The festival transforms the city with a buzzing mix of one-off events, unique collaborations, community participation projects. Featuring both local and international voices, the biennial festival will next take place 4 – 7 November 2021.

The 2018 Festival of Voice instalment had shows from legendary artists like Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Wales’ own Gruff Rhys.

The initial wave of artist announcements got pulses racing - the opening night of the festival on 7 June had a special Voices of Protest Evening, featuring Nadine Shah and Billy Bragg. There was also a world-first performance on 10 June, as sometime Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys joined the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the Wales Millennium Centre.

The mighty Patti Smith appeared at beautiful St John’s Church in Canton 11 June for an intimate Words and Music event, before she turned the volume up the following night at the Wales Millennium Centre for An Evening with Patti Smith (aided by long-term collaborators Lenny Kaye and Tony Shanahan).

Other acts that performed included American singer-songwriter Laura Veirs (9 June) at St John’s Church, Canton, performing songs from her newly released tenth album, The Lookout. There was also Edinburgh’s Karine Polwart performing Wind Resistance at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama 15 – 17 June, a spellbinding alchemy of story and song, and The Tiger Lillies: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (15 – 16 June). This multi-arts experience saw the cult British trio perform a live soundtrack for the Ballad, one continuous piece of music that evolves and underscores the beauty, pain, joy, tragedy and sorrow of relationships, alongside startling images by Nan Goldin.

Festival of Voice is about discovery through participation and immersion – about finding voices. Voice is something that transcends culture and language. It’s primal; it brings us together whether we’re happy or melancholy, and we have created the festival as a way of bottling that pure emotion. The artists and audiences are brought together to hear and be heard.

Already known as a major international hub for the performing arts, the Centre and the city are at the heart of the pioneering and inventive programming. Festival of Voice is fulfilling the Centre’s ambition to create innovative work on an international platform. They commission new work and bring together unique collaborations in contemporary and classical music, opera, theatre, talks and visual art. 

The festival is not tied to any particular style of music or art form. The festival evolves each year, depending on what excites audiences.

As well as aiming to inspire artists and audiences, the festival empowers young people to find creative expression through its Creative Learning programme, which gives them the opportunity to engage with artists and make their own voices heard.

More about the Festival of Voice

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