Social media has been full of questions regarding the decision of organisers to cancel the Gwen Gwen Festival in Kidwelly. The festival was due to go ahead from today, Friday (Aug 11) until Sunday.
A long list of acts were scheduled to appear but the following announcement was made on the Facebook Page of the Festival:
“We are truly devastated to announce that Gwên Gwen Festival 2023 has been cancelled.
The team have worked tirelessly over the past 9 months, especially this week under extremely challenging circumstances with weather making the site build difficult and as a result of these challenges and the associated added extra costs, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the event.
This is not a decision we have taken lightly and sincerely apologise for the disappointment this will cause.
We want to thank all the ticket holders, volunteers, artists, traders, contractors, security and everyone who has helped under extremely difficult circumstances and gone above and beyond to make this work.
All refunds are currently being processed and an email will be sent to all ticket holders, these will all be processed with immediate effect, please allow 5-7 working days for the money return to your account.
Again, we apologise for this disappointment, we will release a further statement on Monday.”
Some events are still taking place in the town.
Questions were asked last year regarding the spend of part of the £270,000 secured by Kidwelly Town Council in partnership with Kidwelly Community Hub CIC to implement a two-year strategy aimed at growing the visitor economy in Kidwelly and Mynydd-y-garreg.
Called the Black Cat Tourism Strategy, it aimed to drive tourism by supporting and developing cultural and tourist events for Kidwelly and Mynyddygarreg.
It is understood that a large proportion of the money was spent on the festival last year with the remainder to be spent on this year’s festival. Despite requests to the Town Council and the Black Cat Strategy we were unable to ascertain how much money had been spent exactly and how much money was made from the festival last year. We asked for numbers of tickets sold. We asked if the festival had made any money. We asked to see a breakdown of accounts for the festival. We did not receive any information from the Town Council nor the organisers.
Companies House lists County Councillor Crishal Davies as one of the directors of Gwen Community And Regeneration CIC.
A statement on the Town Council website said: “The strategy will support local businesses to secure funding and develop business regeneration plans. Despite the festival taking place last year a number of businesses closed their doors over the weekend and some questioned the huge spend when the local carnival which involved the whole community was run on a shoestring via fundraising.
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.
Comments varied on the Facebook page of the festival. Some offered their services and equipment to try and salvage the festival. Some questioned the lateness of the announcement and some criticised the organisers.
Performer Example posted the above and expressed his frustration that organisers had ‘breached a number of points in the contract’.
It has not got any better for organisers who remain nameless on their Facebook page. Comments continue to lambast them for cancelling and then announcing some acts will still be playing.