Wales International Harp Festival
Caernarfon, 17-18 April
Elegant, ear-pricking and mesmerising, the harp is one of Wales' national instruments. At Wales International Harp Festival. you can see performances from world class harpists, witness competitions open to players from around the world or take part in a two-day hands-on harpist course for all ages and abilities. It is rounded off by a concert with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch, Austrian harpist Monika Stadler, choristers and a harp ensemble.
Wrexham, 16-18 May
When FOCUS Wales is on in Wrexham, North Wales, the town is transformed into a multi-venue showcase of Wales' emerging musical talent and some of the best acts from across the globe. Over 10,000 people come to check out 200 bands scheduled across 20 stages, with breaks in-between for watching comedy sets, film screenings and industry sessions. This year, it takes place 16-18 May, so the line-up should be announced early into 2019.
Hay Literary Festival
Hay-on-Wye, 23 May-2 June
There's nothing quite like the Hay Literary Festival. It's a true celebration of books, storytelling and creativity. At this year's festival, award-winning novelists, travel writers, Pulitzer Prize winners, children's authors, broadcasters, performers, thinkers, pioneers, artists and innovators will appear at talks, debates, performances and readings over the nine day programme. Evening entertainment comes from Jimmy Carr, Stacey Dooley, The Gipsy Kings, The Waterboys and many more.
Hay-on-Wye, 24-27 May
HowTheLightGetsIn is the largest philosophy and music festival in the world brings over 200 events, 80 talks and debates and 100 performances to Hay-On-Wye in the Black Mountains. Hear new theories, explore old ideas and expand your cultural horizons. Shows from artists, bands, musicians, comedians and performers will make sure you're thoroughly entertained between brain-stimulating sessions.
Anglesey, 6 Jun–9 Jun
Described as a mystical little party hidden in the middle of the woods, Gottwood is an independent and intimate underground electronic festival at the Carreglwyd Estate, Anglesey. This year is the 10th Gottwood, so expect big names, loud sounds and massive raves into the night. The first wave line-up announcement included Nicolas Lutz, Skee Mask, Margaret Dygas, Josey Rebelle, Skeptical, 2 Bad Mice, dBridge, Radioactive Man and Egyptian Lover.
Cardiff, 22-23 June
Tafwyl is an annual festival in celebration of the Welsh language. The main event is the weekend-long Tafwyl Fair at Cardiff Castle, featuring performances and appearances from some of Wales' biggest names in the arts, culture and sport. Over both days, Welsh language music is centre stage with performances in three on-site areas. The street food area always delivers delicious food from local producers and eatery owners, while stalls from Welsh makers prove a hit. A fringe festival runs from 15-23 June, with events in various museums, libraries, cafés, bars and arts venues across the city.
The Gower Festival
Gower, 1-13 July
When you've got an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and talented musicians within reach of each other, why not combine the two for a spectacular musical experience? That's exactly what the organisers of the Gower Festival do every year, taking acclaimed musicians to a different atmospheric venue each evening for the first two weeks of July. Join them to soak up the acoustics for yourself along the beautiful Gower Peninsular.
Conwy, 3-10 Aug
The National Eisteddfod is a travelling celebration of Welsh music, language and culture lands in Llanrwst, Conwy 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!
Green Man Festival
Crickhowell, 15–18 Aug
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. There's also a comedy tent, pretty gardens, kids' areas and wellbeing zones, so you can chill out before the burning of the Green Man himself on the last night.
The Good Life Experience
Flintshire, 12-15 Sept
Set on the Hawarden Estate of 19th century Prime Minister William Gladstone, the Good Life Experience festival 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 help people go in search of the good life, but this loosely translates to them delivering music, food and drink, authors, workshops and plenty of chances for outdoor exploration.
In 2018, Cardiff’s multi-venue music festival changed hands after 12 wonderful years. While Sŵn Festival is now run by Clwb Ifor Bach, it still provides the same opportunity to discover new music while exploring the city over four days in October. There's no doubt that some of the smaller bands on the line-up are set for a long and successful career. Keep an ear out for this year's dates to secure your wristband.