As revellers arrive on site this week, The National can reveal that the Welsh Government took no advice from music industry companies or organisations before it bought a £4.25m farm for Green Man Festival.

The National submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Welsh Government to ask what advice it had received from organisations and companies in the music industry before buying a farm that is expected to be used exclusively by the owners of Green Man Festival in a new venture.

The response from the Welsh Government said that "No consultations were undertaken."

In the same request, the Welsh Government was asked to provide both the outline business plan that Green Man submitted before the purchase, as well as the full business plan, which was only submitted at the end of June - more than three months after the purchase was complete.

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The requests for both business plans were refused on the grounds of commercial sensitivity.

It raises questions about the Welsh Government's decision to purchase the £4.25m Gilestone Farm in Talybont-on-Usk near Brecon, which it intends to lease to the owners of Green Man Festival, pending review of the submitted business plan.

When the purchase was revealed in May, economy minister Vaughan Gething told the Senedd that the purchase was "about securing the longer term future for Green Man in Wales".

As well as taking no external advice from the industry, it seems no internal advice had been taken either. A civil servant who has previously worked with Green Man told The National that they were surprised that their department wasn't consulted by the Government before the purchase of the farm was first reported by BBC.

Last week it was also revealed that climate change minister Julie James and education minister Jeremy Miles attended a private dinner party with a political lobbyist and the owner of Green Man shortly after news of the purchase broke.

Green Man Festival takes place this weekend. The National can reveal that the Welsh Government took no advice from the music industry before buying a farm for the festival to operate (Image: VisitWales).Welsh Government ministers Jeremy Miles and Julie James attended a dinner party with a lobbyist and the owner of Green Man Festival around the time it was revealed that the Government had bought a farm for the festival (Image: VisitWales).

First minister Mark Drakeford ordered a civil service inquiry into the dinner party which was attended by the two ministers and festival boss Fiona Stewart at the home of Cathy Owens - a lobbyist whose firm, Deryn, represents Green Man.

As a result the two ministers have recused themselves from any future decisions that their departments may have to make regarding the Government's agreement to buy the farm.

The live music industry is still in recovery after effectively being mothballed for a year by Covid. 

In response to The National's revelation that no professional advice was sought from the music industry, Plaid Cymru MS Mabon ap Gwynfor said: "We need complete transparency from the Government.

READ MORE: Julie James and Jeremy Miles' judgement questioned over Green Man dinner party

"It cannot be right that a business plan is drawn up by a private enterprise retrospectively to justify the Government purchasing a farm for their exclusive use.This isn’t standard practice when applying for any other form of public funds.

He added, "This cosy relationship between the ministers and the business owner is also suspect, and at least gives the impression in the public eye that there’s been misconduct.

"Why doesn’t the Government publish the full business plan? It's simply not good enough to hide behind a claim that it is commercially sensitive. This raises too many questions, and the Government has put itsef in a completely unsustainable position, and it’s about time that they were totally open with us regarding what are the motivations behind buying Gilestone Farm and what exactly is going on."

In response to the revelation Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies highlighted what he portrayed as a lack of critical thinking from the Welsh Government.

He said: "No ministerial visits have ever taken place to Gilestone Farm, so Labour ministers bought this site with £4.25million of taxpayer cash without having seen it, and without a solid business plan from Green Man.

“Now we learn that the Welsh Government, hardly thought of as an authority on music and events, didn’t take any advice from the music industry before the purchase.

“It’s truly remarkable that they felt able to release this level of public money for a farm for Green Man, when Green Man hadn’t even told Labour ministers what they wanted it for, ministers hadn’t seen it, and they had no industry advice.”

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