PLANNING an outdoor musical festival means juggling a lot of balls. You’ll need to arrange bands, vendors and the venue, as well as marketing and selling tickets to the event. Then you have to start praying it doesn't rain.

At Hawarden's Good Life Experience, however they do things a little differently. When I visit the site on the Hawarden Estate, a few days before the festival kicks off, all the usual preparation is going on with stages being erected, lighting rigged up and hi-vis jackets everywhere. I even see a grand piano being delivered but what I didn't expect to see was two men building a huge dry-stone wall right in the middle of the festival site.

Based in Llanfair Talhaiarn, Xander Robertson and Sion Rogers are artisan masons, who through their company Carreg Elwy, specialise in dry stone walling and restoration of listed buildings.

"We were invited here to build a project and Charlie (Gladstone, co-organiser of Good Life) has pretty much given us free reign," explains Xander."I got into building dry stone walls by accident really because an ex-girlfriend's dad did it and I've been doing it for seven years now.

"You have to watch so many different people do it because everyone has a different way of building so learning off one person doesn't always help because they might not have the best way of doing it."

Dry stone walls are a prominent feature of North Wale’s landscape. These walls of stacked-up stones constructed without mortar binding are inescapable when walking through the countryside. For centuries they have stood to mark boundaries, enclose land, keep pastures separate and provide a habitat and shelter for wildlife and plants and they have become such an integral part of our countryside that we often take them for granted.

"As Carreg Elwy we wanted to do more decorative, sculptural work using dry stone walling," says Sion. "We get to travel quite a bit because people have nice project for us everywhere.

"This piece is more of an art project than a boundary wall," adds Xander. "It doesn't really have a purpose apart from just being itself."

North Wales, with its wide variety of rock types, has numerous different styles of wall, all built with essentially the same principles adapted to suit the local stone and needs with Xander and Sion using sandstone rocks from an old wall on the estate which had been torn down.

"You need a 3D imagination and be able to visualise size and space," laughs Sion. "You also need lots of patience and not mind the rain."

The pair will be demonstrating their craft throughout the weekend of the Good Life Experience along with dozens of other 'makers' from bow makers and spoon carvers to people working with clay, wood, wool and paper. Many of these will be on view in the Jwrnal Welsh Craft Tent where there will also be a selection of workshops to sign-up to throughout the weekend and a chance for everyone to have a go at making.

This year due to massive and repeated demand, The Good Life Experience festival is offering a limited number of Saturday entry day tickets to the festival, held on the grounds of the Hawarden Estate. Co-founded by Cerys Matthews, Steve ‘Abbo’ Abbott and The Gladstone family, the festival celebrates its fifth birthday this weekend with ‘Festival warm-up’ events also happening at The Glynne Arms in Hawarden including a BBQ in the courtyard on Thursday evening, and a gin tasting and smokehouse lunch menu on Friday which are both open to the public. Locals get a 10% discount and tickets can be bought in person at the Farm Shop and The Glynne Arms or online.

With Cerys’s musical credentials, performance and music plays a huge part of the festival, with artists hand-picked by Cerys herself across all genres, including iconic DJs Trevor Nelson and Norman Jay MBE, brave adventurer Ben Fogle, poet Hannah Jane Walker, pioneering grower Alice Holden, motivational designer and author Gavin Strange, Purple Ronnie creator Giles Andreae, social activist Joshua Coombes, who pounds the streets offering London’s homeless free haircuts and many more, with further names to be announced. Chester Pride will also mark their first year at The Good Life Experience by throwing a colourful Pride parade through the festival site.

Co-founder Charlie Gladstone adds: “At its core the festival can best be defined as The Search for The Good Life; a life that’s fulfilled and considered but is also fun and values the things that matter…. family, friends, a real connection with The Great Outdoors, books, proper food and drink, discovery, music that comes from the soul, great books, craft.

"All the things that don’t cost a great deal but that make life richer, more rewarding and better fun.

"The Good Life Experience festival is what we are all about here at the Hawarden Estate; discovery, adventure and The Great Outdoors. And this year, due to massive and repeated demand, we are offering a small number of Saturday Day entry tickets.

"These tickets will give the holder full access to the festival site from 10am - 2am so you can take in all the music, food, talks, workshops, lake activities and free fairground rides for the whole day, and continue to party on well into the night. We hope you can join us!"

The Good Life Experience starts on Friday, September 14 and runs through to Sunday September 16 at the Hawarden Estate, Flintshire. Tickets from