This is a blogpost which I originally wrote for the Guardian Cardiff blog here http://gu.com/p/2t2xf/tw
Sun shines on Llanrumney Festival
Guest blogger Keith Phillip Jones reports on the day’s events and ponders the uncertain future for the venue
The weekend saw large numbers of festival goers gather under the blazing sun at the Rumney Recreation Ground for music, fairground rides, sport and community celebration.
By the time that Linda Bartlett, Chair of the Llanrumney Community Forum, opened the festival on Saturday morning, people of all generations were already streaming onto the site. Festival goers made their way to the Eastern Leisure Centre for the fairground, a myriad of stalls and to secure a place under the shade of the parkland’s trees.
The highest profile attendee of the weekend was the popular local MP Alun Michael – the former First Secretary of Wales, was recently re-elected to parliament for the sixth time to represent the people of Llanrumney within the constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth. The always sartorially immaculate Alun Michael, to the delight of festival goers, wore a ‘Save Rumney Rec’ campaign t-shirt as he toured the festival site.
Cardiff Council propose to seek planning permission to cite east Cardiff’s new English medium secondary school on part of the Llanrumney Festival site at the Rumney Recreation Ground. Council leaders have asserted that finances dictate that they are unable to build the school on any of the three possible school sites in east Cardiff.
Addressing the festival Alun Michael reaffirmed his determination to save Llanrumney’s parkland. He said:
“In January I submitted an application to Cardiff Council to have this site designated village green status. Look around you. This parkland is at the heart of the community. I call on people of all political parties and people of none to support our fight to save the Rumney Recreation Ground for future generations.”
His remarks were greeted with hearty applause and the MP mingled with people to field their questions.
The numerous stalls that circled the site were doing brisk trade. Marion Cooper, a stall holder, a Llanrumeny resident for decades was enjoying the day.
“It’s been wonderful. Beautiful weather, a great atmosphere and everybody is happy,”
she said. Local Llanrumney councillors were keeping busy in various tents. Councillor Derrick Morgan was helping run the festival’s raffle whilst Councillor Jacqueline Parry was applying face paint to queues of children. Another popular stall was the campaign group RREEL (Rumney Recreation and Eastern Leisure Centre Action Group) with all profits going to the legal fund to defend the parkland from development.
As the Chair of the Llanrumney Community Forum, Linda Bartlett, looked across the festival site she allowed herself a moment of reflection on the achievements of the committee that she leads. She said:
“It is very satisfying to see the people of Llanrumney enjoying themselves and coming together in large numbers. They are fantastic people and this weekend belongs to them.”
The Llanrumney Community Forum, based at the John Reynolds Centre, is a group of residents and organisations, who work together to do things for Llanrumney. Anyone living or working in Llanrumney can get involved. Present activities include, Cuppa with a Copper, Computer classes, indoor bowls and street dance classes.
As the last festival goers left for home and the festival site was being dismantled it was hard to escape wondering where the people of Llanrumney will gather next year.
Keith Phillip Jones, is a Llanrumney boy through and through. He says: “My maternal Grandparents moved to Llanrumney in 1954, as it was being built, from Canton with their two young children. I live in Llanrumney trying to be the best father I can to my two year old son William.” He is @GreatSociety64 on Twitter.