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Entertainment

St Davids Cathedral Festival 2024: A celebration of music and community

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THE historic and picturesque St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire played host to its annual music festival from 24th to 29th May, bringing together an impressive array of musical talent and an enthusiastic audience. This year’s festival featured a diverse lineup of performances, showcasing both established artists and emerging talents, all within the awe-inspiring setting of Britain’s smallest city.

A Grand Opening

The festival kicked off on Friday, 24th May, with a charming performance by The Children’s Chorus and Band, followed by a captivating candlelit concert featuring Vox Angelica, Vicars Choral, and Choral Scholars. This opening night set the tone for what would be a week of extraordinary musical experiences, combining the innocence and energy of youth with the profound beauty of choral music.

Highlights of the Weekend

One of the standout events of the weekend was the Saturday night concert by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW), conducted by the esteemed Martyn Brabbins. The orchestra delivered masterful performances of works by Brahms, Sibelius, and Mathias. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the breathtaking performance by violinist Inmo Yang, whose virtuosity left a lasting impression on all in attendance. The concert was beautifully captured by photographer Chris Limbert, whose images conveyed the cathedral’s majestic atmosphere and the musicians’ passionate artistry.

Earlier that day, the ‘Choristers Unplugged’ concert proved to be a festival favourite. This lively and whimsical event saw young choristers performing to a packed audience, dressed in costumes inspired by themes such as ‘Wonka’, ‘Barbie’, and ‘Six’. The concert not only highlighted the versatility and talent of the choristers but also their infectious enthusiasm for music of all genres. Special accolades were given to the Head Chorister for their excellent curation of the programme.

Celebrating Young Talent

The festival continued to spotlight young talent with a performance by Raphael James, the Young Musician of Dyfed. James delivered a fantastic programme featuring pieces by Schubert, Rachmaninov, Chopin, and Gershwin. This concert also provided an opportunity to showcase the cathedral’s Steinway Concert Grand piano, a generous bequest from the late Mary Evans, which added a rich and resonant tone to the performances.

A Week of Diverse Performances

Throughout the week, festival-goers enjoyed a series of diverse and memorable performances. Highlights included a moving celebration of Anthony Randall’s music by Trío Preseli, who traveled from Santiago for the event. Emma Johnson and the Orchestra for the Environment delivered a stirring evening of string and clarinet music with a poignant message about the climate crisis.

The Choir of Royal Holloway also graced the festival with a stunning performance of orchestral music arranged for choir. Their dedication and talent were evident in every note, leaving the audience in awe of their harmonious blend and powerful delivery.

Grand Finale and Reflections

The festival concluded with a sublime broadcast of Choral Evensong live on BBC Radio 3, followed by a festival finale featuring the folk group Alaw. This closing night was a fitting end to a week filled with musical excellence and community spirit.

Festival Director, in his closing remarks, expressed heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made the festival possible. He extended special thanks to his Assistant Director of Music, Laurence John, and to key supporters like Ben Richards, the festival’s Administrator, and Canon Leigh Richardson, the Chairman of the Festival. Their behind-the-scenes efforts were crucial in delivering a first-rate event.

As the festival drew to a close, the Cathedral Choir and all participants looked forward to a well-earned rest. The festival’s success was a testament to the hard work and dedication of all involved, from the performers to the organisers and the supportive audience.

Looking Ahead

The St Davids Cathedral Festival continues to be a highlight in the regional cultural calendar, celebrating the rich tradition of music in one of the UK’s most iconic and spiritually significant venues. Plans are already underway for next year’s festival, scheduled for 23rd-28th May 2025, promising another week of exceptional performances and cherished memories.

In reflecting on this year’s festival, attendees and performers alike will remember it as a joyful celebration of music, community, and the enduring beauty of St Davids Cathedral.

Entertainment

New Radio series on remarkable rise of women’s football

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FROM hand-me-downs to heroes, a new three-part show celebrates the incredible growth of women’s football in Wales

BBC Radio Wales has today announced a new series Iconic: The Rise of the Women in Red, documenting the rise of women’s football in Wales. 

Presented by Jess Fishlock, Wales’ most capped footballer, the series offers an unprecedented look into the evolution of women’s football from its humble beginnings to its current status as a sporting phenomenon. With exclusive access to the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the series features in-depth interviews with prominent figures in the sport, including Welsh captain Sophie Ingle and midfield star Angharad James.

The series delves into the early days of women’s football when players wore hand-me-down kits from the men’s teams and played in front of modest crowds. It tells of the struggles of those who paved the way for the current generation of female footballers, to the present day where thousands of fans flock to stadiums to watch women’s football, and even more tune in to the television and radio coverage.

Jess Fishlock says, “I’m really excited that our story’s finally getting told and people can see how far this game has gone but also what has been sacrificed to get us to where we are right now in the women’s game.”

