Meet the organisers of the hottest events in North Wales this summer
- Credit: Archant
A look behind the scenes of key events happening in North Wales over the holidays
Glass Butter Beach
Name: Mark Durston
What is it? A music, wake and surf festival.
Where? Abersoch on the Lleyn Peninsula
Highlights Apart from the action on the surf there are five stages featuring in this year’s line-up, so we’ve got Wolf Alice, Kodaline, Katy B, Naughty Boy and more.
When? August 19th-21st
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My job: Glass Butter Beach Festival organiser
About me: I love most sports especially wakeboarding, windsurfing and surfing. I’m also a big fan of most genres of music, from rock to reggae, D&B to classical. I was married last November in the Lake District and have my first child on the way. I’ve lived in Abersoch for 15 years but I’m now based between both Abersoch and Hale. I founded Wakestock Festival in 2000 and organised it for 11 years before selling it in 2011 then launched Glass Butter Beach Festival in 2007 as a grass roots wakeboard event on Abersoch beach. In 2013 the event expanded into a multi-sports, music and beach festival with a view to grow into a global event.
How I make it happen: With blood, sweat and tears! I could literally write a couple of books on all the mad stories and hurdles we’ve had to overcome. We’ve been lucky to have so much support for the festival, especially locally to the area. I’ve lived and breathed the festival for many years now (as have my family) and we still absolutely love putting it together.
When I’m putting the ideas together I think about what I would like to do at a festival and do what I can to make that happen - wake boarding, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and great live bands and DJs in a beautiful location is the vision. This year, with the help of Broadwick Live (organisers of Snowbombing, Festival No.6, Electric Elephant and Lost Village) on board, the festival is on track for an awesome future.
Contact: Llanbedrog village, LL53 7NL www.glassbutterbeach.com
Name Luke Huxham
What is it? Annual arts and music festival
Highlights: Noel Gallagher, Hot Chip, Super Furry Animals, Johnny Vegas, Dinner at Clough’s with Aiden Byrne
When? September 1st-4th
My job: Festival No.6 Organiser
About me: I’ve always had a strong passion for music and creating events and I’m lucky to have spent the last seven years doing just that. Working and executing one of Europe’s most renowned festivals like the multi-award winning Festival No.6 has been an exciting journey for me. Ensuring we make it bigger, better and different from the norm each year, is something I strive for. I love music of all genres, enjoy the arts and have a strong passion for food. I can find inspiration in most things.
How I make it happen: Ensuring I have an amazing team of experienced people who all share the same vision, determination and attention to detail.
That, paired with an amazing location, an incredible mix of venues and a carefully curated line-up is how it all happens.
Contact: Portmeirion, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER www.festivalnumber6.com
Name Aled Hughes
What is it? An agricultural and farming show
Where? The Anglesley Agricultural Showground
Highlights: Animals, food, crafts, vintage agricultural equipment, a fairground, magicians and more.
When? August 9th & 10th
My Job: Show administrator
About me: It’s a hobby turned into a job. I used to help out on the show when I was about eight years old and worked in the catering industry so it has been in my blood. I became company secretary and show administrator in November 1989 and this year will be the 129th show.
How I make it happen: As soon as the show finishes we start working on the following year. We have to do things like secure contractors, as they can get booked up by other events. It’s just me and a personal assistant for most of the year, then as we near the date of the festival we have volunteers and students helping us out.
The show is run by an agricultural society which is governed by elected council members and I’m their secretary so I take my instructions from them and how they want to steer things.
Contact The Showground, Gwalchmai, Holyhead LL65 4RW 01407 720072 www.angleseyshow.org.uk
North Wales International Music Festival
Name Ann Atkinson
What is it? A festival of mainly classical music
Where? St Asaph Cathedral
Highlights: Festival Launch Concert also featuring New Sinfonia - a celebration of St Asaph Cathedral’s Assistant Director of Music, John Hosking’s 40th birthday, featuring the World Premiere of his Missa Pro Defunctis and the world premiere of Paul Mealor’s 2nd Symphony, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor Op 64 and Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending
When? September 17th-October 1st
My Job: Artistic Director
About me: I am a professional mezzo soprano and conductor and have about 30 private music pupils so life is fairly full. The festival was set up in 1972 and when the musical director resigned I took over 13 years ago. It’s such a lovely job. I like to think of it as rather like a box of chocolates with lots of lovely centres.
How I make it happen: I am already working on the programme for 2017 and 2018. We are funded by the Arts Council of Wales who have given us a major grant so they want a three year plan. The festival always has some kind of theme - last year it was light and this year it is based around myths, legends and fantasies, in recognition of the Roald Dahl centenary, so all throughout the festival there will be elements that link into the theme.
I love organising things and love working with people, so the job is such a joy to do. The orchestra we are working with, the New Symphonic, were actually a product of our education workshops years ago and when I see them I think about how we actually had a hand in their success. It’s wonderful to be able to give opportunities to musicians.
Contact Festival Office, Irish Square, Upper Denbigh Rd, Saint Asaph LL17 0RL. Tel: 01745 584508 www.nwimf.com
Good Life Experience
Name: Charlie Gladstone
What is it? A festival of culture, food and the great outdoors for the whole family
Where? Hawarden Estate Farm Shop, Flintshire
Highlights: Dr John Cooper Clarke, Mercury rev DJ set, Ben Fogle, Campfire Cooking with chefs including Tomasina Miers, Bill Grainger, Tom Herbert, Cerys Matthews, Jeremy Vine, axe throwing and much more.
When? September 16th-18th
About me: I was in the music business 20 odd years ago and ever since I’ve wanted to do a festival. Then my wife and I had a concept built around our notions of the good life and all the things we felt went into living a good life, such as music, literature, food and the great outdoors.
How I make it happen: I met a friend who just happened to be married to Cerys Matthews and the great thing about her stuff is she’s a magpie. She said she’d love to have a go at a festival so together we embarked on organising it in only three months. We decided this would be a live ‘dress rehearsal’ as we thought that if we left it another year we’d find reasons not to do it. The first year 1,600 people came and it was a big success, while the second last year attracted 4,300. The festival gives everyone a chance to switch off and enjoy anything from axe throwing and canoe making to classical music and yoga.
You can watch our chefs cook over a campfire or hear Michael Morpurgo speak. In the evening everything shifts down and there’s one big party. You never know what’s going to happen each year, which is what makes it so exciting.
Contact Chester Rd, Hawarden, Flintshire, CH5 3FB 01244 533442. www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk