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The 29th Annual Festival 2018

Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11th, 12th & 13th May 2018

Below are the artists and dance groups you can see in the 2018 Festival

Click on the links below to take you to the section you want. 

Music Dance Ceilidhs


(Newport Folk Club Concert Friday night)

Huw Williams is a brilliant songwriter, champion Eisteddfod clog-dancer, adventurous guitarist, bizarre storyteller, Welsh bagpiper, manager of Cool Cymru ambassadors Calan and erstwhile half of a duo with Tony Williams, who conquered the folk clubs and concerts of Britain before they decided to ‘retire’. Huw dropped out of the folk-club scene for a long time; however, he was a vital member of the Welsh super-group Crasdant for many years, and he maintained his prominent profile by tutoring and teaching clog-dancing at trac workshops. He took the decision to return as a solo artist, and now he is a sought-after and highly-respected musician who can hold the audiences of both folk clubs and festivals spellbound and smiling.

Well-crafted and finely-honed songs, each one is an absolute belter. Many songwriters could take a lesson from his brilliant chord progressions and his thoughtful and entertaining lyrics, but his magic touch just about seals it and cajoles the listening public to come back for more – and more and more.  (Mick Tems, FolkWales Online Magazine)


(Newport Folk Club Concert Friday night)

Phil Millichip is a singer song-writer and poet from Newport in South Wales. He writes topical contemporary folk and country songs, many of which have been sung at Folk Clubs and recorded by other artists, including Vin Garbutt, Marilyn Middleton Pollock and Broadside. His best known song is "If I Had a Son", which has been recorded by Vin Garbutt.


(Saturday Concert)

Congratulations to ÍMAR who have just won this year's Radio 2 Folk Awards HORIZON award - and Mohsen won Musician Of The Year.

New Glasgow-based super-group Ímar boasts a line-up featuring current and former members of stellar Scottish, Welsh and Isle Of Man bands Mànran, RURA, Talisk, Barrule, Cara, Jamie Smith's Mabon and The Lowground, whose collectively-crammed trophy-cabinet includes a BBC Young Folk Award and several All-Britain/All-Ireland titles.

The band was created out of the Glasgow celebrated session scene. All five of them – also including fiddler Tomás Callister and bouzouki ace Adam Rhodes (Barrule/Mabon), both from the Isle of Man, plus Glasgow native Mohsen Amini (Talisk) on concertina – originally met as teenagers through Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the Irish traditional music network that tutors budding players throughout the British Isles and beyond.

Sam Kelly Trio

(Saturday Concert)

Sam Kelly is a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning Bristol-based singer, song-writer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. As a young child Sam spent many a night enraptured, listening to his Irish grandfather tell folk tales, sing folk songs, and play folk tunes on his melodeon. Having caught the bug, Sam has dedicated his life to rediscovering and renewing the sounds of his gaelic heritage, and creating exciting new music that transcends the boundaries of traditional and popular music.

His debut album, The Lost Boys, Sam enlisted the talents of Ciaran Algar (fiddle) and Graham Coe (cello) to help his songs reach their full potential. It seemed to work as the following year Sam was awarded the prestigious Horizon Award for emerging artists at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The guys release their first full length album, Pretty Peggy, on Navigator Records in November 2017, with the added talents of Toby Shaer on flutes and whistles and Archie Churchill-Moss on melodeon. With a mix of youthful exuberance and instrumental virtuosity, The Lost Boys breathe new life into traditional music, letting it rub shoulders with contemporary originals and even the occasional surprise rock cover, and have quickly become one of the most popular festival bands on the UK folk festival scene.


(Saturday Concert)

Exciting young musicians Meg Eliza Cox, Ossian Gruffydd and Rhys Morris, members of Band Nantgarw, have formed themselves into a high-energy traditional trio. Meg plays fiddle and an array of other instruments, including bodhràn, banjo and mandolin, Rhys anchors the trio with his guitar and fiddler Ossian is Welsh clog dancing champion for his age.


