27 September 2011

Festival Fun

Original Festival poster created by Lorin Morgan-Richards
The 2011 West Coast Eisteddfod - Festival of Welsh Arts is over. It was three days of concerts, competition, booth manning, and hobnobbing with fellow Cymru-philes.

The best thing about festivals is the relaxed atmosphere. Everyone is there to have fun, look at everything, and eat. Delicious Welsh food abounded, from Welshcakes (little pancake-like sweets) to fish & chips to lamb cawl (stew) and curry. Generally, folks go walk around first, see what is for sale, what might be for free, and what they can afford. Welsh corgis paraded through the grounds, gorgeous little dwarf dogs (that's what "cor gi" means in Welsh) full of confidence five times their size. A giant Ddraig Goch strolled through now and then, his handler warning festival goers to mind their sheep and children, though I only saw him bite a couple of heads (including mine). A Pirate Bar sold mead, ale, and wine. Sir Nathan's Red Dragon Lemonade Stand provided the delicious beverage and shaved ices. Nathan is one incredible young man, and I am honored to have met him. His stand raises money for children like himself diagnosed with cancer: http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/73333.
Wishing you all good things, Nathan!

Tile and promo materials for "Cactus Cymry"
I saw some gorgeous artwork and shirts by Jan Delyth, Celtic knotwork at a number of booths, and beautiful ceramic tiles by Illite-ful Images. Check out the incredible Celtic knot designs and other works of beauty on their site. They created a customized tile for my nonfiction book due to be released this fall by Anaphora Literary Press. --->

But the best thing about festivals such as this one is the interaction with talented and creative people. I met a wonderful storyteller named Peter Freeman, the aforementioned Jan Delyth, and "The Voice of Welsh Rugby" Paul Child. Finally coming face to face with people you've only chatted with online or emailed is a delicious experience: you already know each other so it's like a homecoming. BBC producer and author Jon Gower and I have emailed one another for seven-plus years and finally met during Saturday's lectures. Americymru folks Ceri Shaw and Gaabriel Becket, Lorin Morgan-Richards, Swansea Jack, Tarw Lloyd, Margo Lloyd Beckham (married to David, but no not that one lol), and the effervescent Mona Everett made those  "okay I'm here now what" awkward moments evaporate with smiles of recognition.

Rae, Jude & Lety and a poster for "That silly Dolphin movie."
Even better is attending a festival with dear friends who are game for standing in line for hours to watch Craig Ferguson's show taping [where Morgan Freeman made fun of his "Dolphin Tale" movie and we got to see Gerard Butler in real life], throw impromptu poolside wine parties, find cheap Hollywood home tours, and share The Best Cosmic Gnocchi Ever. My "minions"-- Rae and Lety--hauled books, set up, packed, tolerated plane delays, and shared laughs all weekend long.  And now that I have blackmail material...ahem. You guys are the best. Seriously.

These are the times that nourish an author's soul. Thanks, everyone.

P.S. If you'd like to see an album of photos, here you go: Jude's 2011 West Coast Eisteddfod Album.


  1. And we saw the out-takes of Craig's show! It was a magical weekend, with dragons, pirates and a fantastical Mari Lwyd wandering thru the crowd! Great to see friends and also so many people of all ages (babies to 90-year-olds) enjoying themselves in the beautiful tree-filled Barnsdall Art Park. Cudos to Ceri, Gaabi and Lorin for all their hard work--and so glad it was such a success!

  2. Yes we did Mona! Thanks for helping make it a memorable weekend!