Gŵyl Cymru Festival is a creative event bringing communities together as part of the nation’s support for the Cymru men’s team during their FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign in Qatar. The 10-day (hopefully longer if Cymru progress past the group stages!) festival kicks off on 19 November 2022 and is organised by the Football Association of Wales and the Arts Council of Wales.
Key to the festival is supporting independent grassroots venues. Gŵyl Cymru’s activities will take place in community hubs, football clubs, schools, community owned pubs and arts centres. Many of the programme’s events will take place alongside screenings of Cymru’s fixtures during the tournament.
Over 200 events make up the fan-led festival programme, which was formed following an open-call, including live comedy and music, theatre, murals and exhibitions, film screenings and poetry events.
All events, in Wales and worldwide, are listed on the festival website and there’s still time to register your own contribution to the line-up, but for now, here’s a taste to get the ball rolling…
Music from Blaenau to Brooklyn
Yma o Hyd, Waka Waka and Zombie Nation will blast from speakers all around Wales, but for live music try Sage Todz, Endaf and DJ Kaylum at CellB, a creative event space and cinema in Blaenau Ffestiniog, or Y Cledrau and Gwilym as part of the Sesiwn FAW Dolgellau line-up, a spin-off of the popular Welsh folk event in Gwynedd.
One of Wales’ top live music venues Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff will host Juice Menace and Los Blancos, to name a few, while Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham will turn every matchday into a family-friendly music festival. International music events include Lemfreck, Mace the Great and Teddy Hunter presented by FOCUS Wales at Montreal, New York and Brooklyn and the iconic 11-piece brass band The Barry Horns will play Dubai.
Keep an eye out for lots of striking new street art popping up all around Wales. The team at Aberystwyth Arts Centre will work in partnership with the local sporting community to design and paint murals on the walls of Blaendolau Fields sports pavilion, and street artists and photographers UNIFY will invigorate urban spaces in Cardiff, Wrexham and Rhondda Cynon Taf with their powerful World Cup-inspired murals.
The Crowd Gathers
Literary and poetry events include an evening of conversation about all things Welsh and football-related at The London Welsh Centre with a panel featuring contributors to the acclaimed book, Welsh [Plural], and The Rainbow Wall - a group established with the FAW for LGBTQ+ supporters and allies. Renowned Welsh poet Rhys Iorwerth will bring poems and pints evening to three north Wales venues, and Casi Wyn, Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh-language Children's Laureate), will hold a workshop at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff.
The National Poet of Wales, Hanan Issa has written the official poem for Gŵyl Cymru - The Crowd Gathers - a co-production between FAW and Literature Wales. It has been translated by Grug Muse into Welsh and both Hanan and Grug feature in a video citing lines from the poem in English, Welsh and Arabic, accompanied by music by Sage Todz.
One of Wales’ most exciting theatre companies, August 012, are teaming up with the extraordinary Welsh Ballroom Community to bring together LGBTQ+ football fans and their allies, and ballroom lovers, to celebrate queerness in football.
A new play by Valleys writer Laurence Allan and bold young theatre company Off Ya Trolley Productions will explore what it is to lead in football with a Rhondda based play as a nod to the two managers who have succeeded in taking Wales to the World Cup.
The Gŵyl Cymru programme is full of events run by the community, for the community. An event will be hosted at the Grange Pavillion by the Syrian Welsh Society to acknowledge and celebrate the support of refugees. The community owned pubs of Iorwerth Arms, Anglesey, and Yr Heliwr, Nefyn, have arranged a number of events ranging from a dementia cafe for care home residents to family quizzes.
The Cymranian celebration at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, will celebrate the two rich cultures of Cymru and Iran with music performances, talks, poetry and food after a screening of the Cymru v Iran game. There will also be a celebration of Welsh and Iranian music, culture and cuisine at the Oasis Centre in Cardiff, a centre for people seeking sanctuary in the UK, with the world-renowned Welsh National Opera collaborating with refugees that use the centre.
Got, got, need!
Still looking for a shiny? Head over to the Panini Fifa World Cup sticker swap shop at Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham. There are plenty of other family events too including a football lego workshop at Wrexham Museum. Get crafty with Twin Made at the Corp Market, Cardiff, and create Welsh-themed items for your home, car, desk or anywhere else you’d like to display how proud you are to be Welsh!