Balchder Gogledd Cymru 2013 / North Wales Pride 2013
The weekend of Friday, 26th July – Saturday, 27th July 2013 saw the GBLT community celebrate what it means to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered at the second Balchder Gogledd Cymru / North Wales Pride at Hendre Hall, Tal-Y-Bont, Bangor, Gwynedd.
Hendre is a grade 2* listed Victorian farmyard built in 1860 by the Penrhyn estate. The buildings form a unique venue, hosting a wide variety of events, from live music to weddings and private functions. The candlelit great hall with its huge open fire and mezanine gallery is reminiscent of a medieval banqueting hall – a favourite at christmas.
The long barn is licensed for civil weddings – a lovely beamed room with doors opening onto cobbled courtyard. Located between the coastal village of Llanfairfechan and the University of Bangor on the A55 expressway.
Hendre is ideally placed on the foothills of the spectacular Snowdonia mountain range.
Those who were camping over the weekend began to arrive at 4pm on Friday afternoon, with the entertainment kicking off at 8pm with James from Re-edit productions blasting out some top tunes which included those that coincided with the weekend’s theme – DECADES and cabaret.
The cost of the weekend was as follows:
£15 – Weekender ticket (Friday & Saturday)
£5 – Friday night only
£5 – Saturday day
£8 -Saturday night only
£5 – Camping per person
Saturday morning started off like Friday – glorious sunshine and very hot. I got myself ready – I didn’t dress up in fancy dress because I could not afford to do so this year, and I wore a sleeveless top and denim skirt and my flowery Trilby. I left home shortly before 11am to meet up with a Mirraelle (whose car we were going in) and Eric, before picking up Mirraelle’s sister Ezme in Holywell. We thought we were going to be delayed when 10 minutes past LLanelwy, we hit slow-moving traffic on the A55. Fortunately, the traffic was only staggered for a mere 5 minutes – reason unknown. We arrived at Hendre Hall at 12.35pm – half an hour after the opening by Roxy Fart and Crystal Bawls.
I had asked for my ticket to be reserved at reception as I had meant to purchase one from Rascals Bar on Friday 19th July, seeing how I was in Bangor anyway for an appointment at Ysbyty Gwynedd. However, I had forgotten to go in to town due to the heatwave on the day and I just wanted to get home in to shade. Even though I had not attended the Friday night, I still had to purchase a day and evening ticket costing me £13. Inside the room off reception were several information stalls covering the needs of the GBLT community – health, workplace, support groups and also Unions. I am a member of Denbighshire & Flintshire outdoor group called Rustic Rainbow who shared the Unique stall. So, if you live in north Wales, why join and come along to one to the events. I picked up a free hessian Balchder Gogledd Cymru tote bag, rainbow ribbon (50p) too (pictures at bottom of page).
1pm, in the courtyard was a performance by the Batala Drum Band from Bangor who are celebrating 10 years this year. There is a video section on their website. They performed for about half an hour – totally brilliant they are and a must see for sure. Once they had finished, I grabbed myself a Chipstick with a Portuguese Peri Peri sprinkling. What is a chipstick I hear you ask? Good question and I shall explain what it is. The stall is run by a couple of young Welsh lads and they have one of only seven Chipstick machine. They put a baking potato on to a wooden skewer and place in to this device which tops and tails the potato and unravels it so that it looks like what I call a helter skelter. They then place in to a bath of hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes before removing the skewered potato and adding a floured sprinkle of your choice. The Portuguese peri peri is extremely hot and would only recommend this favouring if you like your food very spicy and hot! Tasted lovely all the same.
In the main hall, I caught the tail end of Awen Haf‘s performance before watching Meinir Gwylim‘s half hour set. She sang in Welsh which is fantastic to hear and promoting welsh music, and then The L-Project performed their official GBLT charity single – ‘It Gets Better’. the single is still available for download and please download and help raise funds, thank you. Inside,, I caught up with a number of familiar faces both old and new (Rustic Rainbow and Prestatyn based Rainbow 25 ), before heading back towards reception to get my face painted…
I haven’t had my hair cut short (even though it does appear as though I have), it is tied back. Looking at the photo now, I should have worn it down but, at least i know I would look OK if I ever chose to have my hair short. Plus, I have kind of started to contemplate contact lenses again. It has been a few years since I last tried them but I found them uncomfortable at the time. I did wear contacts back in the 1990’s for several years. However, the majority say I suit wearing glasses. I was wearing my glasses but I took them off to show off the facial art.
Around 5 /5.30pm, Mirraelle was taken in to the ambulance as she was not looking too well – heat had got to her and the cobbles were difficult for her too. By 6.30pm, the Paramedics had suggested that I take her home, which I did. After all, her health is more important than the event. Eric and I stayed with her for a while and, after talking about it; we would return to Pride and let Mirralle sleep – which she truly needed. I went home to change before picking Eric up at 8.20pm and we arrived back at Pride by 9.15pm, which was pretty good going to be fair.
The evening partying was well under way and those that had left to go home and change for the evening had returned and were now enjoying the party atmosphere. I asked for a bitter shandy at the bar, as I had noticed they had Tetley bitter on draught. The guy behind the bar told me they didn’t have bitter but could do a lager shandy; which I chose to opt for instead. Big mistake! I am not a fan of lager these days and never really have and despite feeling a tad icky with it, I drank over 3/4s of it considering I had paid near on £3 for it. Rest of the evening I was on water – much better. The evening headliner was The X-Factor contestant from a couple of years ago Kitty Brucknell. I had not seen her on The X-Factor as the show never interested me in the 10 years it has been on ITV. She was enthusiastic and one can see why the gays like her. However, during her act, I began to wonder whether she was miming in parts (?). After reading comments on the Cymru Pride Wales Facebook page on Sunday, I am not the only one who thought so. That said, I did enjoy her performance to be fair. After Kitty, was Craig Cavannah who really got things swinging and also me on the dance floor – completely sober I must add!
11.45pm – Eric and I decided to head off back home as it would take 45 minutes to drive from one end of the country to the other. Before leaving though, I required food. I had two options – burger van selling hot dogs at £3.50 or the Chipstick lads selling hot dogs at £2. I chose the latter and saved myself £1.50 i9n the deal. Earlier in the day, I had tried a chipstick off them and I also had barbecue pork fifty-fifty. If you do not know what I mean by fifty-fifty, quite simply it is half chips and half rice. Got to say – total yummi! So, once I had noshed down my hot dog, gone the loo, we headed back to the car and drove home. By now, the heavens had opened up and it lashed down and thus, I took my time driving home.
Brilliant event and I thoroughly enjoyed myself no end. It has been so so long since I have partied like I had on Saturday at Hendre Hall. Roll on 2014 for the next one!
Looking a tad worn from the dancing 🙂
(( Cwtch ))