Having been obliged to skip its 10th birthday bash last year, the Cowbridge Music Festival returns for 2021 with nine concerts across four venues in the well-heeled Vale Of Glamorgan town, plus some ‘fringe’ events in the form of Jazz Suppers at the Bear Hotel and, hopefully, performances in local care homes.
Cowbridge is fairly short on live music of any description for most of the year, which makes the efforts of the team behind this festival all the more worthwhile since its debut in 2010. The setup very much acknowledges that this is still a ‘pandemic era’ – which, without getting into the whys and wherefores, not everyone is doing – so performers will play their set twice per evening, at 5pm and 7.30pm, to socially distanced audiences in reduced capacity rooms. (The one exception to this is Sat 16 Oct’s Family Concert, at 11am in the theatre of Cowbridge Comprehensive School. Tickets are £10, or free for kids and students, although it’s now all booked up.) The number of tickets available is lower overall, so the Festival are keen that you book in advance.
The Cowbridge Music Festival programme has traditionally favoured classical performances with some jazz and folk here and there, and this holds in 2021. London quintet Hot Club Of Jupiter, regular visitors to these parts over the years, will get the Duke Of Wellington pub jumping (actual jumping likely forbidden) with their Django Reinhardt-style uptempo gypsy jazz on Sat 2 Oct. Closing the festival in Cowbridge School on Sat 16, meanwhile, is widely liked jazz vocalist Clare Teal, doing ‘songbook’ standards with a piano/bass/drums trio. Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, whose fusion of Welsh harp and Senegalese kora is as familiar a presence in Wales as a wet weekend, light up the Holy Cross Church on Sun 3 – again, however, already sold out.
That leaves us to flag up an opening concert on Fri 1 Oct by the Feinstein Ensemble, a London period nonet tackling Bach and Vivaldi this evening; readings of Dvorák and Mendelssohn string pieces by fellow Londoners the Piatti Quartet on Fri 8; north Wales pianist Luke Jones occupying the Young Artist’s Recital slot on Sun 10; and cello/piano duo Camille Thomas & Julien Brocal on Fri 15.
Various venues, Cowbridge, Fri 1-Sat 16 Oct. Tickets (per concert): £15/£1 children and students. Info: 01446 773824 / www.cowbridgemusicfestival.co.uk
words NOEL GARDNER
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