Another weekend, another festival. This time we were trading at Kaya, a festival celebrating world music, held in Port Talbot, Wales' steel making centre.
With almost six thousand employed at the plant, Port Talbot's future hangs in the balance as a buyer is sought for the beleaguered Tata steelworks. In a show of support we headed to South Wales a day early, staying in family-run hotel Blanco's and spending the evening in Wetherspoons' The Lord Caradoc, a former gentleman's outfitters adorned with photos of Port Talbot legends Richard Burton & Anthony Hopkins. We drank Welsh pale ale and ate vegetarian sausages with Caerphilly cheese & leek mash accompanied by a rich gravy made from Brains' beer (the famous Welsh brewery) and watched with amusement as one of the local characters raided the condiment cupboard and attempted to make off with a Bargain Booze carrier bag stuffed with Heinz sauces, his heist heroically foiled by the bar manager.
We arrived at Margam Park, the venue for Kaya 2016, at just after 7.30am on Thursday. Setting up was a challenge to say the least, the ground was sodden and the wind brisk, clothes blew off rails into the mud, rendering them muddy and unsaleable, and our ten-year old campervan awning gave up the ghost with the poles snapping & the canvas tearing. Seriously about lose my cool I looked up and saw just yards from our pitch, a group of deer wander out of the woods and tentatively explore the festival grounds, unseen to all but me.
After a gentle stroll around Margam Park - voted the UK's most loved Green Flag Award park - we cracked open the ale, piled on the layers (yes, I know it's August but this is coastal Wales) and lounged around our duct-taped awning listening to Radio One broadcasting live from Ibiza.
|The abbey, built in 1147|
Friday was Jon's 50th Birthday - I'd managed to squeeze a few silly presents into an already bursting -at-the-seams Gilbert which he opened before rolling up the Kinky Melon trading tent for business.
|Before the gates opened.|
In a wonderful community-minded gesture Kaya opened its gates for free to the Port Talbot steelworkers and their families on Friday and, before long, the park was heaving with wide-eyed revellers.
We drank far too much, chatted to some genuinely lovely people, many of whom hadn't been to a festival before, and were blown away by both The Asian Dub Foundation and Don Letts' DJ set (and evidently too pissed to take any photographs whatsoever).
After 2.5 litres of wine, ten cans of ale and numerous G&Ts dark sunglasses were the order of the day on Saturday.
The weather was glorious which made up for a very slow day of sales.
Mind you, can you blame anyone choosing to bask in the sunshine listening to reggae rather than go shopping?
The Selecter headlined on Saturday night and were fantastic and Jerry Dammers followed with a tremendous DJ set. The music on the main stage went on until 2am - a bit of a challenge when you've got to be up for work the next morning but hey ho, it's better than a real job.
Sunday was a bit on the chilly side so I had to cover my 1980s sequined bustier with my trusty suede jacket. Poor Rebecca, our gorgeous neighbour, was visiting from Australia and couldn't believe our Summer was colder than her Winter.
Craig Charles DJ set lasted two hours and was seriously funky.
Just the thing for a lazy Sunday lunchtime.
These Welsh festival goers are a hardy lot, look at all those bare arms....
In the meantime far less hardcore Rebecca and I got changed for the second time of the day, adding gloves, hats and boots as the evening worn on.
I know I keep showing you photos of Margam Castle but, even after my second Kaya I'm still rendered almost speechless by its Gothic splendour.
Whenever any of us traders felt down, cold or just knackered from lack of sleep all we had to do was look at the imposing sight opposite, shout "That's one f*cking amazing castle" and instantly felt better.
I escaped and went to catch one of the acts on the library stage.
And marveled at the early 19th Century architecture.
And made a mental note to plant some of these pretties in out garden next year.
At 9pm on Sunday night we closed, packed up and cracked open the final beer of the weekend.
And so ended Kaya 2016. A 50th Birthday, a massive hangover, incredible music, wonderful people and a f*cking amazing castle. Takings were down on last year but we covered our costs with enough spare to buy a new awning and for a few vintage shopping jaunts to replenish our rails in time for our next festival, Camper Calling, a whole TWO weeks away! Jon can (and will) celebrate his birthday for at least another fortnight.
See you soon!
Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.
Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.