The local organising committee is busy working with bards of Gorsedh Kernow to put the finishing touches to this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, being held in the historic town of Hayle.
The Esedhvos Festival starts on Thursday 1st September when the exhibition of Adult and Young People’s Awards winners’ work goes on display alongside the historic Grand Bard’s Chair in the Passmore Edwards Institute. During the evening the Gorsedh Kernow Awards presentation evening, compered by Tamsin Spargo, will be held in the Hayle Day Care Centre when winners will receive their Awen medals and certificates from the Grand Bard.
Friday sees a full day of talks, activities and presentation centred on Cornwall and on Hayle in particular. The Hayle Heritage Centre will host a talk on Hayle history by Trevor Smitheram and a presentation of the Cornwall National Music Archive alongside a new exhibition on Male Voice Choirs, while there will be taster sessions for gig rowing and a Koffi ha Kows (Coffee and Chat) morning for Cornish speakers and those interested in the language at Lulas. Story Republic bring performances of stories and tales to Hayle throughout the afternoon, while there is also an opportunity to look around the historic Masonic Hall and an opportunity to explore the Towans on a guided walk with the Towans Ranger.
“The Esedhvos in Hayle on Friday gives everyone the chance to learn more about what is going on in Cornwall and in Hayle in particular,” said Grand Bard Pol Hodge, Mab Stenak Veur “One of the benefits of Gorsedh Kernow moving around Cornwall is the chance to spotlight a different town and area each September, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the rich variety of our culture.”
Hayle’s Mayor, Anne-Marie Rance, says “It is an honour and a privilege for Hayle to host Gorsedh Kernow this year. Hayle has strong historic links with the Gorsedh and some of its founders, who also founded the Hayle Old Cornwall Society. They celebrate their centenary next year, so it is fitting that the Gorsedh is being held here.”
Also in this year’s packed schedule is the traditional Troyl/Ceilidh led by local Cornish dance and music group Tros an Treys, several of whose musicians live in Hayle itself, which will be held in a Marquee on the Quay on Friday night. The annual concert on the Saturday evening features local performers and entertainers including Cornish music duo MacQuarrie and Toms. Also on Saturday evening there will be a “Come All Ye” Cornish music and song session at the Commercial Hotel in the centre of town, led by St Aubyn’s Singers
On the Sunday there is a chance to try your hand at the Cornish language in the “Blas a Gernewek” taste of Cornish session being held at Penpol School and led by Will Coleman from Golden Tree. A heritage walk around Hayle completes the morning, led by John Pollard, Kampyer A’gan Ertach, and finally Evensong in the Cornish language will be held at 3pm at Phillack Church.
The centrepiece of the Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture will be the 2pm blue-robed bardic ceremony in the grounds of Hayle Academy on Saturday 3rd September where 19 new bards will be initiated in recognition of their outstanding work in serving Cornwall and her distinctive Celtic identity. Entry is free and there will be plenty of space for the public to come and watch. Stalls with Cornish themed goods will be open from late morning on the field and refreshments will be available all day.
Acknowledging the enormous amount of local help received, the Grand Bard praised the efforts of all the volunteers on the local organising committee.
“We are very grateful for all the help we have received,” said Pol Hodge, “particularly from the local organising committee and from Hayle Town Council and their officers, who have worked tirelessly to bring this festival to Hayle.”