A festival planned for Kidwelly is attracting both negative and positive reaction within the community. While social media pages carry equal amounts of those in favour to those opposed we decided to speak to the organisers to clarify some of the questions being asked and some of the rumours circulating on social media.
The Independent arts and music festival known as Gwen Gwen is set to take place over the Weeknd of 13th and 14th of August. The festival is funded as part of the Black Cat Tourism Strategy. This is funded via COASTAL which is a Welsh Assembly scheme to help increase the economy of towns near coastlines, through tourism.
The festival is listed as follows: Gwen Gwen showcases predominantly Welsh talent, from bands + spoken word artists to talented craftspeople, entertainers, and incredible handmade food + drink produce. Family and pet-friendly, single, couple, and group-friendly, this mid-summer festival offers something for everyone.
Events will take place at Parc Stephens, Kidwelly Rugby Club, The Princess Gwenllian Centre and Glan Yr Afon. Live bands, spoken word and workshops such as yoga at the Princess Gwenllian Centre and spoken word at the rugby club. Camping sites are located at a field opposite the Co-op store and to the rear of the Princess Gwenllian Centre.
While the planned festival has not been welcomed by some others are relishing a large event, which is set to bring in visitors to the town.
Among the concerns aired on social media pages are questions around controlling noise pollution while others asked how it would be policed and if the park would still be open to residents as it is a public park.
Others have asked why the tickets are so expensive if the event has been funded by the lottery and Welsh Government. Concerns have been raised about where people will be camping, where toilets will be located and where people can park.
Some asked why the money was being spent on a large festival instead of smaller community events. There were concerns expressed over possible alcohol related issues and crime.
One commentator expressed their concern over the lack of community involvement and called for the event to start locally for locals and surrounding villages and build from there pointing out that tourism doesn’t have to come with a tent.
County Councillor Crish Davies has been posting prolifically about the festival and promoting ticket sales.
There are a number of people who are making positive comments about the festival and admonishing any negative commentators. Some maintain that nothing ever happens in Kidwelly and that the festival would be good for the town. Others point out that whenever anyone attempts to do anything like putting on events people always complain.
Some expressed their excitement and say that the cost is good value for money. Volunteers also get free tickets.
Kidwelly has been voted the 5th best town to live in in the U.K. An accolade, which has left some celebrating and others scratching their heads as they wonder down the sleepy high street.
Kidwelly has independent shops, takeaways, pubs, a rugby club, a community hub, a community centre, a castle, a river, a railway station and bus service and up until recent years it had one of the best examples of an industrial museum anywhere in Wales. The town is growing with new homes popping up on almost every piece of spare land. New schools are being built too.
Kidwelly Town Council in partnership with Kidwelly Community Hub CIC have secured funding of £270,000 to implement a two-year strategy aimed at growing the visitor economy in Kidwelly and Mynydd-y-garreg.
Funded by the Welsh Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and delivered by the National Lottery Community Fund, the project runs from July 2021 to March 2023.
We caught up with Christine Lamble-Davies (r) of the Black Cat Strategy and Richard James (l) a festival volunteer at Parc Stephens today. You can listen to the podcast here.
You can also listen to the interview with Town Councillor Jade Tarsnane and local resident Christopher Jones who also visited the van.