Category: Events

Festival hits high notes with new funding deal

Pictured is Carys Wynne Williams and Ann Atkinson at St Asaph Cathedral.

One of Wales’s top music festivals is celebrating after clinching a major funding deal.
The North Wales International Music Festival, at St Asaph Cathedral, has secured a £40,000 grant from the North Wales Regional Arts Lottery Fund.
The successful bid came after the Wales Arts Council changed the way it funds festivals.
Organisers believe it is a reward for the “huge success” of last year’s event against all the economic odds.
Audience figures went up by 14 per cent on the previous year at a time when other similar events struggled, with a number of high profile casualties like Bryn Terfel’s Faenol Festival which was cancelled for the second year running.
Artistic Director Ann Atkinson said: “The funding for all festivals will change from them being revenue funded organisations funded by the Arts Council to going into a new pot of funding that comes via the National Lottery.
“In many ways, it will ensure that all festivals are on a level playing field. When you’ve been revenue funded, it’s very scary going out of that comfort zone but it means we are able to do earlier planning and it should work out well for us.
“It was a great delight and relief to find out that our bid for funding had been successful for this year from the North Wales Regional Arts Lottery fund.”
“I felt that we had been supported greatly by the Arts Council and the staff of the North Wales Office.”
“We felt a great sense of support when we were making the transition – they value what we’re doing.
“It is a special event in a very special place and this year will be our 39th year so we are looking forward to our 40th anniversary next year.
“When the late Professor William Matthias, our founder, tried to find the best acoustic in North Wales he chose St Asaph Cathedral.
“The acoustic is exceptional because of the combination of wood and stone. It’s a very crisp and a very clean acoustic which enhances any performance.
“There is a great deal of affection for the festival among our supporters.
“Some of the core audiences have come faithfully every year and many of the stewards are hardy perennials. We’ve also got sponsors who go back to the beginning.
“The performers who come are always very happy to be asked back because the audience creates a very special atmosphere.
“We are certainly not resting on our laurels and we are going all out to get even more people through the doors this year.
“As well as a host of world class performers, we believe in giving a chance to the next generation of musical stars.
“This year we’re hoping to stage Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood) by Benjamin Britten – it will have about 100 schoolchildren in it.
“We’ll also have National Youth Jazz Wales as well so we’ll have quite a young feel to the festival.
“Another important part of the festival is reaching out into the community and getting people in who would never ever have dreamt of coming to the festival.
“The aim is to get them to realise that classical music is very accessible – good music is good music.”
Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Wales said: “Our new scheme for funding festivals will allow us to fund the very best of Wales’s engaging, celebratory and inspiring festivals. North Wales International Music Festival aims to bring the finest international classical artists to North Wales.
“Festivals like this are an important part of cultural life for local communities, and for many they can be the highlight of the year.
“We are delighted to support a Festival that plays such role and we are pleased to be supporting the passion and imagination of the programme that the Festival is offering.”

One of Wales’s top music festivals is celebrating after clinching a major funding deal.
The North Wales International Music Festival, at St Asaph Cathedral, has secured a £40,000 grant from the North Wales Regional Arts Lottery Fund.
The successful bid came after the Wales Arts Council changed the way it funds festivals.
Organisers believe it is a reward for the “huge success” of last year’s event against all the economic odds.

Audience figures went up by 14 per cent on the previous year at a time when other similar events struggled, with a number of high profile casualties like Bryn Terfel’s Faenol Festival which was cancelled for the second year running.

