CHEPSTOW'S annual Wassail/Mari event - the most popular event in the town's winter calendar - has been cancelled this year, with organisers saying the event has become “a victim of its own success”.

The Wassail-Mari Lwyd includes the Welsh Mari Lwyd tradition and the English wassail, combined with a unique meeting of both sets of celebrants on Chepstow's Wye bridge, which straddles the border.

This year's event would have been held next weekend - but it has grown so much in popularity since it began 15 years ago, to the extent that organisers have pulled the plug while they ponder how best to reorganise it.

Mick Lewis, a member of the organising committee, said he is proud that they have built such a popular event, and confirmed the festival will return in 2021 after a period of “soul-searching”.

“Fifteen years ago we started with just one Mari Lwyd, and now we get over 30 turn up, along with hundreds of people,” Mr Lewis said.


“It became a health and safety concern because, even though it hasn’t happened yet, we felt that roads could get blocked and people might stop coming because the event was getting out of hand.

South Wales Argus:

Organiser Mick Lewis says more than 30 Mari Lwyds attended the event in 2019

“We want it to be a comfortable and enjoyable experience for those who come, and we feared this year that might not have been the case.”

Mr Lewis added that there will be a series of meetings during the coming year to ensure future Wassail/Mari events can handle the increase in numbers of people attending.

“We need to reorganise the format, but we will certainly be back next year and will be better than before,” he said.

“The decision (to cancel) has not been taken lightly - we are fully aware of the need to look after our traditions.

“I think this will give us time to refresh and make sure the event doesn’t become samey and lose the things that have made it so popular down the years.”