Cwlwm Celtaidd opens Young Musician 2016 competition

Cwlwm Celtaidd
Robin Huw Bowen and Dylan Cairns-Howarth

The annual Cwlwm Celtaidd’s Young Musician of the Festival competition for under 18 year-olds returns.

 As part of the festival weekend on March 4-6, 2016 Cwlwm Celtaidd will welcome talented young musicians to the Porthcawl Grand Pavilion stage where the winner will receive a financial prize of £50 and a chance to play as part of the main concert on Sunday, March 6.

The festival will also welcome artists form four corners of the Celtic world with RURA from Scotland, Jamie Smith’s Mabon, Linda Griffiths and Sorela from Wales and dancers Perree Bane from the Isle of Man among them.

To have the chance of winning the ‘Young Musician of the Festival’ title the applicant will need to present between 3 and 5 minutes of traditional Celtic tunes on an instrument of their choice with a short explanation.

This year’s adjudicators are accordionist, Jamie Smith, triple harpist Robin Huw Bowen and the Breton piper Antwn Owen Hicks.

Jamie Smith is the band leader of one of this year’s headliners, Mabon. He says:

“It’s a pleasure to be one of the judges again this year for the Young Musician of the Festival competition. We had a highly encouraging turn out for the first one last year and after some tough decision-making the prize went to Welsh fiddler Dylan Cairns-Howarth, beating off some stiff competition from Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man!”

Last year’s winner, Aberystwyth fiddler Dylan Cairns-Howarth, picked up the fiddle for the first time at 5 years old and will be returning to Cwlwm Celtaidd this year to perform with his father, guitarist Andy Cairns. They will be playing new arrangements of traditional dance tunes from Britain, France, Scandinavia and North America. Judge Jaime Smith says:

“As Dylan has his own concert spot this year at the festival, it shows what a great launchpad it is for young musicians who are interested in performing opportunities. It would be fantastic to have even more entries this year, especially from young Welsh musicians. Although we take the judging seriously the event is warm and friendly, just like the whole festival, so it’s not too scary! The main aim is to get young musicians together to listen to each other play and inspire each other. As judges we offer some positive critical feedback on ways they can improve.”

A family friendly festival, Cwlwm Celtaidd has a packed programme of concerts, dances, workshops, free street dance displays in the Town Centre and on the Esplanade as well as legendary music sessions at the bar.

The competition will be held at Porthcawl Grand Pavilion at 10am on Sunday, March 6. Those interested in entering the competition can download the form from Cwlwm Celtaidd’s website. They will need to fill in the form and send to Sarah Smith, 209 Erw Hir, Bridgend, CF31 2VH or email to by Saturday, March 5, 2016.


We all give our spare time to run Our aim has always been to keep folking a free service for our visitors, artists, PR agencies and tour promoters. If you wish help out and donate something (running costs currently funded by Paul Miles), please click the PayPal link below to send us a small one off payment or a monthly contribution.