Saturday brought warm weather and sunshine for most of the day, which kicked off at 1130 am with an open mic session for festival goers wishing to entertain. We were privileged, Her Worship the Mayor of Llandovery, Louise Wride opened the day, welcoming folk to this historic town.

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Fil Zeibicki, our winner from 2018 was the first of our acts to step on the stage. Fil has had a busy year since winning the competition and in good Lazzmatazz tradition, the previous winner of the Welsh Connections / Lazzmatazz Songwriting Competition, always opens the festival program on the Saturday. Fil did not disappoint, playing a lively set with strong vocals we are now so familiar with.

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Marc Gordon, a good friend and sponsor of the ‘Runner Up Prize’ for our competition came next. Playing his own compositions with a fusion of blues and classical arrangements, Marc mellowed our audience in the sunshine.

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We were about to be in for a shock, but nobody knew, especially me. Until that is, Christian Arron Perry and Mia took to the stage. Arron played a few tunes solo and then, was joined by Mia. She is the youngest artist ever to perform at Lazzmatazz, being a tender age of twelve years. As I listened, my heart and soul were moved by this voice, echoing around the festival. As I looked around at the audience, everybody and I mean everybody was silent, transfixed by Mia’s performance. I think this young lady will go far, as the audience clearly agreed, by sharing a rapturous applause. And readers it was well deserved.

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Ronnie Three Chords, a blues guitarist in the style of Joplin was next. Ronnie played with his heart and soul and an appreciative audience shared their love.

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I thought the next act was a Canadian lumberjack, he looked like one and Candy Mountain, played with the strength and fortitude you might expect from a woodsman. Powerful earthy vocals with driving guitar and original compositions. A very strong performance.

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Following the Welsh Connections / Lazzmatazz Songwriting competition, it was to time for the chairman of our judges panel, Paul Nicholas to step up to the microphone. Paul is a seasoned performer, having played extensively in Europe and the UK. His passionate self penned compositions have received radio play globally. Fresh from the Tredegar Folk Festival. Paul did not disappoint, the audience transfixed by haunting vocals, moving lyrics and beautiful guitar playing.

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Our second local Llandovery act of the day, Will Jones stepped on the the Lazzmatazz stage with great confidence, one man and his strat! Playing a few covers and his own material, young Will is a promising young performer, giving one hundred per cent of himself. Fresh from a working holiday in Borneo, Frost and Rose approached the microphone. Harry Frost is a talented guitarist providing accompaniment for stunning vocals from Rose. Shades of Amy Winehouse, rattled in my head, and like Amy, Rose has an extensive vocal range, an incredibly hypnotizing set, not to be forgotten.

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Next up, the Glass Dolls, hailing from Swansea. This five piece band consists of Kelly Bolch on lead vocals with harmonies by Rhiannon Lewis, percussion from Andrew Griffiths, bass with Marvin Medwell, and lead guitar, Andrew Vorn. An incredible set that began on the main stage, but half way through, the heavens opened and ‘rain stopped play’. Within 15 minutes they were up and playing again on the main stage in the ballroom, all dry and snug, thanks to the speed and professionalism of Cariad, our stage management team. A spellbinding set and very well received by the audience. Another Swansea musician followed the Dolls. Christian Sayers, now playing solo after leaving Portraits some months ago. He is a sound performer with an excellent voice, accompanying himself on guitar. His set of self penned songs was powerful in every respect and one can see why he has been selected for the Voice!

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Finally, on Saturday night, our headliners The Fireside Family, with their theatrical show of self penned songs took to the stage. Harmonies, percussion and guitars blended hypnotically and the audience were mesmerized as was I.

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What a day of great fun, music and entertainment and what better way to end, than with a festival jam, that ended around 230 am. I have to be up at 730 to set up the Literary festival for tomorrow, Sunday…… hardly worth going to bed, but worth every minute.

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