01 May 2018

Welsh music festivals - make this summer one to remember!

Wales’ annual festival calendar is flourishing. Whether its music, art, culture, comedy, food, crafts or simply escapism you’re after, there’s a festival for you in Wales this summer. But for music fans in particular the offering is especially rich and varied. And what’s even more special about Welsh music festivals is just how full of heart they are, providing revellers with the type of intimate, community spirit you’ll struggle to find at large-scale commercial events elsewhere in the UK.

So to discover the Welsh music festivals that will give you all the feels this summer, read on…

HowTheLightsGetIn, Hay-On-Wye – 25-28 May 2018

The Hat tent with people outside.

HowTheLightGetsIn, Hay on Wye, Wye Valley by HowTheLightGetsIn
One of the first events on the annual Welsh festival calendar HowTheLightGetsIn brings together eclectic music, comedy, circus performances, passionate debate and much more, in the cultural heart of Wales, Hay-on-Wye. Its name comes from the Leonard Cohen lyric: “there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in”, which reflects the open-mindedness the event organisers encourage in guests throughout the weekend. So while you might spend the day engrossed in philosophical debate about issues affecting our lives, by night you’ll be losing your inhibitions and dancing like no one is watching at one of the many parties on site. Will you head to the converted church, the masked ball, or to the river to dance until dawn? Whatever you choose, this is one epic way to start the summer season. 

Gottwood, Anglesey– 7-10 June 2018

The Treehouse stage at Gottwood with crowds dancing in front.

Gottwood, Anglesey by Gottwood
A hidden gem of the Welsh festival scene, Gottwood is an independent, underground affair dedicated to electronic and dance music. Tucked away inside a forest, on the shores of a lake off the coast of Holyhead, Gottwood’s festival site is stunning by anyone’s standards. By day festival-goers relax soaking up stunning lakeside views, while night time sees the forest come alive creating a magical little hideaway for music lovers to dance until sunrise. Offering the best house, techno and disco acts, despite its intimate feel, Gottwood boasts ten different stages to appeal to every taste on the electronic spectrum. 

Glass Butter Beach, Abersoch - 13-15 July 2018

Crowd in front of a stage at night.

Glass Butter Beach, Abersoch, North Wales by Glass Butter Beach
Based on the green fields and sandy beaches of Llanbedrog, next to the popular surf village of Abersoch on the stunning Llŷn Peninsula, Glass Butter Beach is regarded as the pinnacle music and watersports festival in Wales. With Cardigan Bay as its backdrop, the area’s micro-climate and sheltered bays make for perfect festival conditions for a long weekend of surfing, beach volleyball, wakeboarding, stand up paddleboarding and skateboarding. Glass Butter Beach alumni include Kodaline, Wolf Alice and Katy B, which give you a taste of the calibre of acts you can expect to see. With beach tiki bars, surfing lessons and campfire sessions all available to ticket holders, this festival is the ideal summer soiree for those who love feeling the sand between their toes. 

Green Man - Brecon Beacons – 16-19 August 2018 

Crowds gathering in the sunshine at The Green Man Festival

Enjoying the sun at Green Man Festival, Mid Wales and Brecon Beacons,

 by Jemma Foxton
Nestled in a scenic valley of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Green Man is Wales’ largest music festival attracting some 20,000 music lovers each year to enjoy the likes of Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver and Laura Marling. Since its inaugural event back in 2003, Green Man has carved a name for itself as an ethically-minded festival that focuses on community spirit over profit (VIP area be gone!). It also prides itself on selecting food and drink suppliers with local provenance, so the money goes straight back into local communities. The cider selection is particularly strong with offerings from Blaengawney Farm and Gwynt y Ddraig Cider Company, to name a few, all served on site. Family-run, with good causes at heart, the spirit of Green Man is hard to deny. 

Festival No 6 - Portmeirion – 6-9 September 2018

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

While most festivals can usually be found taking place in a decidedly muddy field, Festival No 6 has the unique honour of taking place in the whimsical village of Portmeirion in Snowdonia. Considered to be something of an escape from reality, Festival No 6 is bursting to the brim with music, poetry, film, comedy, storytelling and pop-up art installations, all of which is set against the off-the-wall backdrop of Portmeirion, the Grade II-listed, Mediterranean-inspired fantasy village, which sits on the estuary of the River Dwyryd, surrounded by mountains and woodlands.

Started back in 2012, the festival has a maximum capacity of around 10,000 people, making it intimate for a mainstream festival, which only adds to its unique sense of magic. Headliners set to entertain the crowds this year include Franz Ferdinand, The The and Friendly Fires.

Good Life Experience, Flintshire – 14-16 September 2018

View across the campsite.

The Good Life Experience, Hawarden, North East Wales by Good Life Experience
Heading back to basics, the Good Life Experience is the brainchild of four friends, on a mission to champion the simpler things in life. Founded by musician and broadcaster Cerys Matthews (she of Catatonia fame), record industry and arts consultant Steve Abbott, and retailers and farmers Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, the Good Life Experience is a relative newcomer to the Welsh festival scene, only beginning in 2014. This family affair in Flintshire combines music, culture and food, meaning you could spend the morning at a bush craft workshop, before watching a Welsh male voice choir in the afternoon. One thing’s for sure, you’ll certainly leave a little dirtier than you arrived, but your soul will feel nurtured and complete after a weekend enjoying life’s simpler pleasures.