The Laugharne Weekend - Fringe Experience, 2017 Review.
Each year in Spring, the small Welsh town of Laugharne welcomes an array of people for a weekend of music, literature and comedy. On April 7th, the Tin Shed Experience opened its doors for the third consecutive year, ready to host the Fringe Experience. In the past, The Tin Shed has organised the Fringe differently, with a mixture of comedy, spoken word and music.
On Friday evening, the intimate semi-outdoor venue, which is usually the home to a 1940's wartime museum, began to slowly fill. A Real Ale bar and an art exhibition of Seimon Pugh Jones' 'Under Milk Wood' paintings, meant there was plenty to keep the throng busy, as Ron Savory's soundcheck echoed out onto the streets. Opening the Fringe Experience in the evening sun, his delicate and soothing sound set the mood for the rest of the weekend.
For the next couple of hours, two artists from Swansea graced the stage. Neil Clarke's Contemporary Folk music and Fever Sparks Alternative Country tone drew in the crowds, who seemed absorbed by the unique sound that was ringing around an equally unique venue.
Events co-ordinator 'Min the Tin' is "proud to be able to offer a platform [for the artists, whilst] supporting and promoting Welsh and local musicianship during this diverse weekend."
As the sun began to set, the artists continued to light up the stage until late into the evening, when Amey St. Cyr finished the first day of the Fringe Experience with upbeat melodies and strong vocals that kept the audience dancing right until the very last note.
Saturday was set to be an incredible day of live music. With the sun shining and pints of real ale flowing, there was an irresistible sense of excitement for all the acts that were set to perform. From new, up-and-coming artists to TV stars, the audience was ready for an incredible day of live music.
As 'Min the Tin' proudly declared -
"Rarely do you see musicians that have performed in huge stadiums around the world playing alongside youngsters that have just plucked up the courage to perform in our quirky venue. For them to be able to mingle with these seasoned musicians and be given encouragement so early on in their musical journey is something special."
Trenchfoot are a band who have established a desirable reputation as one of the fastest emerging folk rock acts in Wales, and their performance certainly showed everyone why. The six member group who's songs are inspired by the stories of men and women of a hundred years ago in the First World War fit perfectly in the olden style decor of the venue. With heartbreaking lyrics that drew a few tears to some eyes and beats which simultaneously made others dance, it's safe to say that Trenchfoot are a band for people of all ages to look out for.
As the sun continued to shine bright onto the Welsh town, the music remained at a high standard. Brenig, Richard Henton and ITV's Britain Got Talent's Jazzabelles all brought with them something different and distinctive which kept the weekend fresh and the audience joyful.
As the second day drew to a close, the crowds filled every inch of the venue. The much anticipated Lost Tuesday Society, who have shared the same stages with artists such as Paolo Nutini and Sister Sledge, to name but a few, completely captivated the audience. With strong vocals from Sarah Birch and an incredible array of instruments, riffs and solos, it was clear why their new, self-titled album which was produced by Joe Gibb (The Kinks, David Bowie) has been received with such excitement. Lost Tuesday Society are definitely a band to look out for.
However, one of the best was yet to come. Ragsy, best known for teaming up with Tom Jones on BBC's The Voice, had been on everyone's lips all day. One of my favourite aspects of the Laugharne Weekend is that it’s a festival with a great vibe, where you can have a drink with a celebrity or two, and chat to the performers throughout the day. I spoke with Ragsy who had this to say about performing at such an intimate venue;
"It was such a unique experience. Laugharne itself is a very small and quirky town and the Tin Shed is equally as quirky. Unlike other festivals and gigs there's no backstage room where we sit and wait before we perform and so it really's nice to be able to get to know the people who are there to watch you perform on a more personal level." - Read the full interview here.
As Ragsy, who was burnt to a crisp and clearly enjoyed his day in the sun, finished his soundcheck, the room fell silent as everyone waited in anticipation for the last act of the day.
Playing the music and songs that he had stormed The Voice with, such as The Scientist, Ragsy's thundering voice carried well outside the confines of the Tin Shed. An incredibly talented performer, his rapport with the crowd made for a hugely memorable set. Every single face in the crowd beamed with a wide smile. What a fantastic end to a second day of remarkable music.
With a weekend pass costing £20 and a day pass costing £10, we really were spoilt with Sunday's artists, giving us just as much to be excited about as the two previous days. A final day of music began with Rhianedd Adlam, who was also celebrating her hen weekend. She celebrated in style, astounding the audience who had gathered early. James Smiles also kept the audience jamming away, whilst the Carmarthen Ukuleles had set up away from the stage and out in the Sunday sun.
Harmonies, sing-a-longs, trumpets, beer and sun meant that when the Carmarthen Ukuleles began their set, everyone was in a brilliant mood to dance and sing. An incredibly unique sound and upbeat music, they played classics such as Country Roads. The crowd fell in love with the band; I, for one, can't wait to see them live again!
The day continued at a high standard with big names and also up-and-coming artists, such as Platform One, Ceri James & Friends and Blind River Scare. They all brought something new, yet equally as brilliant, to the stage.
The festival was going to end with a bang as Chris Summerill graced the stage. A few technical issues didn't phase him, as his strong vocals and incredible energy stunned everyone. What a breath-taking end to a phenomenal weekend!
Finally, the last word must go to festival organiser, 'Min the Tin', who wanted to thank everyone who helped make the weekend so special.
"The support from locals and from the Laugharne Weekenders for the Fringe has been incredibly positive. We would like to thank all of the visitors, performers and volunteers and local businesses for their help in making the ‘Tin Shed Fringe Experience’ such a success."
Read my full interview with Ragsy - https://hubpages.com/entertainment/Laugharne-Weekend-Ragsy-Interview
The Tin Shed Experience, Laugharne - http://tinshedexperience.co.uk/
GPhotography - http://gphotography.org.uk/
The Laugharne Weekend - https://www.thelaugharneweekend.com/
© 2017 Rhys Russell