Artistic Director Ann Atkinson said: “The funding for all festivals will change from them being revenue funded organisations funded by the Arts Council to going into a new pot of funding that comes via the National Lottery.
“In many ways, it will ensure that all festivals are on a level playing field. When you’ve been revenue funded, it’s very scary going out of that comfort zone but it means we are able to do earlier planning and it should work out well for us.
“It was a great delight and relief to find out that our bid for funding had been successful for this year from the North Wales Regional Arts Lottery fund.”
“I felt that we had been supported greatly by the Arts Council and the staff of the North Wales Office.”
“We felt a great sense of support when we were making the transition – they value what we’re doing.
“It is a special event in a very special place and this year will be our 39th year so we are looking forward to our 40th anniversary next year.
“When the late Professor William Matthias, our founder, tried to find the best acoustic in North Wales he chose St Asaph Cathedral.
“The acoustic is exceptional because of the combination of wood and stone. It’s a very crisp and a very clean acoustic which enhances any performance.
“There is a great deal of affection for the festival among our supporters.
“Some of the core audiences have come faithfully every year and many of the stewards are hardy perennials. We’ve also got sponsors who go back to the beginning.
“The performers who come are always very happy to be asked back because the audience creates a very special atmosphere.
“We are certainly not resting on our laurels and we are going all out to get even more people through the doors this year.
“As well as a host of world class performers, we believe in giving a chance to the next generation of musical stars.
“This year we’re hoping to stage Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood) by Benjamin Britten – it will have about 100 schoolchildren in it.
“We’ll also have National Youth Jazz Wales as well so we’ll have quite a young feel to the festival.
“Another important part of the festival is reaching out into the community and getting people in who would never ever have dreamt of coming to the festival.
“The aim is to get them to realise that classical music is very accessible – good music is good music.”
Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Wales said: “Our new scheme for funding festivals will allow us to fund the very best of Wales’s engaging, celebratory and inspiring festivals. North Wales International Music Festival aims to bring the finest international classical artists to North Wales.
“Festivals like this are an important part of cultural life for local communities, and for many they can be the highlight of the year.
“We are delighted to support a Festival that plays such role and we are pleased to be supporting the passion and imagination of the programme that the Festival is offering.”

Rugby stars lead tenpin crusade for charity

Wrexham Crusaders at Tenpin in Eagles Meadow, Wrexham. Vince Mellars in action
Rugby league stars, a dance troupe and men dressed in drag outfits teamed up to help raise a mountain of charity cash at Eagles Meadow-based tenpin bowling.
Staff at tenpin organised the charity night in support of Beating Bowel Cancer and players from the Wrexham-based Crusaders Rugby League Club were only to keen to offer their support.
Tenpin manager Alistair Tonkins said he was thrilled the players gave up their evening to support the event and help raise a substantial sum of cash for the charity.
He said: “It has been a marvellous night and we are very grateful to the Crusaders for coming along and helping out as well as the young dancers from the town’s Urban Fusion dance group who performed a stunning routing.
“As a company £2 from every game played on the night is going to the charity and we have also been supported by Bouncy Boxing who donated all their night’s takings and Satin Glass who provided customers with photo key-rings with all profits going to the charity.
“We are hoping to raise more than £1,700 on the night the only down side being my assistant manager Phil Groom and myself agreed to play some of the Crusaders’ players while dressed as women, for a donation of course.”
Community manager for the Crusaders, Matthew Pritchard, says the club and players were delighted to offer their support.
He said: “The lads are always keen to support community events and this was no exception. Even our three or four injured players came along to offer their support despite having to watch as their injuries meant they were unable to play.
“We take community issues very seriously at the Crusaders and are only to willing to lend a hand to any deserving charity that we can. The players have thoroughly enjoyed the event as well as meeting some young fans.”
The side’s back row Aussie, Jason Chan, 26, who hails from Brisbane, even took along his own bowling ball just to show team mates they could expect a tough game.
He said: “I wanted to give 100 per cent; after all it’s for a really good cause. The lads thought I must be some kind of professional when I turned up with my own bowling ball. What they don’t know is I bought it for seven quid from a charity shop earlier in the day!
“The finger holes are a bit of a tight fit but it looks pretty cool having your own ball and no one seems any the wiser nor have they noticed that I‘m not too good at knocking the pins over either!”
Welshman Ben Flowers, 22, who hails from Caerphilly and plays in the Crusaders’ front row, says all the players were thrilled to be able to offer their support.
He said: “Delighted to be honest. It’s for a really good cause as bowel cancer kills far too many people. If we can raise awareness as well as a few quid to support the charity then that has to be a good thing.”
Vicky Rowlands, who manages and trains the Urban Fusion dancers says they too were delighted to be able to perform at Eagles Meadow.
She said: “We love performing at events and really enjoyed the night at tenpin. Like the Crusaders, we were really happy to support the event which was raising money for a really good cause.”

