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The Good Life Experience

Pen Bar Lag: The Welsh Area

15 Aug, 2018

Pen Bar Lag: The Welsh Area


2018 is our fifth birthday, and this year we're going all out to make it the very best festival yet!

Pen Bar Lag. Ar Agor!

Cerys loves a pun. As some of you may know the Welsh name for our host village, Hawarden, is Pen Ar Lag. So this year we're opening a brand new Welsh Area called Pen Bar Lag: a bilingual den of iniquity and culture.

Cwrw = Beer, learn this as you are invited to try your hand at this ancient Celtic language. There'll also be Tales of the Mabinogion told over campfires, free clogging sessions, child (and those young at heart) song sessions in Welsh, plus calls to the wild from some great bards of Wales.

Festival co-founder Cerys Matthews has opened this bar, and wider craft area, as a nod to the legendary leader Llywelyn the Great who, on this very sod, the very footprint of The Good Life Experience festival, fought the English establishment. After all, the festival does lay in the border lands, hence our two castles!

It's an auspicious site, and we hope Llywelyn, wherever he is, approves and you do too! So join us, and grab your tickets here.

Here's a few of our highlights, we'll see you at the bar:


Michael Weston King hails from the English coastal town of Southport, 20 miles north of Liverpool, though it could be said he is a victim of geography.

He cut his teeth in bands on the fringes of the Liverpool post punk, new wave and power pop scene of the early 80’s until he discovered a deep-rooted love of Country and American folk music along with the jangle and twang of bands such as R.E.M. Green On Red and the new country sounds of Dwight Yoakham and Lye Lovett.

Aiming to try and fuse the Texan songwriting style of the likes of John Prine and Guy Clarke with the burgeoning No Depression sound of Uncle Tupelo and The Jayhawks he formed The Good Sons, who, from 1992-1999, made 4 critically acclaimed albums recording for Glitterhouse Records in Europe and Watermelon Records in Austin, Texas. They toured with, amongst many others, Joe Ely, Steve Earle, Joe Henry and Son Volt.

During this time Michael also met, toured and collaborated with Townes Van Zandt. The great songwriter who was to prove something of a mentor to him.

Townes duetted with Michael on the bands debut album Singing The Glory Down and later recording Michael’s song Riding The Range.

By album 3 a deal with Sire Records was in the offing but a combination of mis-management, a near fatal car crash and some sheer bad luck put paid to that.

“The British band that played alt. country before anyone knew what the hell it was, and who must rate as England’s very own Uncle Tupelo." -  MOJO


Oliver James Lomax is a 34 year old poet from Bolton now based in Manchester.

Last year he published his first collection, 18 Poems (published by Dylan’s Salubrious House Swansea) which was illustrated by artist Dan Llewellyn Hall. The book had two launches, one in South Wales at The Laugharne Festival and a northern launch at The Portico Library in Manchester.

He has been poet in residence at The Working Class Movement Library in Salford, working on poems based on The Peterloo Massacre, and on numerous occasions poet in residence with Dylan’s Book Bus at The Laugharne Weekend, Latitude Festival, Greenman Festival and The Goodlife Experience, performing alongside Fellow poets such as Roger McGough, Murray Lachlan Young and Mike Garry.

Oliver has also been poet in residence at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace and was commissioned to write a poem about his stay at the house.

He has read at The South Bank Centre as part of Guy Garvey’s Meltdown Festival in 2017 and more recently at The Do Not Go Gentle Festival with Luke Wright and Attila The Stockbroker. He has also read twice at Swansea University as part of the Vernon Watkins retrospective along side Simon Armitage and Daljit Nagra.

Recently he was commissioned to write a poem about the 53 Trees of the Western Road in Sheffield which featured on BBC’s The One Show.

He has just finished working on his second full collection which will be published in spring 2019

"Oliver is a great poet! Imagine a mix of Simon Armitage, Jarvis Cocker and Alan Bennet all rolled into one. He can do it all and he his definitely one to watch." - Jeff Townes


A folk quartet, Pentennyn mainly sing and play songs and melodies from the Welsh tradition but also from other origins. Pentennyn enjoy singing their lively arrangements of the familiar and new and are also an expert twmpath (barn dance/ceilidh) band. Many instruments, many voices, many traditions, Pentennyn are lively and entertaining.


"Adwaith are post-punk Gwenllian, Hollie & Heledd from Carmarthen and these girls have made a significant impression on the Welsh music scene in the three years they have been together." - BBC Horizons.

They'll be touring with fellow TGLE performer Gwenno in the Autumn, so keep your eyes peeled for tickets.

A weekend of discovery + adventure, music, food, books + the great outdoors