government and being turned into forests.” 

Gething confirmed the price had been independently certified by the government’s consultant surveyors and it had not paid above market price. 

He also said the site ha been leased back to its current owners with an agreement they harvest existing crops and honour existing bookings on the site. 

The minister said he would be happy to further update members on the use of the land. 

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