Road trip part two – live music in rural Pembrokeshire

We’d had a great time at Didmarton Bluegrass Festival and intended to head to Cornwall to continue our camping trip before taking in our next festival at Newquay. But after catching up with lots of our lovely friends from Wales, we were persuaded to put the Gower Bluegrass Festival on our calendar (7-9thSeptember). That left us with a few free days and by great good fortune we ended up at Newport, Pembrokeshire, a truly lovely spot.  Our campsite was right by the beach and fate smiled upon us, giving us fine September weather after this dampest of British summers.

As well as paddling in the sea, walking the coastal path and sampling the delights of the local Pant Mawr cheese maker and the Gwaun Valley Brewery, we were unable to go more than a couple of days without our live music fix! As bluegrass band Cedar Hill (who we’d just seen at Didmarton) were playing only a few miles away at The Old Post Office, Rosebush, it was a great opportunity to check out this tiny venue in the heart of rural Pembrokeshire. I had already heard about this place (a local restaurant & bar which also puts on live music) and wanted to experience it for myself. It’s great to know that live music continues to flourish in small community venues around the UK, especially in these straitened economic times.

Ruth Garlick Ridgewell and her team at the Old Post Office work together with Guy Johnson of Pembrokeshire Intimate Gigs to put on a varied programme of musicians here, both from the UK and USA. On this occasion however, the concert was arranged by my friend Roland Emmanuel, a well-known figure in the UK bluegrass community, who would also be hosting Cedar Hill at the Gower festival the following weekend. The Old Post Office was packed almost to capacity (with around 40 concert-goers!) and there was a great festive atmosphere as the band played, without PA, just a couple of feet in front of the rows of chairs. Cedar Hill treated us to two varied sets of tunes and songs (mostly their originals) interspersed with the trademark patter of patriarch and band leader, Mr Frank Ray. It was definitely a special night, with the up-close-and-personal nature of the gig seeming to give Cedar Hill additional reserves of energy. All power to The Old Post Office and the music lovers of North Pembrokeshire; I hope to return for another concert one day.