Mansant started life as accompanists for the Welsh folk dance team Tawerin, and continue to do so. As their interest in Welsh folk music grew they started performing as a band welcoming new members and nurturing their interest and knowledge. Mansant play predominantly traditional Welsh folk music sets with an added percussion from cloggers from time to time.


Charlie Dore and Julian Littman

(Sunday Concert)

Charlie Dore, one of the UK's most respected songwriters, teams up with multi-instrumentalist Julian Littman (Steeleye Span). They swap guitars, mandolin, harmonium, ukulele, piano, autoharp and stories as they showcase Charlie's new album Dark Matter, while dipping into her previous five albums and sharing original versions of hits Charlie wrote for others, including George Harrison and Jimmy Nail.


Daria Kulesh Quartet

(Sunday Concert)

With her striking voice and strong Russian and Ingush heritage, "bold, exotic, impressive" Daria Kulesh offers her audiences a thoroughly engaging, entertaining and enchanting experience.

She is excited to present her brand new stellar band - Daria Kulesh Quartet - comprising one of the UK's leading young acoustic guitarists Tristan Seume, alongside spectacular Belarusian pianist Marina Osman and Kate Rouse, expert on hammered dulcimer. With a unique mix of instruments and cultures, innovative and delightful arrangements, impressive musicianship and exciting, dramatic storytelling, this is a "captivating spectacle" not to be missed. "The songs aren't just sung, but lived." (FATEA Magazine)

Chris and Wendy Moreton

(Sunday Concert)

Gwent-based Chris and his jaw-dropping world-class guitar, banjo and mandolin have showered with epithets by the national music media for a long time; this bluegrass and Americana virtuoso has gone out on the road with his double-bass-playing wife, Wendy.


Paul Lloyd Nicholas Band

(Sunday Concert)

The Paul Lloyd Nicholas Band comprises Allan Jones on guitar, Sel Edwards on violin, Clive Carpenter on percussion, Aled Rhys Evans on keyboards and Steve Shipman on harmonica...all of them sensational musicians who grace their own bands. Plus, of course, Paul himself whose songs are played on radio stations as far afield as Australia and Canada plus here on the BBC. At Tredegar House the band will be showcasing songs from Paul’s current album Hold The Line and his forthcoming album Deja Voodoo. As Folk Wales magazine says: “Paul can hold an audience transfixed with a beautiful song...he enriches the folk scene.” And as Paul himself says: “These musicians are so good that I’d like to stand back and just listen to’s a privilege to be on the same stage.”


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Below are the International teams who will be performing in the 2018 festival. 

Visiting International Teams

RALDA (Netherlands)

Founded in 1972, Ralda has brought international and Dutch folklore to the stage for over 45 years now. Since its foundation Ralda has offered the opportunity to dance and make music to children, teenagers and adults.


We perform Dutch Folkdance and music with live folk music in various beautiful costumes. Ralda’s costumes have been purchased or carefully reproduced from original examples. We will bring the “tourist costume”, which means the costume foreign people know as the “Dutch Costume” , from Volendam, our costume of the village of Raalte (where we live). This costume is called “Joapikstug, and we have  the costumes of the region. (Salland).  The wooden shoes are included, of course.


Besides Dutch dances our repertoire consists of foreign dances from countries like Hungary, Armenia, Serbia, Israel, Mexico, Russia and China and lots more.  All dances have been adapted for stage performance while authentic elements have been preserved as much as possible.


Ralda also has a group of musicians, who accompany the dancing groups during performances.  Their instruments depend on which musicians are travelling.  For this festival we will be bringing a diatonic accordeon, a clarinet, a bass and the guitar.

Folk Dance Club "BULGARIAN RHYTHMS" and Folk Dance Group "THE CHAINDANCERS"

There will be two groups under "Bulgarian dancing" performing together.: Folk Dance Club "BULGARIAN RHYTHMS" from the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London and Folk Dance Group “THE CHAINDANCERS" from Oxford.

Folk Dance Club "Bulgarian Rhythms" was created in 2016 by the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London as part of it's goal to preserve and promote the rich Bulgarian culture and traditions.

Both groups exist for two years and have already Performed at local and international folk festivals. The leader of the groups is Aneliya Trayanova.

