The Caerleon Festival is a non commercial community enterprise celebrating the arts and entertaining people throughout the year – the highlight being the annual Summer Festival. It is also a celebration of the ancient “city” of Caerleon – a “city” steeped in history, mystery and legend – Roman fortress complete with Amphitheatre, Baths and Barracks; site of a medieval castle where Owain Glyndwr raised his standard; site of King Arthur’s Camelot? On the banks of the mighty River Usk whose tidal ebb and flow inspired Alfred Lord Tennyson to write “Idylls of the King”. It is therefore fitting that the Festival is also committed to improving Caerleon as a desirable village for both residents and visitors alike.
From its roots as a sculpture event the Festival has blossomed into a celebration of the arts. It showcases local talent and draws in artists from elsewhere. It encourages an appreciation in young people and promotes participation. Its range is wide and so is its appeal. So what to expect? Here is a taste: Schools’ Art Exhibition at the Celtic Manor; Shakespeare in the Amphitheatre; celebrity poetry and a big choir in the Church; “The All Wales Comic Verse Competition” and “Literature on the Lawn” of the Priory Hotel; bands both plugged and unplugged in pubs; and “The Big Free” Weekend with over 45 bands/performers on the Hanbury Arms Quayside, The Bell and Ship Inns; and arts, crafts, exhibitors, and sculptors on the Festival Field completing works of art for the “Sculpture Trail” that meanders through the village.
The Caerleon Festival’s commitment to the community extends to the local environment. The Festival team has leased the Festival Field and is transforming it from waste land to wildflower meadow as part of a project to improve the “Gateway to Caerleon”. Pupils from local schools and a nursery have planted a hedge as part of the scheme. Work continues and as time passes wildflowers/wildlife will flourish for the enjoyment of all.