Rugby league stars, a dance troupe and men dressed in drag outfits teamed up to help raise a mountain of charity cash at Eagles Meadow-based tenpin bowling.Staff at tenpin organised the charity night in support of Beating Bowel Cancer and players from the Wrexham-based Crusaders Rugby League Club were only to keen to offer their support.Tenpin manager Alistair Tonkins said he was thrilled the players gave up their evening to support the event and help raise a substantial sum of cash for the charity.He said: “It has been a marvellous night and we are very grateful to the Crusaders for coming along and helping out as well as the young dancers from the town’s Urban Fusion dance group who performed a stunning routing.“As a company £2 from every game played on the night is going to the charity and we have also been supported by Bouncy Boxing who donated all their night’s takings and Satin Glass who provided customers with photo key-rings with all profits going to the charity.“We are hoping to raise more than £1,700 on the night the only down side being my assistant manager Phil Groom and myself agreed to play some of the Crusaders’ players while dressed as women, for a donation of course.”Community manager for the Crusaders, Matthew Pritchard, says the club and players were delighted to offer their support.He said: “The lads are always keen to support community events and this was no exception. Even our three or four injured players came along to offer their support despite having to watch as their injuries meant they were unable to play.“We take community issues very seriously at the Crusaders and are only to willing to lend a hand to any deserving charity that we can. The players have thoroughly enjoyed the event as well as meeting some young fans.”The side’s back row Aussie, Jason Chan, 26, who hails from Brisbane, even took along his own bowling ball just to show team mates they could expect a tough game.He said: “I wanted to give 100 per cent; after all it’s for a really good cause. The lads thought I must be some kind of professional when I turned up with my own bowling ball. What they don’t know is I bought it for seven quid from a charity shop earlier in the day!“The finger holes are a bit of a tight fit but it looks pretty cool having your own ball and no one seems any the wiser nor have they noticed that I‘m not too good at knocking the pins over either!”Welshman Ben Flowers, 22, who hails from Caerphilly and plays in the Crusaders’ front row, says all the players were thrilled to be able to offer their support.He said: “Delighted to be honest. It’s for a really good cause as bowel cancer kills far too many people. If we can raise awareness as well as a few quid to support the charity then that has to be a good thing.”Vicky Rowlands, who manages and trains the Urban Fusion dancers says they too were delighted to be able to perform at Eagles Meadow.She said: “We love performing at events and really enjoyed the night at tenpin. Like the Crusaders, we were really happy to support the event which was raising money for a really good cause.”

Spectacular celebration marks 200th anniversary

Jubilee Tower 200 event, Moel Fammau.

More than 2,000 people trekked to the top of Moel Famau, the highest peak in the Clwydian Range, as a giant beam lit up the night sky.

They were there to witness the spectacular celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Jubilee Tower at the summit of the iconic landmark.

There were lasers and a colourful firework display which could be seen for many miles around, even in Liverpool.

Ruth Williams, the Cultural Tourism & Marketing Manager of Denbighshire County Council, was delighted the event had been such a huge success.

She said: “It has been a fantastic night. We handed out 1,500 commemorative medals – but there were many more people actually there. They were like ants on the hill.”

Moel Famau has been a popular destination for people from North Wales and Merseyside for countless generations.

Centrepiece of the display was a powerful beam of light radiating from the tower, which was designed in part to replicate the Egyptian-style design of the original100ft high structure.

In keeping with the environment within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the generator powering the display was run on recycled bio-fuel, producing 2 – 7 kilowatts, roughly the same range as required for a lighthouse.

Permission had to be gained from the Civil Aviation Authority before the display could go ahead.

The light installation a laser show was designed by artist Chris Oakley, from Coedpoeth, near Wrexham.

Jubilee Tower 200 event, Moel Fammau.

Images and text created through a number of community workshops were projected onto the tower. Schools in Denbighshire and Flintshire were also involved.

Chris said: “I was amazed by the sheer volume of people who came and I am thrilled at the way everything has gone. It was spot on.”

There was also a lantern procession, live music, storytelling and other entertainment.

The lanterns were made by children from North Wales and Merseyside at a series of workshops. The lanterns each had their own little power source so there were no naked flames.

The event was the result of a partnership between Denbighshire and Flintshire county councils, the Clwydian Range AONB and the Forestry Commission. It was supported by the rural regeneration agency, Cadwyn Clwyd, and was coordinated by Xuberance Events.

David  Green, the Managing Director of Xuberance, said: “The turn-out has been absolutely phenomenal and the atmosphere has been fantastic.”

The summit of Moel Famau now attracts 200,000 visitors a year and the celebration captured the public’s imagination.

Hudreds of people from across North East Wales and Merseyside registered on the Jubilee 200 website www.jubileetower200.co.uk, with many sharing their own personal memories of the Jubilee Tower.

Jubilee Tower 200 event, Moel Fammau

David Shiel, Countryside Officer with the Clwydian Range AONB,  said: “This was truly remarkable event.

“It is important to raise awareness of the area as a sustainable tourist destination.

“The tourism economy in Denbighshire and Flintshire is incredibly valuable. By increasing the profile of the Jubilee Tower this event will hopefully strengthen funding bids that will enable much needed conservation work that will preserve this Welsh icon.”