Excitement builds for Gorsedh Kernow

- Local People

LAUNCESTON’S residents have been busy working with bards of Gorsedh Kernow, putting together the finishing touches to this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, being held in Launceston this week.

The Esedhvos Festival started yesterday (Wednesday), and the programme includes a book festival with a new feature — ‘Meet the Authors’, from Gorsedh Kernow’s Holyer an Gof Awards scheme.

Audience members will have a chance to listen to live interviews with prize-winning authors, including Judy Scrimshaw, Craig Green and Bernard Deacon. Goresdh Kernow will also launch several new books at this event including ‘Cornish Bards of Launceston’, the collected biographies of living and deceased bards in the local area. The eighth in the series, this new book will document the substantial and significant contribution made by these loyal bards to Cornish heritage and culture.

Later tonight (Thursday), the town hall will host the Gorsedh Kernow awards evening when winners will receive their Awen medals and certificates from the grand bard. Displays and presentations of winners’ work will be on show from the afternoon in the Otho Peter Suite of the town hall, and all are welcome to come and look at the exhibition of work.

The one-day conference tomorrow (Friday) will once more tackle a thorny issue, and this year it will be exploring ‘Cornish Culture and Tourism — Friends or Foes?’

Grand bard, Merv Davey, said: “We are constantly challenged by forces that seek to diminish our unique culture and it will be very interesting to see how our audience react to the impressive range of speakers we have secured this year.”

Among many other events is the much-loved Troyl dance and the gala concert on the Saturday evening in Launceston Central Methodist Church with local performers and entertainers including Jane Nancarrow, Rob Strike and Launceston Town Band.

On Sunday there is a chance to try your hand at Cornish in the ‘Blas a Gernewek’ taste of Cornish session, followed by a history walk around the town with local bard Rob Tremain, and a sung evensong service in the Cornish language at St Mary Magdalene Church.

The centrepiece of the Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture will be the 2pm blue-robed bardic ceremony in the grounds of Launceston Castle on Saturday, September 2, where nine new bards will be initiated in recognition of their outstanding work in serving Cornwall and her distinctive Celtic identity.

Mr Davey praised the efforts of all the volunteers on the local organising committee, adding: “We are so pleased that they came forward to help us. Everyone is so busy these days, but members of the local committee understand Cornwall’s unique and distinctive culture, and the importance of keeping it going.”

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