Wales’ multi-venue new music festival, ‘Sŵn’, was started in 2007 by John Rostron and Huw Stephens. Inspired by a revelatory trip to South By Southwest, the two friends decided they wanted to bring together a plethora of up-and-coming, promoters, labels and bands across Cardiff into their own version of Austin’s enormous city festival, but with no delegates and no queue-jumping, just new music lovers.
Since that first event – which featured performances from new names such as Beirut, Annie Mac and Yeasayer – Sŵn Festival has offered you chances to see burgeoning careers at close quarters, with Alt J, The Vaccines, Rag N Bone Man, Wolf Alice, Marina & The Diamonds, Disclosure, Cate Le Bon and Drenge all packing out tiny rooms around Cardiff city centre.
2016 was the 10th anniversary of Sŵn, and as awesome a celebration of new music as any previous year. However, it was also a natural opportunity to re-imagine the festival. When we started Sŵn in 2007 things were very different. Back then we were one of only two multi-venue music festivals in the UK. Now there’s many dozen. Hundreds of new artists have emerged. Welsh Music Foundation is gone. More venues have closed in Cardiff than have opened. Social Media is prevalent. So if we were creating Sŵn Festival for the first time right now, how would it be? What does Cardiff look like? What is missing? What does music in Wales need?
So we’re creating Sŵn Festival anew, building it in blocks to fit our answers, our ideas and our limited resources. But for starters, across the month there’ll be a series of concerts, many now on sale, with some more to come. And on Saturday 21st of October we’ll have the Discovery Day – a new name for the celebrated run-around-Cardiff-with-a-wristband event that’s been at the heart of Sŵn Festival since the off. Discover new artists, new venues, new spaces and new music across one, long, glorious day.
We look forward to seeing you there.
team sŵn x