Mattoidz and Frizbee, Rufus Mufasa, Osian Hedd, Heather Jones and Alun Tan Lan, Dafydd Iwan

Carwyn Edwards 20/06/2008

Carwyn Edwards survives sleep deprivation, early morning wheelchair racing and some stonking live performances...

The small village of Bedlinog was rocked to it's foundations last weekend by some of the greats of the Welsh language music scene.

In its inaugural year, the young festival already boasted Dafydd Iwan, the folk-singing hero of Welsh Nationalism headlining the Friday night stage in the “Workies”. He was joined by Heather Jones and Alun Tan Lan, both accomplished artists within both the welsh and British music scenes.

Described as “ace” by Gruff Rhys in the Observer recently, Alun started off the night with a set including some of his most well known songs, including the duet, “Perlau” (Pearls) with Heather Jones. Alun's folk and country tinged acoustic performance, with his 12 string acoustic sound counterbalanced with some bluesy harmonica, set the mood and the ambiance well for the next act of the night, Heather Jones, a long standing pillar of the Welsh language scene, having released her first EP, “Colli'r Iaith” in 1971.

A haunting, hair-raising warning of the threat of loosing language and identity, her a capella version of the song was the highpoint of her set, leaving a electrified atmosphere for the main act of the night. Dafydd Iwan's set list was a showcase of his classic, highly politicised protest songs, such as Carlo, a scathing attack on the Investiture of Prince Charles. The night was brought to a close with Dafydd Iwan's rousing rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, helped along by the crowd.

The Bedroc festival was the brainchild of the local Welsh Language group, as an event to spur the progression of the language and to invigorate the village's economy. The concert venues were spread over the village, and the accommodation provided was under cover, a blessing as we awoke, after little sleep, due to the rounds of wheelchair racing the night before, to a rainy Saturday morning.

The festival then moved to the local rugby club, where the Cymdeithas yr Iaith Cymraeg stage was set. The stage offered some up and coming Welsh bands a chance to shine. The line-up included local boy Osian Hedd, with some low-down, dirty acoustic rock, Nos Sadwrn Bach, Cardiff ska inspired pop-punks, Rufus Mufasa, an up and coming drum and bass act, and Meibion Fred, with their own brand of brass tinged indie.

The main event for many was the Saturday night gig, headlined by the early nineties Welsh funk legends Hanner Pei, reunited for a rare gig. They were joined by two stalwarts of the Welsh rock scene, Mattoidz and Frizbee. Mattoidz opened the stage with their own brand of hard edged Feeder inspired pop rock, the song Zlist being one of the stand-out moments, with its catchy riff and shoutable chorus. Frizbee offered a softer, more poppy sound, with their nonstop touring obviously paying off as their set progressed, with most of the crowd joining in on the choruses to the bands most well known songs, such as the summery “Ti (Si Hei Lw).”

The party spirit was there to stay as Hanner Pei took to the stage for their hour and a half long set of funky goodness. The 8 piece, in one of their first gigs since their split in the early 90ies, rocked the house with some of their best, including “Mari Mari”, a fast paced, Hendrix inspired funky classic, and their most popular song of the night, “Boomshakaboomtang” a fusion of Parliament horn and some inspired lead guitar. The band returned for an encore, playing a improvised new song, perhaps a sign of more to come from the 80ies funkers.

More of Carwyn's photos from Bedrock '08 here.