Both groups combine Bulgarian and international connoisseurs of the intrinsic regular and irregular Bulgarian rhythms. Their performances present the regional diversity of the rich Bulgarian dance heritage. The repertoire is comprised of traditional chain dances and thematic choreography based on them.

Bulgarian dances vary from slow and gracious movements to very quick and extremely complex dance steps, mainly performed on unique irregular rhythms. This complexity combined with diverse colourful costumes make Bulgarian folk dances distinctive and well known throughout the world.


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Some of the Festival Regulars and UK Dance Teams who have attended in the past.

See the Home page to see which teams have confirmed for 2018

Al Rakas (Bollywood)

Al Rakas are based in Newport and Cwmbran and have been performing together for 5 years. They enjoy experimenting with different dance styles and music including Turkish pop, Bollywood and Folk styles and have even choreographed a Sea Shanty medley for a pirate themed party. Fusing moves and music to create dances they love and using a variety of props and costume, they aim to always bring something new to each performance

If you would like to book them for a Bellydance birthday party for all ages over 6, hen night or other function, please ask one of the dancers for contact details. And if you fancy having a go yourself, there is a beginners class in Cwmbran on a Monday evening.

Caerphilly schools Uke Band


The Caerphilly Schools' Uke Band, run by Mike Collins and Lisa Baldwin, is a new addition to the county ensembles of Caerphilly Music Service.


After the success of Lewis and the Ukes (run by Mike Colllins) at the Royal Albert Hall and the Evian Festival in France, a senior county uke band was formed in September 2015 with plans to start a junior band in September 2016.


All pupils come from schools or sixth form colleges within the Caerphilly County Borough. The newly formed Caerphilly Schools Uke Band will be appearing in various concerts throughout the year including Caerphilly Music Service's concert at St. Davids Hall on December 5th 2016.



Picture by Alun Roach



The Cardiff Morris are one of the earliest 1970s revival sides. Formed in early 1970 by a small enthusiastic group made up of experienced dancers who had migrated from Morris sides in other parts of the country and local recruits with a feeling for folk dance and song, they have been dancing the Morris in South Wales for over forty years.


Their dances are generally derived from the Cotswold traditions, although you may see them perform their own tradition of dance from the village of Nantgarw, just north of Cardiff. This tradition is distinguished by the fact that it is an eight-person dance rather than the Cotswold style with six dancers. The local connection is reinforced by the Welsh dragon and Cardiff Coat of Arms on their Welsh-weave "baldricks", or cross-sashes, and they are often accompanied by Idris, their own dancing dragon.


In summer they can be seen in Cardiff and around South Wales at festivals and fetes, or touring various localities in the County of Glamorgan on Tuesday evenings.


Clocs Canton dance North West style morris dancing, wearing clogs and using garlands & wavers.  They have been dancing in and around Cardiff since 1986.  They are distinctive in the Welsh colours of red, white and green, and unusual in kit with stripy trousers which always makes them stand out from the crowd.   New dancers and musicians are always welcome. They meet in Canton on Thursdays.


Cobblers Awl are based in Cardiff and perform clog steps from both Wales and England. They have tried to keep both the Welsh and English clog-step traditions alive for the past forty years, since the group was first formed in Cwmbrân.


Their repertoire includes English steps with routines from Lancashire, Lakeland and the North-east of England, and over the past decade they have developed Welsh stepping, embedding traditional elements within a contemporary polyrhythmic framework. They wear wooden-soled leather clogs, all handmade by one or other of the few craftsmen still creating such traditional footwear.


They practice at The Community Space at Tesco (Gabalfa) on Western Avenue in Cardiff on Monday nights, and if you are interested, please contact them.

Cwmni Gwerin Pontypŵl

Cwmni Gwerin Pont-y-Pŵl is a Welsh folk dance team aiming to keep alive the culture and tradition of Welsh music and dance. They dance at displays and festivals, not only in Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom but also in Europe, where they have links with other traditional dance groups.


They are a small friendly group and are always looking for new members, both musicians and dancers, experienced and inexperienced. They have great fun whilst maintaining the Welsh folk tradition.


