This summer will see Pembrokeshire host some fine music. From World renowned musicians, new up-coming acts and a host of local talent. We have a new Arts festival The Edge. A performance from the great jazz/blues musician Courtney Pine at Aberjazz, and an intimate set from ‘Welsh Tornado’ guitarist Gareth Pearson in Caffe Vista.
If you’ve not ventured out in Pembs recently, you may be pleasantly surprised. Gone are the 90s, grungy, grubby, pubs (I know I miss them!). Music venues have been revamped and re-energised. More musicians are finding their way down and enjoying what’s on offer.
Cosy, friendly music cafes/bars have emerged. Try Cwtch coffee shop and Art Gallery in Pembroke Dock, a welcome burst of culture to the town, or Tenby’s Caffe Vista, a stones throw away from Tenby’s north beach, or the lovely French/Welsh inspired venue of Ffwrn in Fishguard, where you can enjoy a freshly baked pastry and an ale of your choice.
Go on your own, go with friends. Explore Pembrokeshire and enjoy the music.
The Fishguard International Music Festival Thursday 21st July to Tuesday 2nd August. 10 days of song, music and verse in some picturesque and atmospheric locations in Fishguard, St Davids and around Pembrokeshire. Acts include The Welsh National Opera Orchestra, clarinetist Michael Collins, and violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen.
Kadia a folk inspired trio from Dorset, perform Friday 22nd July in Cwtch Coffee shop and Art Gallery Pembroke Dock. Enjoy their unique take on some modern classics, jazz, Irish and traditional folk. Also on Friday 22nd July through Span Arts in The Queens Hall Narberth is Edd Bateman’s West African Love Affair. Influenced through his experiences touring and performing in Africa, Edd Bateman, a talented bassist, along with his all-star West African band, deliver their unique blend of rhythmic and intoxicating West African inspired music.
On Saturday 23rd July in Caffe Vista Tenby, experience an acoustic performance from Gareth Pearson. The influential and successful Welsh jazz/blues guitarist dubbed ‘The Welsh Tornado’ known for his fingerstyle guitar.
Pembs Fest Music Festival Friday 29th to Saturday 30th July is held inside the castle walls in Haverfordwest. Saturday’s headline act is Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles fronted by former lead guitarist of the BRIT award winning Welsh indie rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen. Support acts include hip-hop reggae maestros Regime. For the ravers, on the Saturday in the castle’s ‘prison vaults’ over 28 DJ’s bring you drum & bass, dub step, house, hip-hop, electro and techno vibes. It’s hyped to be a night to remember.
Pembroke Beer and Cider Festival Friday 29th July to Sunday 31st July. In conjunction with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) sample from over 25 ales, including brews from Pembrokeshire (there are many), Wales and beyond. Enjoy music, dancing and singing on the Friday, with duo Lighthouse on Saturday and Al Davy on Sunday.
Monday 1st August Roxy Musique The Queens Hall Narberth. A fantastic tribute act to one of the most ‘influential bands of all time’. Go back in time and explore Roxy Music’s daring and creative repertoire from 1972-75. And of course you’ll be treated to many of their classic hits such as Virginia Plain, Love is the drug and Angel Eyes.
The Edge Festival Friday 5th August to Sunday 7th August, Solva harbour. A new event on the circuit. Inspired by the filming of ‘Under Milk Wood’ on location, an Arts festival was born. A celebration of music, literature, film, food, craft, sport, with coastal outdoor activities. Live music plays throughout including a performance from Ragsy, who’s recently collaborated with Caroline Harrison on new single My Love – Bring out the Guards. And local talent including the Pembrokeshire Ukulele Pirates, Welsh singer/songwriter Meic Stevens, and a host of local acts in a Battle of the Bands on the Saturday.
Tuesday 9th August The Torch Theatre Milford Haven. A live broadcast of Glyndebourne Opera:Béatrice et Bénédict by BERLIOZ. With the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Chorus. Sung in French with English subtitles.
Wednesday 24th August 2016 Burnett’s Hill Chapel Martletwy, Narberth. The Hot Seats. Five hillbilly virtuosos from Richmond, USA perform in the charismatic and old chapel not far from Narberth town. (The chapel has more great acts like this throughout the summer).
Aberjazz jazz n blues festival. Thursday 25th August to Monday 29th August. Over 50 superb acts, in some nice venues around Fishguard and Goodwick. Be it traditional jazz n blues, ska, roots, country, rock, folk, gypsy jazz, dance, you are likely to find something to satisfy your ears and eyes. Venues range from art galleries to cafe/bars, to old traditional pubs. Highlights include Courtney Pine in the Theatr Gwaun on Thursday, The Jasmine Power Quintet in Peppers on Friday, and Tipitina in Ffwrn on Saturday. They also have music workshops. I quite fancy the Blues Harmonica Workshop with Rick Asherson in Ffwrn on Sunday.
Aberjazz is by far the biggest festival in Pembrokeshire. My personal favourite, one not to be missed. The relaxed feel, the calmness of Cardigan Bay, intimate venues, the end of summer, it all adds to the good feeling Aberjazz creates. (See my reviews on this site).
Other music venues in Pembrokeshire
Food at Williams Pembroke, a warm and tastefully decorated cafe, with gourmet food. Friendly hosts with a communal guitar on the wall. They occasionally have music events in their garden. Cromwells Bar and Tavern in Pembroke (opposite the castle) host music from local bands and a weekday open mike night. Pembroke Castle have large music events in the castle grounds.
The magnificent St Davids Cathedral hold events throughout the year. Try the Castle Inn in the beautiful coastal village of Newport, North Pembrokeshire. A relaxing pub with a nice outdoor space where they often showcase local music. Narberth is slowly becoming a bit of place to be. By day it’s a foodie, craft and boutique hub, by night there is a friendly vibe with a foray of locals and musicians coming together to talk music and enjoy the creative atmosphere.
Explore and enjoy Pembrokeshire. A warm welcome and live music awaits!
*Feel free to comment, and promote your venue or music gig/event.