Carolyn Hitt, Head of BBC Radio Wales says “The series highlights how more women and girls than ever before are taking up the sport – as fans and as players.  It really showcases the FAW’s efforts to foster this growth and support the women’s game at all levels.  Jess Fishlock’s unique perspective and engaging storytelling brings to life the triumphs, challenges, and aspirations of the team whilst also providing a candid look at the professional journeys of these women.”

Sue Butler, Managing Editor, BBC Wales Sport, says “In the run-up to these crucial play-offs for UEFA Women’s Euro 2025, the series is a timely celebration of the progress and potential of Welsh women’s football. It will inspire and energize fans and players alike as the national team prepares for one of its most significant challenges yet.”

This three-part series will premiere on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds this October.

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Entertainment

Blue Lagoon to open to the public for one day only as charity fundraiser

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A POPULAR leisure venue will be open to locals this summer with the aim of raising thousands of pounds for local charities.

The Blue Lagoon at Bluestone National Park Resort will throw its doors open to the public on August 27.

Six hundred tickets will be available for the local community to enjoy the tropical water park.

All ticket sales go to local charitable causes, with 75 per cent of funds going to a local charitable organisation and 25 per cent through the Bluestone Foundation.

On Tuesday, August 27, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home and Team Cruising Free will benefit from the fundraising created through ticket sales.

Paul Sartori provides end of life care and support at home for Pembrokeshire patients. Team Cruising Free will row the Atlantic in 2025, raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Paul Sartori.

The Bluestone Foundation, the charitable arm of Bluestone National Park Resort has generated funding totalling £17,500 for west Wales communities from its latest round of events and funding.

It has supported local groups with more than £250,000 since it was launched in 2010.

The Bluestone Foundation offers two avenues of support: the community events and the community fund. The community events at the Blue Lagoon raise funds and awareness for local charities.

This year, the foundation has already hosted events for Get the Boys a Lift and VC Gallery. As well as the August event, there will also be an event in October for Sammy Sized Gap, a local charity supporting young people with mental health issues.

“We are thrilled to see the positive impact our community events have on local organisations,” said Marten Lewis at the Bluestone Foundation. “The Blue Lagoon provides a unique and enjoyable setting for fundraising, and we are grateful for the community’s support.”

The community fund, which runs in three rounds this year, provides financial assistance to projects focused on economic, social, and environmental initiatives. The foundation recently allocated approximately £7,500 to three projects in its first round of funding and is currently reviewing applications for its second round which closes in July. A third round of funding will close on 17 October.

Among those to have benefited in the first round are the South Ridgeway Community Association in Manorbier to help develop a community garden and allotments; The Tenby Project, to support weekly sessions with a trained nutritionist on healthy eating for adults with learning difficulties; and Transition Bro Gwaun in Fishguard, to host community energy engagement events.

Tickets for the August event can be purchased at Eventbrite For more information about the Bluestone Foundation and its initiatives, visit www.pavs.org.uk/apply-for-funds.

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Entertainment

Broad Haven’s Music Festival set to rock village

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GET ready for an electrifying day of music and fun as the Havens Events Crew proudly presents the highly anticipated Broad Haven Music Festival. Scheduled for Saturday, July 20, from 3 PM to 11:30 PM, this event promises a vibrant mix of live bands, local talent, and a delightful BBQ, making it an unmissable occasion for music lovers and families alike.

The festival, at Broad Haven School Field, will feature an impressive lineup of performers. Attendees can look forward to the acoustic melodies of Cadence Acoustic, the energetic rhythms of Coastal Horizon, and the dynamic performances by Loose Change. These local bands are set to deliver a variety of genres, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

In addition to the musical performances, the festival will offer a range of delicious BBQ options, perfect for enjoying a summer evening outdoors. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a visitor, the Broad Haven Music Festival is an ideal opportunity to experience the local culture, connect with the community, and enjoy high-quality entertainment.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase at the Broad Haven Post Office and Lobster and Môr. Early acquisition is recommended to secure a spot at this popular event.

It promises to be a memorable day filled with music, food, and community spirit. The Broad Haven Music Festival is more than just a concert; it’s a celebration of local talent and a testament to the vibrant culture of our town. Don’t miss out on this fantastic event!

For more information, visit the Havens Events Crew’s official website or follow their social media pages for updates and announcements.


Event Details:

  • Date: Saturday, July 20
  • Time: 3 PM – 11:30 PM
  • Location: Broad Haven School Field
  • Performers: Cadence Acoustic, Coastal Horizon, Loose Change
  • Tickets Available At: Broad Haven Post Office, Lobster and Môr

Be sure to mark your calendars and get your tickets soon – we look forward to seeing you there!

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