They meet in New Panteg Rugby Club, New Road, New Inn NP4 0PZ every Tuesday at 8.15 pm. Why not come and join them, or come along one evening to see what it is all about?

Dawnswyr Gwerin Penyfai

Dawnswyr Pen y Fai is a team with a world-wide reputation.

Each dance in their repertoire has its place and tradition in Wales. The style is varied and exciting to watch and alternates from energetic fair dances and lively social dances to elegant court dances.

The dancers wear the traditional Welsh costume made from Welsh flannel. On formal occasions the women wear the distinctive tall black hats, unique to Wales.

Dawnswyr Gwerin Penyfai has performed at numerous festivals in the UK and Europe, and is a member of the Welsh National Folk Dance Society. The team is in great demand to entertain audiences and hold social dance evenings throughout Wales and beyond.

The dancers are accompanied by a band of skilled folk musicians.

Dawnswyr Tawerin

Dawnswyr Tawerin are from the Swansea area, as the name 'Tawerin' conveys. Founded in 1975 by former Tawerin folk dance group members from the group's time at University College Swansea.


The group has already competed in the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, and has won the top prizes and trophies at the National Eisteddfod and the Cerdd Dant Festival, as well as experiencing success in the Pan Celtic Festival. The team has represented Swansea and Wales, by travelling as far away as Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Brittany, Galicia and the Basque areas, Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, Yugoslavia, Canada and the United States.


The group is trained by Karen Grayson-Cooper, who demands the highest standards and is an experienced teacher in the performances and interpretation of our dances. Mavis Williams Roberts is the President of the team and one of the original members. She has contributed greatly to the development of the Welsh folk dance through her research and by composing new dances, based on original figures and traditional steps. Her work has won prestigious national awards. Tawerin's stunning costume is based on traditional Welsh patterns, and the use of industry-famous flannel from the local area.


The group will perform a variety of dances - court dances from the 18th and 19th Century, complex social dances popular in their time, and the old and vibrant colorful fair dances which are so common but unique to Wales. The musicians play the traditional dance music, as well as tunes that have been composed in the Welsh style, enhancing their performances.

Flamenco Dancers

Flamenco is an Andalusian term which refers both to a musical style, known for its intricate rapid passages, and a dance genre characterised by its audible footwork. Sit back and enjoy this Flamenco performance from a team which has appeared regularly at the Festival.

Firestone ( Appalachian)

Always rhythmic, colourful and lively, FireStone perform high energy displays at venues around the South West and further afield.  The current style is mostly appalachain stepping mixed with English ceilidh and American jive choreography, peppered with some Canadian and African steps, which gives rise to the varied and exciting shows that FireStone produces today.  

FireStone really enjoy experimenting mixing and contrasting styles of dance and music; they can perform at festivals or fetes to a live band or provide interval entertainment to anything from 70s pop to modern chart music. The overriding ethos is that if it looks good, sounds good, the dancers think its fun and the audience likes it, then they will do it.  Using original pieces choreographed by the team, the range of dance and music performed is unique within the UK.

Almost impossible to pigeon-hole, FireStone have performed Appalachian dance in America, Irish dance in Ireland, and English dance in England. Purists raise their eye-brows, but the audiences continue to clap their hands.

Equally comfortable busking on city streets or performing on stage in front of large audiences, FireStone consists of two dance teams who can perform to a live band or recorded music, depending on the venue.




Gwerinwyr Gwent was formed in 1976 by eight people from the Gwent area who were interested in reviving the tradition of Welsh folk dancing. The name of the team can be translated as "folk-people of Gwent".


They perform dances which vary from slow, courtly dances to the faster fair dances and also include clog dances. Since their formation, members of the team have taken part in several eisteddfods and also in festivals, both in Wales and overseas. As a result of this they have hosted many foreign teams on their visits to Wales. Our recent trips abroad took us to Denmark in 2009, and Finland at the beginning of July 2010. They were also invited to Latvia, and some of the team went there to perform at the Lubana festival in 2011.


