After months of research, costume creating workshops, dancing sessions, scripting, and a lot of organising, Far Old Line Festival is here! The festival programme is jam-packed and there is something for everyone, including art workshops, gigs, street games, theatrical performances, and a great feast. This two-week extravaganza began on Friday, July 21 with a gig in the Aberystwyth Bandstand, with Omaloma HMS Morris and R Seiliog forming the line-up.
On March 28, 2017, Canolfan Arad Goch was full to the brim as the company launched their latest and potentially largest project, Hen Linell Bell / A Far Old Line. The theatre was a cauldron of excitement and energy as the fortnight of arts activities was unveiled.
Aberystwyth’s community has been at the heart of this project right from the start, with a mixture of volunteers and professionals forming the team behind the festival. The whole process began back in October 2016, when Arad Goch held an open brainstorming session to invite members of Aberystwyth’s community to share ideas, suggestions and opinions for this enormous community arts event. Ideas which derived from that public meeting, as well as a few other similar public brainstorming sessions, have formed the majority of the festival’s programme which certainly has something for everyone.
A vast variety of volunteers have been working flat-out over the last couple of months, filling the Arad Goch building with a creative energy; costumes for various aspects of the festival have been made through open workshops led by the costume designer Anneliese Mowbray. The marketing and producing team of Arad Goch has been boosted with many volunteers and young artists have offered their help with designing and creating props and scenery for various parts of the festival.
Taking part opportunities will continue right through the festival, including an opportunity for people to learn how to stilt walk and do other circus tricks alongside the world-renowned Circus Company, NoFit State Circus from Cardiff. During the fortnight, NoFit State and the workshop members will perform together on their stilts all over Aberystwyth’s promenade.
One of the main aims of the festival, which draws inspiration from local stories and tales, including the story of Cantre’r Gwaelod and which also coincides with Visit Wales’ Year of Legends, is to bring together people from different backgrounds and interests. The festival takes place right at the peak of tourist-season in the seaside town and so drawing people to Aberystwyth is another big part of the project.
Thanks to funding and support from different sources, every event throughout the fortnight will be free of charge. Here is a shortened list of some of the highlights of the two weeks –to see the full programme, visit www.afaroldline.wales, or for more information contact Arad Goch on 01970617998.
- Opening gig – Omaloma, HMS Morris, R Seiliog.
Friday 21 July. Aberystwyth Bandstand. 7pm.
- Gig – Some of Ceredigion and Wales’ best acoustic and folk musicians – Sorela, Kizzy Crawford, Calan.
Saturday 22 July. Aberystwyth Bandstand. 7pm.
- Seeking Cantre’r Gwaelod – The Sunken Hundred. A short walking tour to some of the pubs and locations of Aberystwyth to meet characters, hear poetry, listen to songs and learn some facts about Cantre’r Gwaelod and the sea. With the poet Hywel Griffiths, Mari Rhian Owen, Sioned Llywelyn, The Armagh Rhymers, and others.
1 August. Starting at the Richmond Hotel at 7pm. Limited places available – phone Arad Goch to book.
- Gig – Some of the best acoustic and rock performers that Aberystwyth and Ceredigion have to offer.
Friday 4 August. Aberystwyth Bandstand. 7pm.
- The Sea King’s Feast – the pinnacle of the festival. Come and join in the great feast. Bring a picnic or buy food from one of the food stalls that’ll be on the prom, and join us on the huge table to enjoy all the entertainment.
5 August. Aberystwyth Promenade. 7-9.30pm.