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A Day Out in Dolgellau

Updated: May 26

Earlier this month, an excitable group of Merseybats left the hustle and bustle of city life in exchange for a quaint day out in the idyllic Welsh countryside town of Dolgellau for its annual carnival; celebrated by locals for over 30 years. This year it was held on Saturday 11th May 2024.


Batala Galez


We were blessed with glorious sunshine, which was welcome after months of torrential rain, promising to make the day even more spectacular. Hosted by Batala Galez (Galez is the Welsh form of Wales), Batala Mersey were invited to join them to lead the parade around the town centre. The streets were lined with happy, smiling faces, children with ice creams and an impressive array of fancy dress costumes.





The Parade


As the rhythmic samba reggae beats rippled across the crowd they harmonised with tapping feet and clapping hands, smiles widening and energy building as they soaked up the energy. We paraded through narrow streets accompanying decorated floats, the local Fire Brigade, smurfs, rockers and an ever increasing crowd attracted by sunshine, music and cheer.





Village Fete


After the parade, a short but welcome break was taken to enjoy the local ice cream and then we headed into the main field where there was a DJ, face painting, fairground rides, stalls and adorable donkeys. We all revelled at being able to close out the Winter and welcome Spring and Summer with traditional Welsh community fun; playing a static set to add to the ambience.





Cefn Rodyn Residential Home


We concluded the day with a beautiful appearance by residents of Cefn Rodyn Residential Home. They escorted the carnival creating a very colourful Cefn Rodyn Cartel. For those who were unable to make their way into the town for the festivities, they didn't miss out, we took the party to them!


They were joined by their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren along with staff who were extremely welcoming. We had the honour of chatting to the families before playing a small set in the garden. A really special bonus saw every generation grabbing make shift instruments out of whatever was nearby to join in with us! The best grand finale we could never have predicted, culminating in us all playing as one. The whole ethos of Batala is one drum, one love and the reason we love what we do. We were all truly united.





Acknowledgements


Batala Mersey extend sincere thanks to Lisa the Musical Director at Batala Galez for inviting us to be part of this special event. We would also like to thank the players at Batala Galez for welcoming us, we had a truly wonderful and memorable day of performing.


Thank you to Michelle Jackson, Batala Mersey for providing the narrative.


Thank you to the community of Dolgellau and staff and residents of  Cefn Rodyn Residential Home for your warm welcome and use of your photographs.



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