BRIEF HISTORY OF GRAIGAID
Back in the dark distant days of Yore (2001) a quaint village pub had a Sunday music night. Much merriment was brought forth and beer drunk. Matt the gentleman Irish landlord would open his house to many stray musicians who helped themselves to his hospitality and entertained the assembled locals.
One such itinerant muso was Charlie Goodfellow, custodian of the soul torch and leader of a gang known as “GOODFELLAS”.
The THREE PIGEONS was too small to host all ten GOODFELLAS at once so a plan was hatched to hold a small concert outside the pub.
…And so the festival was born. A trailer was purloined and a group of maybe 150 people sang, drank and danced late into the night, entertained by seven bands on the car park.
Everyone said “ success,” Matt said “enough” and promptly sold the pub to Morton, who being a local bon vivour, immersed himself in pub culture and set the festival on its way by purchasing a trailer for a stage and mowing the field.
This blissful arrangement continued (not without tension) for three years, over a hundred different acts appeared. From hard-core grunge to the solo folk singers. All the acts contributing their services for minimum fee (usually free beer and a burger).Oh those heady days!
Then disaster…..Morton and the lovely Heather sold the pub.
A change of landlord, fresh ideas meant a move into town, the council granted the license for Cae Ddol and so new problems to solve, but solve we did, years 05 and 06 being artistic triumphs in the face of changeable weather and increased alcoholic intake.
An invitation from the council to run one night music events in the newly refurbished Ruthin Gaol resulted in Gaolhouse Rock being born and the old exercise yard became our home until 2010.
A year’s break was then taken to regroup and hopefully locate a suitable venue for a weekend festival but after many false starts in late 2011, the Three Pigeons changed hands again…..
A chat with the new owners, much real ale and red wine later and a deal was done.
Committed volunteers run the festival and the aim is to put on a great event and raise money for local charities.
Traditionally we supported the same charities each year, St Kentigern’s Hospice, Hope House, Nightingale House and Ruthin Community Hospital. We give as generously as profits allow to St Johns Ambulance/first responders for being on duty at each event. We have also given to local schools and thank you donations to the Rugby and Football clubs for their valued assistance. Recently donations have been split between local health and music charities. In 2017 Graig Aid funded the Graigfechan defibrillator.
While we are at it a big thanks to Huw Howatson and Terry and Sam, from the Feathers, who have saved us more than once.
Since its inception we have given donations totaling in excess of £80,000, not bad from a drunken conversation.