Equinox – River of Lights. That’s the theme for this year’s exciting Global Village Festival which takes place on Saturday, September 16th between 10:30 and 4:30 on Penderyn Square and surrounding venues in Merthyr Tydfil.
The programme of dance, music, song, performance, film, workshops, art, and craft, with some food thrown in for good measure, raises awareness of world and local cultures and traditions. And this family, fun-packed day of fusion, which promises something for everyone, is free!
As committee member Denise Morgan explains the rationale behind the theme. ‘As the summer comes to an end and we approach the Autumn Equinox it’s a time to reconcile our differences, and bring our lives into balance and harmony. It is a time for realizing that everything co-exists together and we need both sides in order to be balanced and whole. That fits in really well with the ethos of Global Village.’
The festival gives professional and community members the chance to perform and allows organizations that promote equality and diversity issues, a platform to reach out to people. It celebrates diversity but also recognises similarities and offers the chance to widen cultural horizons in a fun and creative way. Performers include the family based Captain Cat and the Sailors, local Portuguese singer Paulo Ferreira, Japanese drummers - Taiko Mynydd Du, the colourful and vibrant Tanzanian Drum and Dance group headed by Sam Mbogo and Wales very own Wonderbrass to name a few.
Chair, Lesley Hodgson, said ‘One of the most exciting changes this year is that we are giving over the main stage to young people for one hour between 12 and 1. Everything that happens within that hour has been planned, thought out and developed and will be compered and run by young people. I’m privy to some of what will happen in that hour and I’m so enthused and proud of what they’ve achieved. I’m really looking forward to it.’
Another first is that we are being joined by Malarky Arts who are bringing along their colourful Painting with Light tent. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the Talk Talk adverts in X factor a few years ago where they painted with lights, it’s the same process and very fitting for our theme of Equniox – that’s going to be a big hit whatever age you are’.
This year, the festival has been extended to include performances in St Tydfil’s Shopping Centre; activities including afternoon tea and book workshops in Soar; a talk by one of Wales’ leading artists, Ken Elias, on 'his life, artwork and inspiration in Redhouse and much more.
In the days leading up to the festival there are parade costume workshops being held in Georgetown Boys and Girls Club. Last year, saw the very first Global Village parade in the town centre which attracted a lot of attention. One lady described how she followed the parade to the festival site and ended up staying all day – with her shopping trolley!
Lis McLean of the Menter Iaith at Canolfan Soar, said: “Pentre Byd Eang’ (Global Village) is what Merthyr’s all about. The festival gives us the chance to celebrate and promote Welsh culture and heritage alongside all the other cultures that are alive and thriving in Merthyr Tudful.”
Last year’s event attracted around 4,500 visitors, with people travelling from far and wide to enjoy the festival. Why not come along and join in the fun this year?