North Wales to stage major new outdoor adventure festival at Bala

22 March 2017

A major new outdoor festival combining adventure sports and live music will be launched in North Wales this summer.

The Snowdonia Outdoor Festival will be staged on the picturesque shores of Llyn Tegid at Bala on the weekend of August 11 and 12 and is expected to attract up to 10,000 people.

According to the organisers, it was the perfect location for the event because North Wales had already developed a reputation as the adventure capital of Europe and had been named among the top places in the world to visit in 2017 in Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel list.

The event will be held on a site at Gwern Hefin Farm and is the brainchild of top live events organisers Brand Events, the company behind the spectacularly successful Keswick Mountain Festival which will be held for the 11th time this June.

They are also involved in car, food and craft shows across the UK and involving stars such as Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, and property and handicrafts queen Kirstie Allsopp.

The new event has been welcomed by Bala Business Association whose vice-chair Heledd Roberts, who has a photography business in the town, said: “We would definitely welcome the event which will boost the local economy.

“The after effect will be important too as it will put Bala even more on the map and events like this are vital because we don’t have any tourist offices in the county.

“Because we’re surrounded by mountains and water this kind of festival is perfect.

“We’ve got the biggest natural lake in the country on our doorstep, we’ve got mountains and scenic views, footpaths and trails for hikers and mountain bikers and all in the most natural environment you could dream of.

“It is also important that it celebrates Wales and the Welsh language because that is the natural culture of the area and visitors enjoy that experience too.”

Event Director Nicola Meadley, of Brand Events, said: “Keswick has been such a fantastic success and has shown that there is demand for this sort of family-friendly outdoor festival.

“We were looking for the right place to stage something and Bala just ticked all the boxes.

“It is set in Snowdonia in spectacular scenery on the shores of a lake so it can cater for a wide variety of outdoor sports, it has good access, great facilities, a range of accommodation and a track record of successfully staging major events like the National Eisteddfod.

“It is also a warm and welcoming place which offers a real cultural experience to visitors and we have tried very hard to be sensitive and responsive to the language and culture of the area.”

The event is being held on land at Gwern Hefin farm, close to the Urdd’s Glan-llyn Outdoor Activity Centre and just off the main A494 Bala to Dolgellau road with a main area where the stage will be set up and activities held as well as camping and parking areas.

Organisers are expecting 5,000 people each day, the majority camping for the weekend with a programme of outdoor sport competitions and taster sessions and live music from the afternoon until 10.30pm.

Campers will arrive on Friday, August 11, and there will be catering available as well as speakers and taster activities before the festival gets into full swing over Saturday and Sunday.

The sporting events will include trail runs over distances from three to 25 kilometres, open water swims on the lake, mountain bike races, a sportive – a mass participation cycle race - and a swim-run event.

The music lineup will be announced later this month but at the Keswick Mountain Festival headline acts have included KT Tunstall and Scouting for Girls backed by popular folk rockers the Peatbog Faeries plus Toploader and Bjorn Again so expectations are high.

Outdoor activities being organised on and off-site include hiking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, climbing, mountain biking with climbing walls and airbags set up and bushcraft talks and hands-on activities available.

The organisers are aiming for up to 3,500 campers staying on site with as many as 1500 people attending each day and staying or living locally.

Tickets will also go on sale at the end of the month with special concessions for local residents.

A family weekend camping pass will be £295 with individual passes at £120 for adults and £55 for children and with day passes for local adults and children as low as £35 and £14 and available from retailers in Bala – full details will be on the website.

Nicola Meadley added: “The Keswick Mountain Festival has been going for ten years and has been hugely successful and this is the model we want to replicate.

“We want to build festivals which will have lasting appeal and lasting benefit for the areas in which they are held. We also want to work with local suppliers and activity and accommodation providers to establish the event as part of the UK’s calendar of iconic festivals.”

Anyone interested in getting involved or receiving the very latest ticket information and offers should sign up to the Festival newsletter at www.snowdonia-outdoorfestival.co.uk

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