A four day town takeover of Redruth celebrated Cornish culture and its Celtic connections at the weekend with hundreds of people taking part in the annual celebration. 

More than 500 ticket holders attended dance workshops, a Cornish music symposium and three nights of evening entertainment at Redruth School across the festival weekend with children attending all of the action for free.

Whilst a line up of free daytime entertainment saw international acts like Breton band PLACK and a Scottish highland dance troupe take to stages in multiple locations throughout the historic mining town. 

A family ceilidh in Market Hall with Cornish band Whippletree got all generations involved in the traditional dance which translates to social gathering. 

Kicking off with the Thriving Traditions Showcase a line up of new local talent including poetry from The Cornish Poet Taran Jenkin-Spalding, music from Richard Trethewey inspired by Cornwall’s waterways and Finley Ward one of the youngest performers on Lowender’s 2023 line up took to the stage.

Female shanty group Kana and Cornish dance and music group Kekezza also performed on the first night. 

It was a sell out year for dance and music workshops as festival attendees learnt new techniques on the fiddle and guitar accompaniment as well as how to dance in the Manx, Scottish highlands style and wearing Welsh clogs too. 

Across Redruth 13 locations to took part in the festivities like Kresen Kernow who joined in to hold the Cornish Music Symposium dialling in internationally on live  conversations discussing the diaspora of Cornish music as miners travelled throughout the world and St Andrews Church played host to Mike O’Connor OBE and Barbara Griggs and their medieval storytelling saga.

Paying homage to Cornish folklore and the full moon upon which the festival fell local fest noz band Bagas Fellyon got the audience involved in an immersive storytelling event inspired by Hender the Huntsman.

Mischievous characters encircled the ceilidh as Bagas Fellyon told the Cornish tale timed with music. 

Saturday night headliners AVANC: The Youth Folk Ensemble of Wales travelled down with their 12 piece set to play folk songs unearthed from ancient manuscripts, fused with their modern twist. Bringing with them new ceilidh dances the young musicians also filled the venue with the sound of the harp, accordion, fiddle and bagpipe.

To bring a taste of Celtic Breton friends of the festival served up traditional homemade crepes and galettes during the event whilst cider from Brittany was shared by many during the Cornish and Celtic festivities. 

 But it wasn’t all music and dance; Cornish wrestling demonstrations allowed the public to get stuck in with Omdowl Kernewek, Cornwall’s traditional martial art and the national Shinty league took place on the Redruth School playing fields. Teams from across the Celtic nations travelled to play the exhilarating game.

Jowdy Davey, Lowender trustee, said: “We had a bryntin (brilliant) time at Lowender Celtic Festival 2023! Cornish language, Celtic song and many a ceilidh was danced during the four day celebration and we are really pleased that so many people new and old could come and take part in our event that prides itself on cultural exchange.

"Organising the festival and line up is a big undertaking as Lowender is completely volunteer led so we’d like to thank everyone that took part in this year’s celebration including the 300 odd performers, countless volunteers and one of our largest ever audiences,” Jowdy added. 

Whilst the annual festival is over there are still ways people can get involved with Lowender throughout the year including the monthly Lowender Cornish and Celtic Music Sessions in St Rumons bar Redruth, special events that take place throughout the year and for young people the new ‘Perghenegi’ pilot programme.  

The 2023 Lowender Celtic Festival held the first ‘Perghenegi’: Youth Takeover Session which was the launch of the pilot ‘Perghenegi’ programme. Inspired by AVANC, Wales' National Youth Folk Ensemble, Lowender hope to facilitate space and learning opportunities for young people interested in getting into folk and traditional Cornish music to form a similar version here in Cornwall.

Jowdy said: “We’re really excited for the future of Lowender as an organisation and this includes nurturing the next generation of musicians and performers to be a part of the Cornish and Celtic music scene. Working with schools and local musicians we believe the ‘Perghenegi’ pilot programme will provide wonderful opportunities for young people in Cornwall.”