THE 13th CHEPSTOW Festival was launched at the weekend with the town's castle hosting a charity concert organised by Chepstow Rotary Club with performances from local school choirs.

This year for the first time the festival goers were kept dry under a new canopy which took nearly seven years of planning to become reality.

The canopy, which was completed this June, was funded by a number of grants from Europe, Monmouthshire Council, Chepstow Town Council and the Chepstow Festival committee.

On Saturday around 200 people were at Chepstow Castle to see The Singing Club and French Choir “La Farandole” from Chepstow’s twin town Cormeilles, Entente Cordiale perform at the Fun Picnic Lunch Concert.

Chepstow Town Cllr Ned Hayward who is also the chairman of the festival committee said: "It was amazing to be able to hold the event in the dry.

"The acoustics were great. Even if you were at the back you could still hear the voices clearly."

Also on Saturday was a family fun day held at Thornwell Football Club where bands such as Usual Suspects and singer Morgan performed. More than 150 people were at the event despite the weather. Chepstow Festival will continue over the next couple of weeks with eight professional theatre companies performing numerous plays from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

For more information on the festival go to