We’re a musical bunch here in Wales, so it’s no surprise that we’ve got a busy calendar of music and arts festivals taking place across the country. Listen up to find out more.
Think big: HowTheLightGetsIn
Hay-on-Wye, South Wales
HowTheLightGetsIn is a unique festival of ideas and music offers an intimate counterpoint to its slightly noisier Hay-on-Wye neighbour. But while the scale may be smaller, the ideas are just as big. Attracting an impressive roster of writers and thinkers from the world of politics, art and culture, there’s also a host of other entertainment, from live music and masked balls to spa treatments and circus performances. Roll up!
By the book: Hay Literary Festival
Hay-on-Wye, South Wales
These days the event famously described by President Bill Clinton as ‘the Woodstock of the mind’ needs little introduction, but it wasn’t always that way. Hay Literary Festival was dreamt up around a kitchen table in the town known as the ‘second-hand book capital of the world’. It’s now a globally recognised arts and literature extravaganza featuring hundreds of leading writers, thinkers and performers, and there’s also a lively musical programme, featuring acts from across the globe.
Switched on: Gottwood
Anglesey, North Wales
Nestled on the magical Isle of Anglesey, the small but perfectly formed electronic festival Gottwood is building quite a reputation on the music scene. Don’t take our word for it, The Independent describes it as ‘one of the most important boutique festival that UK has to offer’. Expect the best in cutting-edge electronic music in a truly enchanting setting. Don’t forget your dressing up bag, this is a festival with a wild sense of style.
Really Welsh: National Eisteddfod
2019 - Llanwrst, North Wales
The National Eisteddfod is a travelling celebration of Welsh music, language and culture which will land in the Conwy County in North Wales 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.
Who’s the man?: Green Man Festival
Crickhowell, South Wales
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. In 2018, the event featured acts like 60s-influenced harmonists Fleet Foxes, Grammy-snaffling guitar-slingers The War on Drugs and anarchic psyche warriors The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Expect a similarly exciting lineup when the festival returns in 2019
Back to nature: The Good Life Experience
Hawarden, North Wales
Set on the Flintshire estate of 19th century Prime Minister William Gladstone, The Good Life Experience 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.
Hit the city: SŴN Festival
Cardiff, South Wales
SŴN is an urban music festival which takes place across numerous venues across Cardiff. In 2018, it featured Welsh/Cornish language songstress, Gwenno, local heroes Boy Azooga and former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, plus a dizzying selection of new and emerging bands. It’s a unique event that turns Cardiff city centre into a huge musical party, as tribes of indie kids traipse excitedly from one place to the next in search of the next big thing.