They dance just for pleasure, although they take part in festivals and demonstrations both in Wales and Europe. This year they will again be performing at the Tredegar House Folk Festival and some of them will be hosting dancers from overseas. This leads to invitations to dance in their countries.  Gwerinwyr Gwent are well known for organising twmpaths and Noson Lawen evenings; the charges for these depends on the time involved and the distances travelled.


They are always seeking new members, and either beginners or experienced dancers are very welcome. Practice night is Thursday 8-10pm at the Graig Community Hall, Bassaleg, NP10 8LG opposite the Ruperra Arms. Just come along, or ring 01495 271953 for more details. Dancing is fun; it's exercise but you don't have to be superfit to do it - give it a try!

Hevva (Cornwall)

Hevva was formed by an enthusiastic group of like-minded dancers and musicians who wanted to pool their extensive experience to promote, teach and display the traditional dances of Cornwall, one of the Celtic nations. The group has grown considerably from its beginnings and is now one of the foremost dance groups in Cornwall, recognisable by its distinctive traditional costume.

Hevva performs extensively at home, and has also been privileged to represent Cornwall at festivals large and small further afield, from Europe to the Caribbean.  They bring with them their own band of musicians.

India Dance Wales

Founded in 1993 India Dance Wales are the pioneers of Indian Dance in Wales. The aim of their work is to maintain authenticity while exploring contemporary ideas. India dance Wales are based in Cardiff. They have performed several times at the festival and we would like to give them a very warm welcome back.


Isca Morris were formed in 1976 by three experienced dancers taking their name from the Roman Fortress of the Second Augustan Legion which once stood on the site of the town of Caerleon in the old county of Gwent in South East Wales, UK.  They wear the national colours of Wales (red, white and green) and the kit includes a red sash on which is mounted a Roman helmet badge.

Their dancing season usually extends from May 1st (when they dance at dawn in the Roman Amphitheatre at Caerleon) to about mid-September, every Wednesday evening, at a variety of real ale pubs across Newport, Torfaen and Monmouthshire.  They can also be seen on some weekends during the summer in various parts of this country and abroad.

Isca Morris have danced at many different types of event, ranging from Barn Dances and Folk Clubs to Fetes and larger Folk Festivals and have appeared on television and radio on several occasions.


Jawahir Middle Eastern Dancers was founded by a group of like-minded women in 2003 and has been going strong ever since.

Jawahir perform all styles of Middle Eastern Dance – fusing North African, Egyptian, Turkish and even European rhythms using traditional and modern movement, in bright, colourful costumes which vary from full tribal to light and airy. It doesn’t matter what shape or size you are anyone can “shake their shimmy” and everyone is welcome to come and join us.

We meet on a Sunday from 6-7pm for Beginners at Danceworld, Dock Street, Newport.

For any Enquiries or if you’d like to book Jawahir to come and dance at an event, please contact either Debbie Glover or Lisa Adams

Phone: 07807128765 / 07580034624
Facebook: “Jawahir Middle Eastern Dancers”

mini Gŵyl Plant

In 1981 Gwerinwyr Gwent started a festival of Welsh Folk Dance for children called Gwyl Plant Gwent. The numbers have grown since then, and now four festivals are held locally at Abergavenny, Abertillery, Cwmbran and Newport. A mini Gŵyl Plant was introduced in Tredegar House Folk Festival in 2014, encouraging the younger generation to value and enjoy the culture and folk scene of Wales.

Schools performing  this year are:

O'Donnell - maguire School of Irish Dancing

The dancers are a group of mixed ages from the Cardiff and Newport areas. A lot of time not only goes into the learning of the steps but also their appearance and I am sure you will appreciate their beautiful costumes as well as their dancing. They are regular visitors to the festival.


Whilst Irish Dancing can be very competitive, with competitions (Feisanna) ranging from their own class Feis through to local 'Wales and the West Feis' and on to National and International Championships, the O'Donnell School of Irish Dancing believes that whatever your own personal aspirations, be it the next World Champion or to just learn something new and keep fit along the way, it should be FUN.


For more information, visit their website.


