Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Cheryl Beer: Creative Director
After having a meeting with The National Botanic Garden of Wales this week, who have very kindly agreed to host and fund the infra structure of CW13 again for us this year, I can confirm that Celtic Womenfest will be on:
Sunday 25th August
Monday 26th August
How is it different to last year and why?
In response to audience, artist, volunteer, management and committee feedback from last year, we have made the following decisions:
Abertillery Ladies Orpheus Choir

Festival Times & Performance Slots:
Last year we opened at 11.00am to give more opportunites for women to perform but our audience did not turn up in full force until 1pm onwards, so this year we will be starting at 12.45pm.This will mean that there will be less performance spots.
This year we are having longer performance spots for artists.
Last year we closed at 7.00pm but this posed a few issues in terms of providing transport back to the main gate, as our very kind volunteer buggy drivers, who ferried people all day, back and for, finish at 5pm. So, this year, we will finish at 5pm.
Last year we had a very wet Summer and made a last minute decision to go into the Marquee, so we're keeping our options open this Summer, and if it happens to be warm, we are hoping to make the best use of the beautiful Garden, and use the Pineapple performance stage outside. If not, we'll make a decision the week before the festival, and maybe take it inside the Marquee again to keep us dry!
Requests to perform
Already I have been inundated with people who would like to take part, so this year, I will be programming differently. There will be slots for some invited artists and slots for those who write to me, but these are already almost full for the muscians. Please note that I don't usually book anyone for an Event unless I have seen their work and make every effort to come and see artists performing live.
Audience building
I would also say here, that one of the most important things, as far as I am concerned, is that all artists bring audience!
Setting up an Event is relatively straight forward, but marketing the event and making sure there is audience is jolly hard work.
If you would like to 'help out' this is the one area that I could really do with support. The Garden are brilliant and get listings in local papers, radio etc, put out posters in the Garden. I do the fliers and internet posting, and if you can help with this, I'd be blown away! I will also be recording a CW13 Radio Show again this year for those taking part to come as guests in the run up to the festival through the Summer.
We all like to perform to an audience and need to all help to 'make that so' for everyone! If you have a mailing list, tell them about CW13! Post on your facebook, Tweet!  Bring your family and friends ... the more the absolutely merrier!
Performers from outside of Wales
Since leaving a post yesterday on facebook, I have had requests for artists outside of Wales to come and perform. Celtic Womenfest is primarily a platform for Wales based women musicians & spoken word poets. That isn't to say we wouldn't look at guests from other areas, but our priority is Wales based women. Indeed we may have a guest from Sweden, and our Irish friends have expressed an interest also, following CW visiting & performing in Ireland, funded by Coracle in December last year.
Last year we had lots of men in the audience, and that's fabulous! The Event is a women's creative platform within an integrated mainstream, family friendly, setting and we welcome everyone!
With regard to the performers, as long as the woman is the main act, the front woman, we are not opposed to having male support musicians, although only one man performed at last year's festival supporting Jay Ryan to perform her songs, we did have David Jones performing with Kate Strudwick in the Celtic Women Concert Series, and Lee Mason performed with Lowri Evans ... but again, I would stress that our priority is providing a platform for Wales based women. In all these cases, the women were the composers/writers and front person.
Rhian Edwards left & Mab Jones right
Spoken Word Poets
Although the musicain slots are almost full already, I still have slots available for SPOKEN WORD POETS. These will be 5 - 10 minute slots between musician change overs, like last year. So get in touch. Maybe you run of a Spoken Word Event and would like to bring a group of women to take a few spots?
Just to stress to all artists, that CW13 is a family friendly event and so you need to be sensitive to this within your material. There will be young children in the audience.

Rachel Hargrave Drumming Session


We would love to end the festival like we did last year with a drumming workshop and then a sound sculpture but the workshops throughout the festival will need to take place in the same space as the performance, so quiet ones will work well, like the knitting that has already been offered. Or workshops integral to the music, like dance or tai-chi.
We will have an Arts Table again, as that went down very well with the children last year, it was a free for all/do your own thing' art table, but if there are artists that would like to offer their time supporting the art table, that would be grand.
 So, if you can offer a quiet workshop that you feel would work well in the same space as the music ... give me a shout!
I think that's everything for now, but can I please advise you to join this blog for regular updates and program releases ...
Many thanks friends
Cheryl Beer
Creative Director


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