I am chair of Rhymney Valley Literature and Arts Festival. This years festival took place the first weekend in July. This year i introduced Art exhibition and The John Tripp & Idris Davies Poetry competition.
Friday July 1st we were at TARAGGAN and the opening night of RVLAF.
The weather was good, bit breezy but last year RVLAF taught me so much and I was more prepared. I used by own candle lanterns from my garden lit candles which added warmth. TARAGGAN gave us heaters. Rhiannon Trimm. RVLAF committee member and my co host. Put out on social media. Please bring jacket or rug.
I opened the evening and asked the committee to join me. We opened the evening with Music from beautiful Irish folk singer & songwriter Bel Blue, Bel sang songs from her latest CD “Our Places” Bel warmed us with her words
Poet Clare Potter came and shared her wonderful words despite being ill she came and she was fab.
Capel poets read to us, Sian Northey sang a native American song to us and the children loved it.
Fran Smith added her light too
Jeff Hankins shared is wonderful words and Nathan played percussions for us.
Ian Tog Jenkins sitting relaxed filming us.
Wales beat Belgium 3 1 what an end to a fab grass-roots evening. Thank you TARAGGAN and those who came and the swifts who gave us a wonderful display.
Saturday 2nd July Parc Cwm Darran,
Weather was not good showers and high winds but by the afternoon it had stopped raining but was still cold. Parc Cwm Darran amphitheatre is an excellent venue but it is very rarely utilised. The venue set in the stunning Darran Valley.
First up was radical Welsh singer song writer and Red, Poet Barry Taylor. Lovely to see Barry’s wife too.
Rhymney Valley born poet Gemma June Howells bringing her wonderful work home
From Cardiff beautiful soul sing Bobby Roberta Haaroff
Fab performance poet and children’s author Mike Church
Next poet, author, man behind the Red Poets Mike Jenkins
Next my friend, poet, children’s author Debbie Price
Next chair of RVLAF and published performance poet Julie Ann Pritchard performing her story “Griffin”
Amazing talented Cara Cullan wooed us all
Thank to Ethan Pitt & Rhys Griffiths from Rural Wales News for the fab black and white photos and filming RVLAF at Parc Cwm Darran
End of the day all performers looked happy
Thank you to Ian Tog Jenkins for this fab photos he captured us all so well.
Thank you to Miriam Page who co hosted in our native tongue Welsh
A big thank you to all who came and listened and Rural News Wales
This year at RVLAF I decided to introduce a poetry competition called. John Tripp & Idris Davies poetry competition. Cardiff owned but Bargoed born poet John Tripp was born in Bargoed later his family moved to Cardiff.
Idris Davies was born in Rhymney.
Both poets wrote very different from each other but both wrote passionately on Wales. If you have not heard of these poets can I suggest please look them up.
I wanted all the schools involved included Welsh schools too. It took me months to get the schools involved, months of phone calls and emails, even hand delivered posters to schools still no response and I was ready to throw in the towel. Then my friend and school teacher Barry Taylor gave me good advice. I spoke to head teachers visited Heol Ddu Comprehensive and Park Primary Bargoed with Debbie Price. We both did poetry workshops in the schools. RVLAF had two schools on board. Later through email we had Rhymney Comprehensive. St Gwladys School Bargoed and Green hill Gelligaer. Sadly lot of the schools were too busy but all said they will be on board next year yea this is good!!
I decided to put the poetry event beyond the Rhymney Valley. The response was truly amazing. Cardiff, Swansea, West Country and the Valleys. We had a problem with judges so Debbie and I judged the competition. It was hard work because we wanted everyone to win.
Winner 17-year-old Meg Down,
2nd place,24-year-old Ellan Davies,
3rd place 71-year-old Phil Howells.
Winner 8-year-old Alessia Williams Greenhill school Gelligaer
2nd place 16-year-old Harri Evans Rhymney Comprehensive
3rd Place 11-year-old Tylor Rice Park Primary Bargoed
I and the RVLAF committee decided to put all poems in an anthology . We went with local Publisher baarbaarathesheeppress. Debbie and I both worked hard putting the anthology together. Debbie spent whole weekend publishing the anthology. Debbie designed the logo and cover. On the back cover are quotes taken from John Tripp, Idris Davies and myself.
Thank you to Debbie. If you would like to order RVLAF anthology please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie also designed the certificates
With the small grant from Bargoed Town Council Rhiannon Trimm ordered book tokens.
On the night of the prize giving evening out of the six who won only three could make it. Prize giver was poet, author Mike Jenkins. Mike will be next years judge.
Photo from right to left Tylor Rice, Alessa Williams and Meg Down.
We had wonderful classical Spanish guitar music from Rae Jones.
Thank you to Miriam Page and volunteers at St Gwladys church hall.
Thank you to Debbie Price for all her hardworking time and talent.
Threading through the RVLAF was Art exhibition held at St Gwladys church hall. We had art work from Alexa May from Rhymney. Photography from Steve Purnall from Bargoed. Potter Phil Hughes from Blackwood.
A thank you to all exhibitors and a thank you to Jonathan Widdess vicar of St Gwladys Church for the venue.
Idris Davies Walk
The weather was far better this year than last year and we had more people this was good !!
RVLAF committee member and poet. Ann Harris led the walk. From Rhymney Library. We walked along the main street in Rhymney. Followed the river Rhymney to Bute town. Ann took us on a fab journey walking in the footsteps of Idris Davies. Ann, Will George and myself read poetry by Idris Davies.
Thank you Ann and all who came.
Last night of RVLAF The John Tripp Evening of the Spoken Word.
Was held in the Capel Hotel. Rae Jones opened the evening with his classical guitar playing. Six unpublished unseen poems of John Tripp’s were read by Ann Harris, Rhiannon Trimm, Debbie Price and myself. (Clifford James a very good friend of John Tripp’s was sadly unable to make the evening. It was Cliff who gave me the poems of John Tripp’s) Cardiff born poet Bob Walton took us on his John Tripp journey. Poet Sally Roberts Jones and a good friend of John Tripp’s and who had known him in the early days in London. Was unable to make the evening. I read Sally’s John Tripp story. Winner of the John Tripp Spoken Word Award poet. Clare Potter shared her wonderful words. Robert Minhinnick read his beautiful poetry on the 1st WW mostly on the Somme this was very fitting with the anniversary of Mametzs Woods. Robert asked Rae Jones to play the music to Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young” While Robert read his poem a truly poignant moment. Yes all who died in 1st WW will remain forever young.
Thank you to Landlady of the Capel Clare Bennett for the back room and fab tasty food.
Funding and raising funds.
I approached Bargoed Town Council and Deri Community council. Both Community councils gave RVLAF a small grant. RVLAF bought posters,banner,flyers and book tokens. 20 RVLAF anthologies, for the winners of poetry competition, Schools and libraries.
Thank you to both community councils.
Literature Wales gave a small grant for RVLAF readers.
I have filled in necessary forms readers will be paid end of July.
Thank you Literature Wales.
I organised an auction to pay travel expenses to the musician. Thank you Spa Bargoed, thank you Aubrey’s bakers, Rhymney brewery and other who donated.
Thank you to the musicians.
Thank you to all who came, those who took part and those who listened. Thank you to RVLAF committee most of us work full-time. Thank you for your ideas, your time, talent most of all your friendship
RVLAF will be back different venues but still with TARAGGAN and the Capel Hotel and a different month August next year.
PS Literature Wales Rhymney Valley is a beautiful Valley which is full of culture but deemed poor. Please support this grass roots event next year.