July 27th, 2014

View from study (sunny)

Our local music festival

I'm a week behind on updates, so these photos are from Saturday 19 July.

For the past 30 years or so, we've had a local music festival which was originally just called "The Folk Festival" but later became known as Sesiwn Fawr (Big Session) and widened it's scope to include rock as well as folk. And it goes through cycles something like this...

1. The festival starts quite small: a stage in the town square which is closed to traffic for the day; a few vans selling refreshments; and a few bands playing in venues around the town. You buy tickets for the venues and the bands in the square are available to everyone for free.

2. It's a success! The organising committee become more ambitious. They book bigger bands. There are stalls selling all sorts of stuff as well as the burger vans. There are more stages, which start to spread to the car park. People come just to party.

3. Another couple of years pass, each year the Sesiwn Fawr becomes bigger until it's HUGE! They start to book really big names to perform. S4C (the Welsh language TV station broadcast the music live and Radio Cymru bases itself at the Sesiwn all day. Except... People have now started to come just to spend the day in the streets drinking. The local police can no longer handle the crowds. Local people grumble about the disruption and mess it causes. Expenses soar, the police demand money for having to provide extra officers to control the troublemakers. DISASTER! Despite being successful with festival goers, the Sesiwn makes a sizeable loss. The committee resign amidst recriminations. Everyone swears, "Never again!"

4. They announce there will not be another festival next year.

5. At some point, someone decides it will be sad if nothing at all happens, so a bunch of people get together and arrange something small, just a stage in the town square which is closed to traffic for the day; a few vans selling refreshments; and a few bands playing in venues around the town... GOTO 2

So this year it was more a Sesiwn Fach (Small Session). I didn't buy tickets for the bands performing in the indoor venues, but I did wander along to see what was happening in the square. Sadly, after all the glorious weather we had been having, Saturday managed to be horrendously wet in the morning, so some of the events such as the Procession of the Viper were cancelled. Even more sadly, it was actually dry by the afternoon, but it was too late to reinstate the procession so the Viper just appeared briefly on the stage.

It had been going to dance around the square, like those Chinese dragons with a huge head and a long fabric body under which people crouch to make it move. It had been made by local school children to represent a creature from local folklore, but as it was probably papier mache, it would not have coped with rain very well. At least the children got to perform their dance enacting the legend in question. But don't ask me to tell you the story because I haven't managed to pinpoint which legend it was due to interpretive dance being notoriously difficult to follow unless you already know what it's trying to depict. :)

Capturing the moment

The photo on the right is not the Viper but some sort of Hag which also featured in the folk tale.

Enjoying the music

Giant puppet

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View from study (sunny)

Cuckoopint berries


We have some cuckoopint plants at the bottom of the garden. It's the time of year for them to display their distinctive clusters of red berries.

This is a very distinctive plant and therefore one of the few I can confidently name. In fact I've been able to recognise it since seeing it on holiday as a child in the garden of the guest house where we used to stay.

Cuckoopint berries
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