My journey in creating the first ever Rhymney Valley Literature and Music Festival

RVLAF banner

Dear reader,

Before you go into my journey of how I created the first Rhymney Valley Literature and Arts Festival.

Please look at this years festival

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 The Rhymney Valley Literature & Arts Festival took place first weekend in July, Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd.

This year we have an Art Exhibition throughout the festival. Held at St Gwladys Church Hall. Two local and very talented artist. From Rhymney Alexa Brown and Bargoed’s Photographer Steve Purnell.

This year I have introduced John Tripp and Idris Davies Poetry Competition. I wanted to include the schools. I emailed all schools throughout Rhymney Valley three times no response. My friend school teacher himself Barry Taylor, suggested I phoned Head Teachers. I took his advice and the response was good. Debbie Price and myself visited schools to spread the word. The poster  designed by Debbie Price.

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We have a committee Chair Julie Pritchard, Debbie Price, Ann Harris, Dr Dai Williams, Rhianonn Trim, Miriam Page.

 Bargoed Town Council gave RVLAF £150 grant.

Received a small grant from Lit Wales for our readers. Alas because of cut backs there will be no funding from Lit Wales next year.

Posters flyers and banners have arrived.

Organised an auction in March to raise funds for our musicians. A big thank you to Spar Bargoed and Bargoed’s only bakers Aubries (Sam Williams) Ian Tog Jenkins and John and Julie Pritchard for the donations.

Met with Rhymney brewery no sponsorship but given gifts of real ale for raffles

TARAGGAN Friday 1st July we have music from Bel Blue and Jeff Hankin.

Poetry from Julie Pritchard and the Capel Poets and Poet Claire Potter.

Saturday 2nd July ParcCwm Darran 2pm to 5pm

We have Mike Jenkins, Mike Church, Gemma June Howells, Julie Pritchard, Debbie Price. Music from Barry Taylor.

Saturday 2nd July St Gwladys Church Hall. John Tripp and Idris Davies Poetry Competition results and prize. Poet and author Mike Jenkins will present the prizes Classical Spanish guitar music from Rae (Ringo to us).

Sunday 3rd July 11am outside Rhymney Library. Ann Harris and Julie Pritchard will be leading the Idris Davies walk and talk.

Sunday 3rd July The John Tripp evening 7pm Capel Hotel TICKET ONLY EVENT.

There will be a reading of 6 new poems that John Tripp wrote. The poems will be read by Clifford James and some Capel poets. We have Clare Potter, Robert Minhinnick, Sally Roberts Jones and Bob Walton. Playing Spanish Classical Rae Jones. Music from Ron Savory. Clifford James, Julie Pritchard and Ann Harris will be reading 6 poems of John Tripp’s that have not been seen or heard before.

Photos of last years RVLAF

TARAGGAN  Ron and I shedding light on Tim and his poetry


Dear reader,

I found out two years ago in 2014 Poet and Writer John Tripp was born in my town Bargoed,  in 1927. At the age of Six John TripP and his family moved to Cardiff. I am a poet and writer I moved from Cardiff to Bargod. From this came the John Tripp evening Sunday March 6th 2015.


From this wonderful event a spark had ignited  and the idea that brought the fire ablaze. A phoenix rose from my thoughts. I decided to organise the first ever Rhymney Valley Literature and Music Festival. Alas I was not the first.

In 1860’s there was an event in Bargoed situated down by The Old Mill, called Pasti Y Bont. My friend Doctor Dai Williams a regular at the Capel Poets informed me of this event. He told me his family took part. Words were spoken, Harps were played and food in a shape of a pasty was shared.

I wanted the event to be near to John Tripp’s birthday so I chose July 24th to July 26th. A month later I realised it was the Big Cheese weekend and I could not change the date because I had booked TARAGGAN and Park Cwm Darran (both venues were free)

Mike Jenkins, Sally Roberts, Clare Potter, Bob Walton and Robert Minhinnick who came on the 6th March accepted to be part of The Rhymney Valley Lit and Music Fest. Peter Finch who missed out on the 6th March because it was his birthday said he would like to be part of The John Tripp evening.  Wonderful story-teller Cath Little came on board, along with Merthyr Historian Huw Williams. The line up  was looking good. I needed musicians, Bel Blue accepted Peter John along with Jamie Bevan, Ron Savory, Barry Taylor and later local musicians Tom Crow and Norman Hopkins.

 The John Tripp event took place on Sunday 26th July at the Capel Hotel. Before the event took place I arranged to have the unveiling the John Trip Plaque that I designed and paid to have made.  


Ian Jenkins designed posters for the Rhymney Valley Literature Festival with all the dates and venues.

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Now to Funding Funding in my naivety I approached CCBC, Community First, GAVO and others all refused me, because they were looking at poet Julie Pritchard not Rhymney Valley Lit Festival. I then approached Literature Wales and they gave me Geriant Edwards a wonderful informative helpful man.I approached Art Council Wales  For the Musicians I could NOT get any help at all so I organised a monthly raffle at the poetry event that I run I asked Tesco’s, Morrison’s, local chemist  and others for raffle donations all obliged it was wonderful. We now had money to pay the Musicians their travel expenses. Some of the readers refused to be paid and some of the Musicians too. This was humbling. While I was organising the above I was going to work and running two writing classes I had left Rhyme and Real Ale but I had The Capel Poets. When someone had taken my email address and put it on a dating web site and no I was not flattered in having hundreds of emails. My dear friend Debbie Price was my sounding board I would phone Debbie and rant and rage swear at the moon. Debbie sat and listened and when I had finished she would say “Alright babe you be okay darling” and I was. People like Debbie, Ian, Fran, Ann, My John, Cath Little, Rhiannon, Dan and all the Capel Poets I would have gone nuts and thrown this historical  event away. My dream was still intact just a couple of nightmares. Press and others were still using old posters with incorrect information I thought forget it and go with the flow. Friday 24th July arrived and it was lashing with rain. I thought I cannot control the weather what I can control was candles, rugs, blankets, enthusiasm and love. Most important the children came from the  Council estate where I live this made my day because I wanted to reach out to the community and I succeeded.

Bel and Ron sharing their beautiful music.


Shedding light and love.


Fran sharing her wonderful poetry


Me at the end of the night tired and worn out then I was presented with Sunflowers from my dear friend Rhiannon and tears of joy fell down my cheeks

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Saturday 25th July Parc Cwm Darran


Thank you Debbie Price my dear friend author, poet and publisher for uploading Parc Cwm Darran event onto youtube

The sun shone and we had a great time and we went home with a suntan.

Sunday 26th July 11am Idris Davies Walk Rhymney Town 

It was pouring down but I, Cath Little and Ann Harris we are not fair weather walkers. Myself Reading “Rhymney” by Idris Davies outside Rhymney Library.


Cath Little singing “The Bells of Rhymney” in the church yard where the poem  came from.


Ann Harris reading “Road to Merthyr”


We were soaking but happy made our way to the Farmers Arms where Scot the landlord accommodated us.

Sunday 5 30pm Cath Little, myself, Fran Smith and Mark Curtis made our way in the wind and rain to cover John Tripp plaque with our Welsh flag for the unveiling at 6pm. It was laughable me up a ladder, Cath holding the ladder, Fran taking photos and Mark offering me his hat.

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I noticed local children watching and I stopped and spoke. “Did you know a poet was born here John Tripp and we have special people to unveil this plaque please can you mind our plaque” They said yes.

Off we went to the Capel Hotel and our guests and the mini bus to take our guests to unveil the plaque.

Poet Clare Potter and the local children and myself.

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Our guests Robert Minhinnick, Sally Roberts Jones, Bob Walton, Peter Finch and me in the pink with happiness.

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To the John Tripp event at the Capel Hotel.

“I was born in Bargoed and I want to know why Banner”That  I had made for  the 6th March event and used  on Sunday 26th July event.

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Robert sharing John Tripp with us.

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Our friends and listeners.

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Sally Roberts sharing her John Tripp memories.


It was a great evening thank you all who made the journey happen who lifted my spirits, A big thank to Ron Cooper, John TARAGGAN Pritchard for giving us the venue at TARAGGAN. CCCB for Parc Cwm Darran. Claire Bennett landlady of the Capel for the delicious buffet and her room upstairs. The children who came to TARAGGAN, Parc Cwm Darran and who looked after the plaque. Thank you to Ian Jenkins for filming the whole event and his posters. Debbie for the friendship, Fran for photos Rhiannon, Dan, Cath, Ann, Fran and all who came and made history. The Valleys is alive and breathing fires of culture down Cardiff’s neck. PS Thank you Kath Eastman, Ashleigh Harold and Trizza Trizza for your posters too.

Yes The Rhymney Valley Literature and Arts Festival will be back next year but not on the same weekend as the Big Cheese.

This blog is dedicated to our dear friend Jo Brown and sending good vibes wrapped in love to Jo and her recovery. Jo has made a great recovery and had her first poem published November 2015. Jo is now happily pregnant we are so pleased for you.

Our logo designed by Debbie Price


10 thoughts on “My journey in creating the first ever Rhymney Valley Literature and Music Festival”

  1. Well the Friday night experience was a beautiful example of Community sharing in action, The Tin Plate Poets and I personally felt honoured and humbled to have been invited to take part on the first night of the first ever festival.

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