The R&M Festival got off to a roaring start with very mixed weather. For the first time in 28 years we had to adopt a ‘wet weather plan’ for the Fete – placing all the stalls under cover either our large marquees or in side the Old Church Rooms. The Parade (this year celebrating ‘South American Carnival’), which precedes the Fete, went ahead anyway in the drizzle, led as usual by David Cargill (in very suitable attire, with sombrero), the Festival Queen and attendants, and Harry Robinson, our local Welsh International Rugby Player. When the Parade reached the Old Church Rooms in a riot of colour and sound (courtesy of Samba Band and Drums), Harry opened the Fete and we were off.
Despite the rain and the slightly cramped accommodation, everyone seemed to enjoy the Fete. The WI sold all their bottles (all proceeds being donated to the Festival Charity, NSPCC); the BBQ ran out of sausages; the NSPCC did a roaring trade selling tea and cakes inside; Imaging 2000 had a magnificent display of photographs, and all stallholders said they were very happy with attendance. The weather restricted the entertainment we could offer but Shine Creative Arts performed wonderfully on the Garth Room stage and the Zumba troupe (who performed outside) showed that dampness was no barrier to energy.
In the evening Cardiff West Rotary put on a splendid concert by the RAF ST Athan Voluntary Band – again enjoyed by all.
On Sunday Radyr Rangers held their usual Festival on the Mound Field and Allan Cook led a most interesting walk around Gwaelod-y-Garth. Even long-time residents of R&M commented he had taken them to places they did not know existed! The evening brought a very well attend Civic Service in Christ Church, where the address was given by the Venerable Peggy Jackson, Archdeacon of Llandaff.
Fortunately, Monday was dry so we were able to have the Festival Crowning Ceremony as usual in Windsor Gardens, complete with Maypole and traditional dancing provided by all three schools and excellent teas provided by Treforgan WI. Councillor Rod McKerlich crowned the Festival Queen, Isabel Morgan and she was supported most ably by her two Princesses, Olivia Skidmore and Amy Westwell. All looked resplendent. Earlier, the well-supported Primary School Fun Run showed the athletic prowess of a wide age-range of runners.
On Tuesday evening there was a showing of Hedd Wyn, (subtitled in English) the story of poet Ellis Humphrey Evans who was killed at Passchendale.
On Wednesday there was a large turn out at the Golf club to listen to sports personality Eddie Butler. He spoke briefly about his novel, “The Head of Gonzo Davies” and about various events in his life. This was followed by a question and answer session and a book signing.
The Tenovus Quiz was held at the New School Rooms on Thursday evening as usual. On Friday around 70 people came to an excellent guitar recital by Rhisiart Arwel. He played a wide variety of music, some well known and others not often heard whilst keeping to the theme of Patagonia.
Friday evening we were entertained by “Cube” at the Twinning Fellowship Jazz Night. The event was sold out and Cube played their normal variety of music. This year they had a singer with them, Sarah Brown, who was joining them for the first time and sang a number of well known songs. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Saturday morning arrived and we awoke with some trepidation, looked out of the window and saw it was cloudy, but not raining. The Gymkhana was going ahead. Arriving at Ty Gwyn farm there was a very strong wind and it took 5 of us to put up a gazebo and tie it down. Competitors were fed and watered from the BBQ and soft drinks bar and the Festival Queen and her Attendants were there to distribute the prizes. In the evening we were treated to “A Carnival of Music” from the Radyr Parish music Group. Besides listening to a variety of songs from the whole group and many soloists and duets there was still time for some audience participation when we were all invited to sing along.
In glorious weather on Monday evening, unlike last year when it had to be cancelled, the School Boule was held between Bryn Deri and Radyr Primary. Radyr Primary won all three pupil games, and Bryn Deri won all the Governor, Staff and Parent games. In a very competitive afternoon great fun was had by all.
A sell out audience saw the Festival Film, “The Theory of Everything” on Tuesday evening and Wednesday saw Karl Daymond present “Lowering the Tone” at Morganstown Village Hall. This went so well that several local groups were talking to him about possible performances in the future.
Friday saw a lunchtime concert by two members of the Wales Academy of Voice, Stephanie Gibson and Frederick Jones. They performed pieces from a variety of periods to another sell out audience. In the evening we had the regular AV evening organised by the dynamic duo, Mick Sullivan and David Cargill with reviews of last year’s and this year’s Festival, a journey into the past, extracts from the RPMGs Pirates of Penzance and a tribute to Robin Jones.
On Saturday the weather took a turn for the better and we set up for the Concert in the Parc in semi-sunshine. The three local schools all participated and the quality of their performances was excellent. The audience just grew and grew as did the quantity of burgers and hot dogs eaten. The stocks of the bar dwindled, were replenished and dwindled again. Funk Sinatras closed the show and some of the audience were still having their picnic well after the last act finished. Everyone had a great time and people are already looking forward to next year’s show.
On Sunday morning the usual Duck Race was held on the river. After lunch the dog and tractor show was held in fair weather in Lychgate Gardens. The queen and her attendants were there to give out the prizes and great fun was had by all.
Sunday evening saw the last event of the Festival, a concert “This Shining Night” by the Ardwyn singers. Christ Church was packed for the event and all agreed it was an excellent end to the Festival. During the interval the Festival Draw was made and after the interval the Chair of the RMA, David Silver, presented the Ken Innes trophy to Allan Cooke for the work he had done towards this year’s Festival. He then presented a cheque for £10,000 to the NSPCC representing the amount that had been raised so far this year. Further amounts are expected over the next few weeks so the final amount is likely to be higher.