IT has long dubbed itself the ‘small festival with big ideas’, but this weekend’s annual Devauden Music Festival has now won prestigious recognition from the Welsh Government through Event Wales.
Traditionally a two day event, this year sees the first three day festival which will boast five performance areas; Main Stage, the Big Top – hired from the Glastonbury Festival – Acoustic Stage, Badger’s Den and Merry Mari, a new DJ stage run by a group from the village.
Headliners for the festival, which will attract 4,000 music lovers and their families, plus over 100 bands and performers, are Will and The People on Friday night, Rum Buffalo on Saturday and local Caldicot folk rockers Rusty Shackle will bring it to a triumphant end on Sunday.
The extraordinary growth of the feelgood festival, a fundraising event run by the community for the community, has been recognised as being in line with a new national strategy aimed at expanding the contribution that events already make to the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
Organised and run entirely by mostly local volunteers, Devauden Music Festival was the brainchild of village resident Jeremy Horton who launched the event near Chepstow in 2010 as a way of raising funds for the village hall.
The first one-day festival attracted 100 people but the intervening years have seen its popularity soar as organisers have become ever more ambitious.
This year’s event, a family funfest of live music from new, emerging and established artists many of whom are home grown in Wales, craft and charity stalls, children’s entertainment, multiple food outlets and bars, is set to be the biggest yet.
Devauden’s population is just 1,040, but is set to swell to over 5,000.
As always, all profits will go the Hood Memorial Hall (HMH) charity which manages the village hall and runs a wide range of community and other fundraising activities throughout the year for Devauden and surrounding areas of Kilgwrrwg, Wolvesnewton and LLanfihangel.
Welcoming the support from Event Wales, Jeremy, who continues to lead the festival and is vice chair of HMH management committee, said: “We are thrilled to receive the support of Welsh Government and incredibly proud of all our volunteers who have made the event possible over the years.
“The festival brings communities together and enables artists to perform on a professional stage to a bigger audience than they may otherwise have done.
“It also provides them with an opportunity to develop their performance skills and build wider recognition.”
Tim Walker, chair of HMH’s management committee, has led festival logistics since 2019.
He said: “This support will enable us to significantly improve facilities for festival goers and artists as well as extend our marketing to appeal to a wider audience including visitors from further afield.
“The festival is a community-run event that over the years has enabled us to invest in the facilities at Hood Memorial Hall, a charity run for the benefit of the community.”
Deputy Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said: “I’m very pleased that we’re able to support the growth of the Devauden Festival.
“Since the first festival in 2010, the event has been going from strength to strength with the aim of giving local people access to arts, cultural, sporting and community activities.
“The funding will now enable the organisers to attract visitors from further afield and further improve the festival activities.
“I wish the organisers every success for the future,” she added.
The first Devauden Music Festival took place in 2010 and it has been held every year since bar the Covid years of 2020 and 2021.
Tickets for this year’s festival start from £33 including camping, but are fast running out.
For more details see www.devaudenfestival.com