As regular readers will know, we always try to go to quite a few of the many food festivals held in west Wales each year, including the ones in Narberth, Cardigan, the National Botanic Gardens, the county-wide events for Pembrokeshire Fish Week or (our especial favourite) the Really Wild Food Festival in St Davids. This year, we added a different type of festival to our ‘must do’ list: the Laugharne Weekend.
Laugharne is well known for its links with Dylan Thomas, the hard drinking Welsh poet who died in 1953. He made his home there and his shadow still lurks around the town at his writing room in an old tin shed, his boathouse home overlooking the River Taf and of course his favourite watering hole, Brown’s Hotel.
Many of these, along with the castle, pubs, church and hall, host a series of literary, comedy and music events over the course of a weekend, most of which you can wander in & out of at will when sporting the wristband that acts as your ticket.
We only managed to squeeze in the Sunday this year, and missed out on a host of events including Beth Orton (our mate Ash thoroughly enjoyed her set), Tracy Thorn, John Cooper Clarke, Caitlin Moran, Charlie Higson, & Mark Thomas.
Even with only a few hours to spare, we caught a little of Phill Jupitus’ alter ego quoting poetry in the garden of the Boathouse, an amazing acoustic set by The Gentle Good filled with folklore & more notes than seemed possible from one man & his guitar; incredible poetry sets by John Hegley & Luke Wright and an entertaining & thought-provoking hour with Robin Ince – more than enough to convince us we should make more effort next year.
Graffiti by Martin Rowson, Laugharne’s answer to Banksy
And if you’re not familiar with Dylan’s work, we recommend starting with his famous ‘play for voices’ Under Milk Wood – there’s nothing like the lilt of Richard Burton introducing the village of Llareggub and its “sloe black, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea”.
Hear it on YouTube: