This year's Laugharne Weekend, Fringe Experience at the Tin Shed was 3 days jam packed full of sun, real ale and incredible live music. Ragsy, a singer/songwriter from the small welsh town, Aberdare, who is best known for being mentored by fellow welshman Tom Jones on BBC's The Voice, was the final act to grace the stage on Saturday evening. He gave a very special performance that left the whole crowd mesmerised.
I spoke to the kindhearted Ragsy about all things Laugharne Weekend, songwriting and his up-and-coming projects.
What was it like for you to perform at such an intimate venue like the Tin Shed?
"It was such a unique experience. Laugharne itself is a very small and quirky town and the Tin Shed is equally as quirky. Unlike other festivals and gigs there's no backstage room where we sit and wait before we perform. It’s really's nice to be able to get to know the people who are there to watch you perform on a personal level. When you play at such an intimate place, it feels like everyone knows each other and it did seem as though I was playing to family and friends which is something I really enjoyed!"
You said that it's nice to be able to speak to and get to know the audience throughout the weekend - it's a very unique festival where the artists and audience brush shoulders and can have a pint together whilst watching live music - from an artists point of view, how does that feel to be a part of?
"From an artists point of view it's something I thought that was really special. There are some gigs I’ve played that have stayed with me for years, and playing the Fringe Experience is something that I won't forget for a long time. To get to speak to the locals, the volunteers, Min and Seimon [events coordinator and Tin Shed Director] and everyone else who came along, isn't a luxury you have in most gigs and festivals. It's really something unique to Laugharne Weekend. And the beer was really good too!"
Ragsy - Dancing in the Dark live at the Tin Shed.
You were around for the majority of the weekend and got to see many different artists perform - were you impressed with the range of talent that the Fringe Experience had to offer?
"It wasn't just the range of talent that blew me away, it was the range of music and that special feeling that every artist brought something different to the stage. The Lost Tuesday Society, who were on before me, were incredible and have real talent, and then you have the totally different style of performers like the Jazzabelles, and it was just an absolute pleasure to not only be able to watch all these different acts perform but to share the stage with them too!"
An extremely humble man who's come a long way since appearing on BBC's The Voice with an incredible 2015 debut album, Ouch!!
Since being on BBC's The Voice, you've been through a lot of personal struggle which lead to the album Ouch!! A few years on, how are things looking for yourself in comparison to when you released the album?
"It's been a tough few years but that's what I love most about being a singer and songwriter. You get that release and it's very cathartic when you write and perform. When people can sit and listen to your music and are able to relate, it's what helps you push past struggles and grow not only as a musician but as a person too!"
Finally, what's next for Ragsy?
"I'm in the middle of working on a couple of new singles and 2 new EPs. It's a really busy year for me. I'll actually be releasing the EP in Welsh and in English. Obviously releasing the single Fy Hafan I in welsh, that was a whole new challenge for me as I've never been fluent. I'm learning something new each day and it's a big challenge. To complete the EP in both Welsh and English is going to be a whole new test, but one that I am truly enjoying and relishing."
You can see a full review of the Laugharne Weekend's Fringe Experience here.
© 2017 Rhys Russell