Are you lost? Find yourself - or just find a jolly good time - at one of these intimate, boutique Welsh gatherings.
The Laugharne Weekend, April
This music and literary gathering in the small West Wales town of Laugharne has become infamous for its musical performances and alternative list of authors. Laugharne is best known for its connection with Welsh writer Dylan Thomas, and this three-day festival continues to celebrate the creative spirit with dynamic line-ups - 2019 year welcomed Tracey Thorn, Gruff Rhys, Hollie McNish and Dr John Cooper Clarke, amongst many more.
Find out more at https://www.thelaugharneweekend.com/
Lost Cove, April
Lost Cove is a surf and music festival on the south coast of Pembrokeshire, that prides itself on putting on the best live performances, different interactive workshops, and surf competitions for all levels. 2019s festival line-up included Foreign Beggars, Danny Byrd, 24 HR Garage Girls, The Mudskippers, and Honey Fungus.
FOCUS Wales, 16 - 18 May
This international multi-venue festival takes place in Wrexham, with the sole purpose of spotlighting new and emerging talent that Wales has to offer, who perform alongside a selection of the best new acts from across the globe. Over 200 bands will perform in a variety of spaces and music venues, using 20 stages. There’s also a full schedule of interactive industry sessions, stand-up comedy, arts events, and film screenings, throughout the festival. This year’s event features Boy Azooga, Cate le Bon, 9bach, The Lovely Eggs, Islet, Snapped Ankles, and Colorama.
Find out more at http://www.focuswales.com
HowTheLightGetsIn, 24 - 27 May
Although Hay is better known for the Hay Festival, HowTheLightGetsIn shares the same weekend but showcases different talent. The theme for 2019 is ‘Tribal Truths and New Wisdom’, and will see 30,000 visit the verdant site on the banks of the river in Hay-on-Wye for a programme of talks, music and entertainment. This year’s line-up includes Anna Calvi, British Sea Power, The Correspondents, Saul Kripke, Helen Lederer, David Aaranovitch, Anna Soubry, Phil Wang, and many more.
The Big Retreat Wales, 24-27 May
Head to Lawrenny in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for a long weekend of relaxing and re-energising. The Big Retreat is a feel-good festival, in every sense of the word. With an impressive line-up of more than 200 events including wellbeing classes, workshops, cookery demonstrations, spoken word, bushcraft, music and even rum and gin, everybody has a chance to discover a new hobby, rediscover an old one or simply discover the beauty of Lawrenny itself
Llandeilo Literary Festival, 25 - 28 April
During this four day festival, visitors can enjoy readings, discussions, workshops and literary talks across the historic town of, Llandeilo. Venues include the Ginhaus, Horeb Chapel, Eve’s Toy Shop, Fountain Fine Art Gallery, The Little Welsh Dresser, Igam Ogam, The Hangout, Mimosa Art Gallery, The Cottage Inn and the Angel Inn.
Find out more at https://llandeilolitfest.org/
Inside Out Festival, 31 May - 1 June
If your idea of a good time is raving in a city park with thousands of your closest friends, then Cardiff’s Inside Out Festival is the one for you. Previous events have hosted some of the biggest names in music including Rudimental and Annie Mac. This year’s event will be their biggest yet, with headliners DJ EZ, Hannah Wants, Bugzy Malone, and Artful Dodger.
Fire in the Mountain, 31 May - 2 June
For those seeking a spiritual experience, the Fire in the Mountain festival near Aberystwyth offers nourishment for your body and soul. It has a small community feel, and has grown into a small annual event from humble beginnings as a gathering of friends, who played and shared a love of folk, old time, and bluegrass music. Highly recommended.
Balter Festival, 31 May - 3 June
Balter is a huge annual party held at Chepstow Racecourse for those who appreciate dancing and alternative beats: ska, gypsy, drum’n’bass, garage, disco, dub, and everything in between. This is Balter’s sixth year (they graduated to this larger venue after starting in Hay’s smaller Baskerville Hall), and they are celebrating with an even bigger line-up: more stages, more dancing, more madness. In their own words, this year is going to go off! Line-up: The Mouse Outfit, Ed Solo, Randall, Black Sun Empire, and a cast of seemingly thousands more.
Gottwood Festival, 6-9 June
If you like a boutique party in a magical setting, Gottwood on the island of Anglesey should be in your calendar. Held on the beautiful Carreglwyd estate, Gottwood is an otherworldly celebration of the best in electronic music. The event is always special, but the team will be bringing something extra to this - their tenth edition. Line-up includes Andrew Weatherall, Craig Richards, Egyptian Lover, Ivan Smagghe, Radioactive Man, 2 Bad Mice, and many more.
Big Love Festival, 7-9 June
Proving that party people run the best events, Big Love is a friendly three-day romp held at Baskerville Hall in Hay-on-Wye. Part festival, part house party, it’s always a great vibe. Line-up this year includes: Dutty Moonshine Big Band, Too Many T’s, and Jurassic 5’s Soup presents: Fullee Love Collective and Dr Meaker (live band).
Unearthed Festival, 21 - 23 June
Unearthed Festival aims to create a space where people of all backgrounds can come together peacefully and share knowledge, skills, conversations, laughter and dance. The philosophy of the event is about the expansion of consciousness. Expect a mind-altering experience.
Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau, 19 - 21 July
L Fest, 19 - 21 July
L Fest describes itself as the UK's only lesbian music, arts and comedy festival, and is a place where women celebrate and come together, feel safe and included, to make new friends or just to feel comfortable. L Fest is family friendly with workshops and games and a dedicated children's programme, and is held in Llandudno.
Westival, 19 - 22 July
Westival is an underground music and arts festival situated in the heart of Wales, deep in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, just minutes from some of the UK's finest coastlines. Performing artists are encouraged to express their musical knowledge and style, opening the path for longer genre-defining sets. Expect an eclectic line-up and wonderful views.
Steelhouse, 26 - 28 July
You might be surprised to find out the Wales plays host to one of the world’s most iconic classic rock festivals, but we do! Steelhouse brings 10,000 rock lovers together in the Welsh valleys to headbang and generally make merry. This year’s headliners include Thin Lizzy, Thunder, and Uriah Heap.
Truefest, 16 - 19 August
You can’t go wrong with a festival that grew out of a birthday party - Truefest is an independent music and arts festival and epic house party rolled into one and held in Baskerville Hall, Hay-on-Wye. Enjoy a swimming pool, hot showers, camping, hotel rooms, glamping and free parking - reviewed as the "The friendliest festival in the UK" by Mpora. This year’s fancy dress theme is “animal magic”, and the line-up includes DJ Yoda, plus many more.
Landed Festival, 2 - 4 August
Landed is an independent festival celebrating music, arts and entertainment on five stages, plus a dance area. Situated by the historic town of Llandrindod Wells, Landed hosts original breakthrough artists and is set in the natural beauty of a Welsh country estate. There’s a lot to do for the kids, including their infamous “pimp your duck race”.
HUB Festival, 25 - 28 August
If the thought of camping sends you into a cold sweat, then consider Cardiff’s HUB Festival. Held across a number of venues on Womanby Street, HUB will bring you 150 live acts on 13 stage over 3 days, all accessible with just one wristband. Enjoy a variety of music - rock, reggae, folk, blues, funk, hip hop, pop, jazz, electronic, indie, psych, metal - as many genres as they can find, with promoters/musicians/venues working together to show the rest of the country that Cardiff is absolutely buzzing. You can also find comedy, spoken word and poetry, performance art, live graffiti and street dance, carnival acts, silent discos, workshops, street food, DJs, open mic, buskers and lots more! All ages - under 18s allowed in most venues until 9pm.
The Big Cwtch, 30 - 31 August
A magical, feel good festival that combines music, food, and fun. Enjoy creative kids activities and workshops, a wellbeing sanctuary, paddleboarding, a crafts village, artisan stalls and a lot of big cwtch festival fun across the whole site. Line up for 2019 tbc ...
Find out more at https://www.thebigcwtch.com/
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Between the Trees, 31 August - 1 September
If your ideal festival is an intimate event held in the beautiful sand dunes of Wales, head to Between the Trees in Candleston Park, near Bridgend. Between the Trees brings you an encounter with nature, music, art & natural science - and it all happens in the middle of ancient Welsh woodland by the sea!
Gladfest, 6 - 8 September
Gladfest brings together award-winning, internationally-renowned and breakthrough writers for a wonderfully eclectic weekend. In case you haven’t heard of the location, Gladstone’s Library is a residential library dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals and groups. It is Britain’s only Prime Ministerial library (founded by PM William Gladstone himself). Following Gladstone’s death in 1898, the Library became the national memorial to his life and work as well as one of the few Grade I-listed buildings in North Wales.
The Good Life Experience, 12-15 September
If you need a stamp of approval on a festival, surely there’s none greater than a festival that’s entirely curated by Cerys Matthews? A champion of alternative underground and world music for years, Cerys has put together her very own slice of the good life in The Good Life Experience, held on the beautiful Hawarden Estate. It’s a great family friendly (and dog friendly!) way to see out the summer.
Sŵn Festival, 18-20 October
This guerrilla music festival takes over just about every available venue in Cardiff, to showcase raw music talent in intimate spaces. It's loosely based on SXSW in Texas, and designed to unearth the next generation of performers.
Find out more about Sŵn Festival