Yes, we were very lucky; Cwlwm Celtaidd was one of the very few Festivals held in Wales this year. We welcomed singers, musicians and dancers from the Celtic nations to the town of Porthcawl for Cwlwm Celtaidd 2020. The Festival was held on the weekend of the 6th to the 8th of March in the High Tide Centre in Porthcawl.
Starting with artist performances in 12 schools on Friday, the weekend was a buzz of concerts, twmpathau, music sessions, workshops and street dancing.
The headline act in the Friday night concert was Rusty Shackle, an indie-folk band from Wales that have been captivating audiences with their live performances since the early months of 2010. Supporting them were Sorela, the acapella folk trio, Kemysk dancers from Cornwall and the California and District Pipe Band from Scotland. Parti Dawns Tawerin, one of the foremost dance teams in Wales, accompanied by Mansant, were also taking part and gave us a superb demonstration of Welsh dancing at its best,
Lead artists on Saturday night were Jamie Smith’s Mabon. In the last twenty years, the band whose original members started out as the accompanists for Dawnswyr Penyfai in Bridgend has risen to worldwide fame. Also taking part were Robin Huw Bowen and Tŷ Teires, Skeddan Jiarg from the Isle of Mann with dancers ranging in age from three to young adults, the talented clogger Dan Jones from Cardiff, Bagad Grundi, a fiddle group from Wales without forgetting, of course, the Pipe band from Scotland.
Side by side with the concerts in the main hall and for those still having the energy, lively twmpathau, Ceilidhs and workshops were held in the dance hall, with music provided by Cat’s Claw and Calennig, two of Wales’ leading dance bands.
In addition to the main evening events, both Saturday and Sunday were full of concerts and workshops with dance and live music and music sessions for all to join in, without mentioning the late night, or should I say early morning session, in one of the local pubs.
On Saturday morning, Porthcawl was ablaze with colour and music as dancers from the Celtic nations joined Welsh folk dancers performing throughout the town. It was good to have representatives from a number of Welsh Folk Dance teams join us, and we hope that next year there will be even more so that we can turn the occasion into a full day of dance.
One of our aims as a Festival committee is to encourage young people and promote their talents. The Cwlwm Celtaidd Young Musician of the Year competition has long since established itself as a very important event during the weekend, with many past winners going on to perform regularly in other Festivals throughout the country and beyond. The winner this year was the young harpist, Cadi Glwys from Moelfre. It was very good to see as well the success of the two young cloggers that entertained us in Cwlwm in the Urdd Eisteddfod T, both winning their respective competitions. Congratulation to both Dan Jones from Cardiff and to Mared Lloyd from Pontiets.
Yes, we did have an amazing weekend! You can see more of the fun by going to the Gallery for 2020 in the festival website, www.cwlwmceltaidd.org,