Padstow prepares to host the 2023 Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture

Final preparations are underway for this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, being held in the iconic port of Padstow the first time the Gorsedh has visited the town since 1952.

The Esedhvos Festival starts on Friday 1st September when the exhibition of Adult and Young People’s Awards winners’ work goes on display in St Petroc’s Church. During the evening the Gorsedh Kernow Awards presentation evening, compered by Tamsin Spargo and Connie Crosby, will be held in the church when winners will receive their Awen medals and certificates from the Grand Bard.

Earlier in the day there is a seminar, organised by the Cornwall Council Culture team, looking at the position of Cornish culture, possible developments and the role of Gorsedh Kernow. Following the seminar, which starts at 10am in the Padstow Social Club, there is a screening of Barbara Santi’s film about Padstow traditions ‘King for a day’. Starting at 2pm, if you haven’t seen it, don’t miss it! Barbara will be taking about filming Cornish cultural traditions in the earlier seminar.

Later in the afternoon there is a social for Cornish speakers and learners as everyone gathers for the main event on Saturday.

“The Esedhvos in Padstow on Friday gives everyone the chance to learn more about what is going on in Cornwall,” 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.”

The centrepiece of the Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture will be the 2pm blue-robed bardic ceremony in the grounds of Prideaux Place on Saturday 2nd September where no less than 29 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. There will be a display of Cornish wrestling at 12.45pm and stands from Cornish cultural organisations will be there, including the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, with a new book on the art of Wrestling in Cornwall. This year’s Lady of Cornwall is Beth Green and the young dancers, all from Padstow, have been working hard over the past few months to prepare.

Sunday sees evensong in Cornish at the Parish Church, which will be rung in by St Petrocs bell-ringing team.

Acknowledging the help received, the Grand Bard praised the efforts of all the volunteers involved.
“We are very grateful for all the help we have received,” said Pol Hodge, “particularly from Padstow Town Council and their officers, the OCS, the church and Prideaux Place to bring the Gorsedh to Padstow in 2023.’

The full programme is here.