After freelancing seven days a week from September to May, I look forward to taking back my weekends each summer. For me these days mean lots of tea, new poetry collections, and as much writing as I can manage. Often, I also squeeze in a few walks, documentaries and drinks with friends. They allow me to do more of the things I love, at a slower pace than I can afford the rest of the year. Still, there are times when the joy and excitement of projects pulls at me and I can’t help but dive in and give up these weekends to something, arguably, more exciting than reading in my pajamas. And, this is exactly what happened one month ago.
From June 19th to the 21st, I was lucky enough to coordinate the first Solstice Spoken Word Festival in Cardiff and am still feeling so appreciative for the literary community here that helped make this happen. Together, we put on a programme which included workshops, writing ‘interventions’ and open mics along with a reading, photography exhibition, book launch, poetry slam, and more. Local venues like Hoffi Coffi, the Trinity Centre, the Gate, Cathays Library, and CF24 all opened their doors to us – the weekend was incredible.
I’d like to extend my thanks to all those who helped make the first Solstice festival such a big success!
Thank you to everyone who took part in the Step-by-Step Book Launch and shared their stories of recovery in the open mic. You know who you are.
Thank you to everyone who came along to the first Solstice Poetry SLAM, particularly the feature, Tim Ledwitch, who traveled all the way from Bristol; the competitors , Johnny Giles, Dave Daggers, Allie Downing, Patrick Widdess, and winner, Will Ford; the discerning SLAM judges; and George who showcased his epic DJ-ing skills.
Finally, thank you to Roath Feast, the Creative Writing MA students from Cardiff University who reviewed some of the events, Dai Howell for all his marketing, blogging and social media help, as well as the whole Made in Roath team who was, as always, supportive and inspiring.
The weekend left me full of excitement, wonder, adrenaline, happiness, and appreciation. As I sit here today, drinking lots of tea and writing this post from home, I cannot help but look back and be grateful. I love this work, these people, and cannot wait for the next Made in Roath event in October. To sustain you (and me) until then, please enjoy a selection of photos from the Solstice Festival below.
Photo credits: Dave Daggers (for the photos from Octopoet and the readers at the Recovery open mic) and Sharon Jenkins (for the group photo at the Step-by-Step launch).