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Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Thursday, 12 August 2010 13:05 UK
Blaenau festival embraces the rain

Crowds in the rain at Big Brother Glyn Wise's results party
Children will be taught the rain dance in the morning

August bank holiday is often a wash-out, and Blaenau Ffestiniog is famous for its rain.

So locals have decided to embrace these two truths and will positively beckon the wet weather at their Festival of Rain (Gwyl Glaw), on 27 and 28 August.

"There wasn't enough commitment to hold Gwyl Car Gwyllt this year, so we've had another idea," said one of the organisers, Paul Thomas.

"It will be more of a carnival and fun day, but with bands playing in the evening, history talks, a flower festival in the church and a bit of acting.

"We've basically asked anyone with a skill or craft in Blaenau to come and take part."

The festival will kick off with a rain dance to entreat the heavens to open. Rehearsals take place at the Urdd building, Blaenau, on the next two weekends in August with help from Salsa Stiniog.

The hope is to have 200 people on the square, all doing the same dance to Blaenau Ffestiniog's anthem by famous Blaenau band Anweledig - Dawns y Glaw (The rain dance).

The rainfall should be mainly average so there is a good chance you may get a little bit of rain for the festival. Fingers crossed!
Behnaz Akhgar

"But even if it doesn't rain, we will have ways of making everyone wet," Paul warned. "So bring a raincoat, towel and dry shoes!"

On the Saturday there will be slate-splitting and dressing demonstrations, wood carving, games and an S4C crew to film children's TV show, Stwnsh.

"The theme is definitely water," explained Paul. "Children will have fancy dress to do with water, there'll be a decorating an umbrella competition and there's a strict dress-code to the gig in Cell on Saturday night - outdoor clothing only."

Cwmni Opera Cymru might struggle to find a water theme in their bare-bones rendition of Carmen at Ysgol y Moelwyn, but coordinator Sioned Young thinks they're providing a vital service nonetheless.

"All opera lovers in Gwynedd will be looking for somewhere to go Saturday, now there's no Faenol Festival," she said. "For just £4, you'll get the works in Blaenau!"

Blaenau Ffestiniog
There will be history talks on local characters and the theme of water

Paul said the Sunday is given over to the great outdoors, with kayaking and three organised walks for varying abilities.

"We're moving out of town to make the most of the surrounding mountains," he said.

So, what are the chances of the rain dance working?

"Blaenau Ffestiniog is indeed the wettest town in Wales," confirmed BBC Wales meteorologist, Behnaz Akhgar.

"The reason why they get so much rain is because it is on the western side of the mountains. So when the rain comes off the Atlantic Weather System it reaches Blaenau Ffestiniog first. As the air rises over Snowdonia it cools and condenses further, producing larger amounts of rain."

And her long-term forecast for the bank holiday?

"The emphasis is on mainly dry, bright and increasingly warm weather. The rainfall should be mainly average so there is a good chance you may get a little bit of rain for the festival. Fingers crossed!"



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