They forecast rain for Saturday (Jul 22) and there were certainly dark clouds looming overhead as the marquees went up at Spring Gardens ready for Gar Gwyl, a music festival in the heart of the town. The organisers needn’t have worried as almost on cue, the sun shone when the first act took to the stage.
Crowds began gathering as the music drifted up Stepney Street, musical notes bouncing off the old buildings and breathing some life back into this wonderful old town. Those of a certain age will well remember the festivals of old when the punk bands used to rock up at the Sunken Gardens and the many live bands who would frequent The Watnot.
There were a few bleary eyes and sore heads wondering around after the previous evening’s events at various public houses in the town and Ragsy’s amazing performance would still be fresh in their heads.
This was a new day and a new bunch of minstrels all queueing up to take to the stage and entertain. Spread out around the gardens were craft stalls and a ‘beer wagon’. There were opportunities to register to learn the ukulele and have a dabble at playing while there.
Within an hour or so the area was packed with people young and old enjoying the sunshine and the wonderful music from people like Jemma Krysa with here unique blend of music including a wonderful song about Llanelli. If quiet and gentle wasn’t your thing then The Void were certainly the opposite. The Swiss Valley band belted out their own material before whizzing of to the tour bus and heading up to a gig inNorth Wales. Audio Dropouts complete with Hawaian Shirts brought a bit of Indie Rock to the proceedings and appeared to go down well.
The event was competing with a number of other events in the area and the town centre was quiet for a Saturday morning, however, Mandy Jenkins from The BID was optimistic and encouraged by what she saw. She said: “This is the first time we have done it but it is looking good. This has boosted trade in the town and we are now looking forward to the ‘Superhero Day’. It would be great to see this area used more for festivals and markets. It takes a lot of organisation and money. I am very happy with the way it has all gone so far. Owain and Alun have put a lot of work into this. It is a credit to them.”
The music rolls on this evening at the Kilkenny Cat and in Felinfoel where a Welsh folk band will take a tour up through the Dimpath and down Thomas Street, no doubt shaking the foundations of those old buildings too.