Laugharne Weekend saved as Porter and McBride join packed line-up

Laugharne Weekend saved as Porter and McBride join packed line-up

​Annual literary festival The Laugharne Weekend has been saved thanks to a crowdfunding appeal and assistance from the Welsh Assembly, with this year's festival boasting a packed line-up featuring authors such as Max Porter and Eimear McBride. 

In December the festival appealed for cash after being denied funding from Arts Council Wales (ACW) for the first time in the event's 12-year history in a dispute over funding guidelines sparking fears for the event's future. 

Donations from artists including New Order and folk singer Shirley Collins poured in after co-founders John Williams and Richard Thomas launched a crowdfunding campaign. 

In a statement they said: "We raised over £5,000 in the first couple of weeks purely on word of mouth. We received donations from festivalgoers and artists alike, musicians as diverse as the folksinger Shirley Collins and the New Order duo Stephen and Gillian Morris put their hands in their pockets. Our single largest donation came from a Welsh actor who prefers to remain anonymous." 

Subsequently the Welsh Assembly stepped in with further support.

Williams and Thomas said: "'So many Laugharne Weekend festival goers and artists who have performed over the years stepped up with generous crowdfunding pledges. We don’t think there is a festival like it anywhere else in the country and we’re very happy that so many people, including the Welsh Assembly agree with us."

This year's event will now take place from 27th to 29th March with a line-up featuring Max Porter, Eimear McBride, Elizabeth MacNeal and Ray Antrobus.

Photographer Martin Parr will make a rare appearance, there will be a festival-first screening of the Turner-winning artist Jeremy Deller’s exploration of the acid house scene "Everybody in the Place"’, with an introduction and Q&A with the artist and Cold War Steve in conversation with fellow visual satirist and resident Laugharne graffiti artist Martin Rowson.

Porter will be accompanied by musicians in an immersive event built around his Booker-longlisted Lammy. Other leading authors include Christie Watson, Duncan Campbell, Kate Spicer and Nathan Filer with poets including Brian Bilston and Luke Wright also taking part. 

On the music side, Tracey Thorn, Stephen Morris, Amy Rigby and Richard King will lead the way discussing their new books and there will be live music performances from folk singer Martin Carthy, Wreckless Eric, Grace Petrie and David McAlmont. Comedians Susan Murray, Robin Ince, Carys Eleri, Nick Revell and Henry Normal have also joined the line-up and Keith Allen will once again host Laugharne’s Got Talent—a free-for-all karoke for punters and artists alike.