'DREAMS, Divination and Devotion: Exploring the Ancient Druids of Britain and Gaul', is the subject of this year’s Hallstatt lecture during the Machynlleth Festival at 1pm on Wednesday, August 21.

They are pleased to be able to welcome the archaeologist and academic, Prof Miranda Aldhouse-Green, who will be delivering an illustrated talk exploring the role of the druids in ancient Gallo-British society.

The talk will focus particularly on the druid’s principal function: using arcane ritual practices in order to act effectively as intermediaries between the earthly and spirit worlds.

Aldhouse-Green is a former president of The Prehistoric Society, an international learned society devoted to the study of the human past from the earliest times until the emergence of written history.

Her research interests are largely based in Iron age, Romano-Celtic, and particularly Gallo-Roman iconography, and sacrificial activities. Universities UK cited Aldhouse-Green’s research into understanding the Celts as one of the ‘100 major discoveries, developments and inventions,’ by academics throughout the UK to have transformed the world in the last 50 years.

On until Sunday, August 25, the Festival opens on Sunday, August 18, with the traditional free Cymanfa Ganu festival of congregational singing under the direction of choral conductor Alwyn Evans, at 7.30pm.

All events are held at the Tabernacle Arts Centre with a mix of lunchtime and evening concerts and events.

Opening events will continue on Monday, August 19, at 1pm, with a concert by four of the pupils of music tutor Eirian Owen, with a Soloists concert by tenors Rhys Meirion and Aled Wyn Davies, and soprano Meinir Wyn Roberts at 7.30pm.

Tuesday has the free concert for children at 1pm, targeting the younger age group with characters from an S4C children’s show as local artist Aeron Pughe portrays the pirate Ben Dant.

The 7.30pm Welsh male voice choir concert features Cor Godre’r Aran with tenor soloist and operatic theatre star Trystan Llyr Griffiths.

On Wednesday, August 21, there will be a free open air concert outside the Wynnstay Hotel with a traditional Welsh harp and folk band, Welsh songs, plus international sounds from the klezmer band She’Koyokh who will be playing the evening concert at 7.30pm.

One of the stars of the 2018 Last Night of the Proms, the brilliant young saxophonist Jess Gillan, plays the Thursday lunchtime concert on August 22; and the French/Belgian cellist Camille Thomas joins festival director and pianist Julius Drake for the evening concert.

The closing weekend includes masterclasses by the great dramatic soprano Dame Anne Evans, and the awarding of the 2019 Glyndŵr Award for an Outstanding contribution to the Arts in Wales to the Welsh artist, Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

Details and tickets are available from the box office on 01654 703355 or the website at moma.machynlleth.org.uk