It is with great sadness and huge regret that following my failure to secure a small festival grant from the Arts Council of Wales I must announce the end of Gwerin y Pererin, the St. Davids Folk Festival, after four memorable years.
The letter of rejection referred to the intense competition from other festivals for support from what is now a much reduced budget.
It considered that the application failed to demonstrate that the event had sufficient beneficial impact on the communities in and around St. Davids. It also felt that the festival failed to create a strong enough sense of place.
“Despite the huge disappointment I take comfort in the countless messages of support for the festival that I have received since its cancellation.
What truly saddens me is that I will not now be issuing the following press release prepared for the festival heralding what would have been a great and memorable occasion.” David
“A NIGHT OF WELSH MUSIC STARS BENEATH THE STARS AT ST DAVID’S”
GWERIN Y PERERIN 2016 TURNS BACK TIME TO CELEBRATE THE HEROES OF WALES’ 60s and 70s FOLK MUSIC REVIVAL
The 1960s in Wales witnessed an explosive folk revival. It was a time when protests and campaigns for the survival of the Welsh language reached fever pitch, a time which saw Plaid Cymru win its first seat in parliament and saw the birth of Cymdeithas yr Iaith. Some of our great Welsh folk singers, Dafydd Iwan, Heather Jones, Meic Stevens and bands like Ar Log and the Hennessys rose to prominence during this time. Their songs formed the soundtrack to the 60s and 70s in Wales providing a rich body of music that has inspired every generation since.
This year, for one night only, Gwerin y Pererin brings these iconic Welsh artists back together to share a stage at the magnificent Bishop’s Palace in St Davids.
Dafydd Iwan will be performing in St. Davids for the first time. Speaking ahead of the festival he said: “Sharing the stage once more with Heather, Meic, Ar Log and The Hennessys will be great. As my performing days come gradually to an end I take heart in the wonderful young folk musicians who’ve developed over the past decades. I admire their work in taking our music, our language and our culture far and wide across the world. But for this one night I am looking forward to just rolling back time and playing and enjoying the ballads that have become the anthems of the last half a century in Wales.”
Gwerin y Pererin itself began, indirectly, through a protest against an ‘Over the Horizon Radar Station’ being established on St David’s Aerodrome during the last years of the ‘cold war’. In 1990 The Pembrokeshire Campaign against Radar, or PARC, was established to fight the installation. During the campaign, it was suggested that the National Eisteddfod be invited to St David’s Aerodrome rather than establish a military installation next to the birth place of the Patron Saint, Dewi Sant. The idea, inspired by David Lloyd, was adopted by the City Council; the plans for the Radar Station were dropped and in 2002 the National Eisteddfod made its first ever visit to St. David’s, symbolically pitching its tents and pavilions on the Aerodrome site. When the event was over, David decided that Britain’s smallest city should have an annual folk festival as part of the Eisteddfod’s legacy. Though it took ten years Gwerin y Pererin was eventually launched in 2012.
Speaking about this year’s programme, David Lloyd, Founder and Director of Gwerin y Pererin said, “We have always presented a mix of established, new and up and coming folk artists. This year, however, in the knowledge that some of the artists who revived the folk music tradition in Wales were coming to the end of their performance career it felt like the right moment to bring them together to honour their gift of campaigning, music and culture. It is upon the shoulders of these greats that today’s young groups and musicians such as Calan, 9Bach and Plu stand. As a festival team, we’re very proud to bring this powerhouse of a Welsh folk line up together. Who knows, this may be the last such concert in which they all share a stage. It will be a very special night that is sure to live long in the memory.”
My sincere apologies to the festival’s many supporters.
David Lloyd, Director
18 May 2016