Shoostring are a dynamic and energetic dance group who are sure to amaze you with their synchronised and unique approach to Appalachian dancing. The side choreograph all their own dances, bringing to life the toe tapping rhythms of American Bluegrass music performed by the fantastic Shoostring Band.  Shoostring have performed at many events and folk festivals, including Newport's own Tredegar House, Wadebridge, Chippenham and Pontardawe. They have also toured County Cork in Southern Ireland.

Strictly Clog

Strictly Clog was formed in 2010 by three well established clog dance friends who wanted to take clog dancing back to basics with minimum choreography and more emphasis on the partnership with the music.


They have since performed at Beverley, Chippenham, Bromyard and Whitby folk festivals, as well as the annual Skipton Clog Fest and other local events.

Sweyn's Ey Morris

The Men of Sweyn's Ey take their name from the Viking name for Swansea,  and  are based in   Swansea, or to be precise in Morriston, most appropriate for a  morris side. The side was founded in 1966, and celebrated their fiftieth birthday last year. Initially dancing just the rapper sword dance, the side now dances mainly Cotswold morris, but also some Border morris as well as the rapper sword dance.


At Christmas, they keep alive the local mummer's plays,   collecting for charity.  They believe that they are Wales's longest running morris side, the only male dancing side remaining in Wales, and include Wales's oldest active  morris dancer.   They have a website:

Tiger Feet

Tiger Feet are the Appalachian dance side from Cardiff.  They have been dancing together for 20 years and say that they remember Tiger Bay, even if no-one else does! 


They dance mainly to traditional tunes but also love more modern ones and are most grateful to Bellowhead and other groups for their inspiring music."

Topaz Tribal (Belly Dancers)

Topaz Tribal is a Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® troupe from Abergavenny, South Wales. Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® is an eclectic style of bellydance, which draws its influence & inspiration from many cultures around the world, including Indian, Spanish, African etc.  The roots are firmly planted in the Middle East,  using historical & traditional bellydance moves to create combinations which pay tribute to & acknowledge the past history of bellydance. The dance, which is mostly improvised, has a modern bohemian style of it's own with a free & spirited gypsy-like feel, is powerful yet elegant, graceful & feminine. It's inclusive.  Your age, size or fitness level is not important, but YOU are. Tribal bellydance will help to improve your stamina, core stability, balance & flexibilty, plus the benefits of helping to develop confidence, self-esteem, inner strength, & an all-round 'feel good' factor. Research shows that dancing is now recognised by the health professionals as one of the best physical exercises for everyone. So come & join in & find out for yourself.


Topaz Tribal love to dance to spread the joy, the power & the passion of this dance, to have fun, to laugh, to share & just enjoy the moment of dancing with your sisters.


Topaz Tribal is led by Wendy Hughes, a Certified Level 3 Instructor with Gypsy Caravan & a member of the UK Caravan Project. To find out more about Topaz Tribal & Gypsy Caravan visit the website, send us an e-mail, or find us on facebook

Velha Bataria (Samba Band)

Velha Bataria are a 15 piece Samba Band from Gwent. We have played at events such as The Commonwealth Games and Welsh Millennium Centre and many more.

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Calennig Big Band

with caller Pat Smith


Specialising in Welsh dance music, Calennig are equally at home playing for experts and novices alike. The band is led by concertina and spoons player Pat Smith who is acknowledged as one of Britain’s most entertaining callers and she has taught Welsh dances and called twmpaths from Auckland to Aberdeen, from Chicago to Christchurch. She is accompanied by a pool of regular musicians Mike Kennedy (bass), Iolo Jones (fiddle), Peter Davies (whistles, recorders, oboe, bagpipes and Bombard) and Rob Morris (guitar and Accordeon), and Ned Clamp (guitar, mandola, harmonica).


with caller Dave Parsons

Juice is one of South Wales' longest running and most popular ceilidh bands. Originally known as 'Juice of Barley', it was founded back in the mid 1970s, by Jenny and Gill KilBride. They were later joined by sons: Bernard, Daniel and Gerard who, having absorbed the tradition, continued the band in their own right as 'Juice'. Many incarnations later, the band is still as vibrant and dynamic as ever.


The band's caller has been the legendary Dave Parsons for more years than he would care to remember!

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