Music for Cider Drinking at International Festival

The local Dowlais Male Choir singing I Am A Cider Drinker - could there be a more fitting anthem for the first International Craft Cider Festival at Llancaiach Fawr 16th century manor house in the South Wales Valleys, a weekend of drinks from around the world and live music performances from an eclectic mix of artists on August 12-14.

The festival brings together ciders and perries from England, particularly the West Country, the Hesse region of Germany, Asturias in Span, Brittany and Normandy in France, and of course the locally produced ciders of Wales. And the musical entertainment is just as varied, ranging from the 110 years old world famous Dowlais Male Choir from just up the road, to the Latin sounds of Cuba Cuba.

The event is the work of the Welsh Perry and Cider Society. Development Officer Cressida Slater said: "In addition to the opportunity to sample some of the best ciders in the world, we're creating our own little Glastonbury in the Valleys with bands to suit a range of musical flavours thrown in for the price of a ticket."

Local bands and those from further afield will be descending on the manor for a day filled with fruity tunes. West Wales band Paper Aeroplanes, who have had three of their singles added to BBC Wales' main playlist offer a rich acoustic folk feel to the festival.  Sarah's sparse and emotive version of the Tom Jones classic The Green Green Grass of Home will feel very apt in the beautiful surroundings of the tree lined Valleys.

Someone who encompasses a love for both cider and music is Tom Oliver! Not only is he hosting a stall and presenting a masterclass, he is also the tour manager of The Misers who will be heading up the show on Friday. He has also been tour manager for The Proclaimers, and Everything but the Girl. With Tom's love for crescendos and cider, the whole weekend is set to be burst of fun!

Saturday features the Latin sounds of Cuba Cuba, and Ten Feet Small, a band from just down the road in Caerphilly, playing their own material with infectious guitar riffs & ear-catching tunes, inspired by the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon. Alan Thompson from the evening show on BBC Radio Wales describes them as: "an excellent Welsh band & a good bunch of guys - Mark bends those strings like Eric Clapton!"

If you fancy something a little more blues and rock 'n' roll, then you can head for the main stage on Sunday to catch Henry's Funeral Shoe before they embark on their tour of France. The band features local musicians Ned Edwards and Pete Hurley, in addition to brother Aled and Brennig Clifford who have played with a stellar line up of names in the past, including Van Morrison, Dr John, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Solomon Burk.

Another band to feature is Rusty Shackle.  Formed in early 2010 the Shackle create a rustic old time sound that conjures up imagery of Mississippi steam boats, seedy show girls and bar room brawls. They have appeared in the Download Top 10, and enjoyed Record of the Week status on BBC. Their high energy live performances and boundless enthusiasm bring to life some really clever and tuneful songwriting.        

There are still tickets available for the festival, so pack your picnic blanket and head off to the Valleys for a great weekend of music and cider. There is also the opportunity to camp on site for the weekend. For tickets click here.

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