Miskin is a small village , near Llantrisant in South Wales. The Miskin Arms, situated in the heart of the village had long been a favorite spot for visiting Dance Sides. Perhaps due to the relaxation of licensing laws allowing afternoon drinking in city pubs, interest seemed to wane and like many country pubs trade dropped.
When Yas took our son, Toby, to scouts in Miskin Scout Hall, she would while away a moment or two chatting to Mac and Di in the comfort of the pub. Yas then had the great idea of trying to rekindle some interest in a few sessions. She promptly rang around a few local musicians who then got together for occasional music sessions in the bar. This then became the logical place to wind down at the end of the Llantrisant Folk Festivals, run by Mick Tems in those days. When the Llantrisant Folk Festival ceased to be, there was a hole in the calendar on the last weekend in April. By now the pub had become a popular session meeting place, and the dancers who had become regular at the Festival were keen to carry on the tradition. Mike Greenwood, who gathered and organised the dance side of Llantrisant Festival and myself, who was just keen, decided to keep the spirit of the Llantrisant Festivals alive and carry on at Miskin.
The first year it gained the title of Reunion, as it was really a meeting place for friends, old and new. Since then, although the official title may have changed, the happy, relaxed feeling throughout the weekend is still the same. In 1996 we gained the use of the local Miskin Mill Scout Village for camping. Although there are only a few intrepid souls willing to take to the canvas at this time of year, it gave us much needed room as our gardens and floors were getting fuller every year. For the following two years we had the use of more Mill facilities, most notably The Cottage. Stone built and about the size and shape of a small church, the acoustics are just wonderful. The voices just ring and the choruses go on for ever! With the addition of a small bar, we really did feel at home. With the, ever useful, Scout Hut just across the car park for the evening Ceilidhs, this is an ideal small festival site.
Having such helpful Hosts as Mac and Di, we also held much smaller Winter Warmers", just a pub song and tune weekend, although a few dance sides always seemed to find room to dance in the warm.
At the end of 1999 the Miskin Arms was sold and extensively changed. This was the cue for the next expansion - we secured the use of the entire Miskin Scout Village Site as well as the Scout Hall.The small bar we had provided previously at the Mill was replaced by a much more extensive bar within the Mill proper providing a wide choice of quality real ales. Transforming the Mill into our own bar and lounge aptly named Nelly Dean's, created the perfect setting for music and song sessions. During Easter 2003 the bar was officially renamed "Barkers Bar" in memory of our good friend Ray Barker who passed from us in 2002.
The purpose built kitchens in the Mill allowed us to provide full catering throughout the weekend. The changes and additions prompted both by the changes at the Miskin Arms and the move to Easter weekend proved so successful that we thought Miskin at Easter would become a regular fixture.
Unfortunately the Foot and Mouth crisis meant the cancellation of
this event for 2001. Instead the Winter Warmer was re-instated as bigger
event than usual with the same atmosphere as Easter (without the eggs
All back to normal for 2002 with a highly succesful Miskin at Easter once again.
When the pressure of camping became almost the breaking point we were lucky enough to get the use of a suitable field just up the road. Plenty of room for caravans tents and the ever present mass of cars. Many thanks to Kevin and family for help beyond the call with allowing us on in the firsat place and then spending much of the weekend towing people either on or off his field!! Kevin has seen sense now and has other plans for his land. For a while I thought it would be the end of Miskin as we know it as I had grewat difficulty finding a suitable nearby field. Oh ye of little faith...the Miskin Effect took over and what have we now? Only the field next door to the Mill, that's all!! Have a look here
I have tried to absorb the slowly growing numbers while maintaining the original intimate feel of the weekend. Although we no longer venture "off site" for dancing or processions, these remain an important feature. We now have a choice of two concert venues during both main days, with almost endless sessions of song and music in various locations.
If you study the guest list over the years you will see that many are almost permanent fixtures. The list of people wanting a "spot" at Miskin is endless as well. I have still to find the answer to that one, leave it with me!With our real ale bar and home cooked catering we really are making the best use of the wonderful facilities at the Mill
I would like to thank the new lady in my life, Jillie who for nearly five years now has put up with my incessant natter about Miskin all year long!