Music and culture festivals in Wales

Feed your mind, body and soul at one of the dozens of festivals taking place across Wales this year. We’ve got events featuring adventure sports, literature, music, comedy and much more, so there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

For aquatic action

Glass Butter Beach – Abersoch, 13–15 July

Celebrate our Year of the Sea at an event combining the windswept watersport of wakeboarding with sets from some of the hottest names in dance and alternative music. Returning in style after a year off in 2017, expect this to be the biggest and best edition yet, with five music stages, street food market and skateboard competitions complementing the action out on the water.

Beach Sculpture Festival 2018

Various beach locations, Swansea - 25-29 July

It wouldn't be the Year the Sea without a sandcastle competition! Although, when we say 'sandcastles', we actually mean 'amazing temporary beach structures' made with help from professional artists... Bring a hat, sunscreen and a bucket and spade. While you're in the area, explore the Coastal Path between Mumbles and Rhossili and discover 'Sculpture on the Coast', a special way-marking sculpture trail which will link in with all the beach workshops.

Really Welsh

Two Gorsedd trumpeters playing the Corn Gwlad horns

Trumpeters playing a fanfare on the Corn Gwlad, National Eisteddfod of Wales

 by Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru

National Eisteddfod – Cardiff, 3–11 August

The travelling celebration of Welsh music, language and culture lands in the capital this year, bringing with it thousands of competitors from across the country. They’ll be taking part in Welsh language contests of poetry and song, culminating in the atmospheric Gorsedd of the Bards, a colourful ceremony honouring the achievements of Welsh poets and prose writers. Everyone’s invited, so don’t be put off if you aren’t a Welsh speaker - though you can take part in an onsite Welsh language lesson if you really want to make sense of it all!

Go green

Green Man 2017 - Green Man effigy.

Green Man Festival by Olivia Williams
Green Man Festival, Crickhowell, 16–19 August

Once a tiny folk event attended by just a few hundred people, Green Man has grown to be one of the can’t-miss fixtures of the summer festival season. Now welcoming more than 15,000 visitors every year, the line-up reflects the attendees’ varied tastes. Whether you’re a fan of twinkly indie, traditional folk, pulsating garage rock or ear-melting electronica, there’s probably something on the bill for you. Already confirmed for this year’s outing are 60s-influenced harmonists Fleet Foxes, Grammy-snaffling guitar-slingers The War on Drugs and anarchic psyche warriors The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

What’s your number?

Group of adults watching a band perform by the estuary in Portmeirion at Festival No.6

Band performing at Festival No.6, Portmeirion, North Wales

Festival No. 6, Portmeirion, 6–9 September

Once the setting for brain-bendingly psychedelic mystery series The Prisoner, the fantasy village of Portmeirion on the North Wales coast is now the backdrop for one of the UK’s best-loved boutique festivals. Wandering through the town’s storybook jumble of tiny candy-coloured houses and hidden gardens is an experience in itself, but the music definitely lives up to the location. This year, festival-goers will be treated to sets from Google-proof post-punks The The and Caledonian art-rockers Franz Ferdinand, among others.

The great outdoors

Group of violinists playing by stalls.

The Good Life Experience, Hawarden, North Wales

The Good Life Experience, 14-15-16 September

Set on the Flintshire estate of 19th century Prime Minister William Gladstone, the Good Life Festival is the brainchild of broadcaster and performer Cerys Matthews and husband Steve Abbott, along with farmers and authors Charlie and Caroline Gladstone. Its broad remit is to go in search of the good life – and along with the staples of music, food and drink, it also features butchery displays and axe throwing. But not at the same time.  

Capital music

Sŵn logo burnt onto a piece of wood

Sŵn Festival, Cardiff by Steve Malpass

SŴN Festival, Cardiff, October dates TBC

An urban music festival which takes place across numerous venues across Cardiff. The emphasis is very much on emerging talent, so you’ll see tribes of indie kids traipsing excitedly from one place to the next in search of the next big thing, bringing a unique buzz to the capital city. 

You might have missed these big hitters this year, watch out for them next year!

Wales International Harp Festival – Caernarfon, April

Machynlleth Comedy Festival – Machynlleth, May

HowTheLightGetsIn – Hay-on-Wye, May

Hay Literary Festival – Hay-on-Wye, May

Gottwood - Anglesey, June

To find out about all the festivals and events in wales this year, head to our What’s on page.