Dinefwr Literature Festival 2012 Review

Dinefwr Literature Festival 2012
Gwyl Lenyddiaeth Dinefwr 2012

The brand new Literature Festival for Wales kicked off over the last weekend in June in the historic National Trust Dinefwr Park. This impressive site boasts a castle, rolling landscapes akin to Capability Brown’s work and the impressive Newton House.  The jointly run venture boasts Literature Wales, The Coracle Project, The National Trust and many other partners as its organising team and they all did a wonderful job for a first time event.

The range of activities on site was impressive, for older children and families but unfortunately the youngest members of the festival were a bit left out with very few accessible, suitable or enjoyable events. The lack of warm, dry changing or feeding space was an issue and the food on offer was mainly unsuitable for children. At one point I witnessed a trader refusing to warm a bottle or provide hot water to do so.

Some of the traders and craft stalls were geared towards children and families, like The Earth Oven Pizza stall and the excellent Hunga Munga Crew. Their eclectic and wacky approach to art and crafts was just what we needed. The space they occupied was also host to some lovely family classes and performances. The courtyard was underused but when a sunny spell on Sunday afternoon was on the horizon, The Small World Theatre from Cardiganshire put on the spectacular Tale of Captain Fillet, complete with bicycle powered seagulls.

With many of the performances labelled according to language and suitability to kids, it was easy to plan what to see but accessing the venues were not always as easy as that. My teenage son had a great time roaming the house trying to work out where The Brushing Room was! He also found his funny side with John Hedgley’s comedy workshops and got his fix of Dr Who from the Science of Dr Who lecture, delivered partly in rap!

The staff were quick to round up any spare kids and get them into activities.  Maybe more outdoor things to climb on, fly on, and generally ‘imaginate’ on, would’ve helped as every time the sun was shining the kids dashed out doors to enjoy it.

All in all, even with the dodgy weather, we all had a great time. I’m not sure if camping works at this event as the campsite is pretty inaccessible for pushchairs, wheelchairs and is not suitable for camper vans, but I would definitely recommend heading to Llandeilo and booking into something cosy in town. I think the rule for this event will be take a picnic and wellies and go for a wander.

Till next year, I leave you with the image of Howard Marks being asked by my 11 year old if he was the man from those old ‘Rainbow’ clips I’ve shown him on YouTube!!

Alli x



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