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BBC ‘diving head first’ into a summer of live music at events across Wales

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AS FESTIVALS and events are making a comeback, BBC Wales has announced an exciting summer of music across television, radio and digital.

BBC Wales says that it is “diving head first into a summer of live music at events across Wales – from local town hall shows to large scale concerts and festivals.”

On television, an exclusive Stereophonics homecoming gig will be broadcast live from the Principality Stadium Cardiff when the band play in front of 60,000 fans on the second of a two night stand at the iconic venue. Stereophonics Live in Cardiff: We’ll Keep a Welcome will be on BBC One Wales – and BBC Two across the UK – on Saturday, 18 June from 8.40pm just as the band hits the stage.

BBC Wales’ Director Rhuanedd Richards says “As people across Wales at long last come together again to enjoy live music and festivals, BBC Cymru Wales will be supporting and broadcasting from events across the nation. It’s going to be a jam-packed summer – with live music being central to local community and large scale events – and BBC Cymru Wales will be there to capture the performances of Welsh and international artists. Following the pandemic, it’s time to turn up the volume again, and celebrate music as a force for bringing people together and showcasing the best that Wales has to offer. I’m also delighted that our ‘Summer of Music’ will culminate in a landmark series with Huw Stephens exploring The Story of Welsh Music.”

Stereophonics 2021

Wynne Evans’ Townhall Showdown sees the presenter and opera singer visit towns and villages across Wales, starting at the Newbridge Memo, and bringing with him regular features from his daily show. Wynne will also perform at each event, as will a local Welsh band or artist. And John Quirk and his band will provide musical accompaniment to the evening. Highlights from the evening will be heard on Wynne Evans’ show every Friday following each event.

Fresh from Gŵyl Triban at the National Urdd Eisteddfod, Radio Cymru will be live at Tafwyl festival in Cardiff, the Sesiwn Fawr in Dolgellau and at the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron, and will bring unmissable and exclusive music to Radio Cymru listeners and BBC Sounds users. To coincide with each of these major events, the station will embark on a schools tour, bringing the best of live Welsh music to a school in each of the local areas.

The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales will be at a variety of events across Wales over the summer. From performing their season closing Romance and Revolution concerts in Cardiff and Swansea in June, to entertaining the crowds at the Welsh Proms in July and accompanying Carwyn Elis at the Greenman Festival in Crickhowell in August. BBC NOW will then return to the St Asaph Festival in September. The orchestra is also performing over the summer at four of the BBC Proms in London, including a concert with the Tredegar Band.

In September, BBC Two Wales will show The Story of Welsh Music, where presenter Huw Stephens will look at key stages in the history of Wales as a musical nation. The two part series will tell various stories – from the history of the triple harp and how it’s importance meant it was considered Wales’ national harp – to the story behind Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the phenomenon of ‘Cwl Cymru’ and the international success of bands like Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics.

On digital, BBC Wales’ Horizons/Gorwelion project will feature coverage from the In It Together festival in Port Talbot. And will have filmed and recorded sets from venues across Wales – including Queen’s Hall Narberth, Swansea’s Sin City, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Pontio in Bangor.

BBC Sounds will feature summer playlists and set highlights from across the summer’s events and programmes.

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Coastal music festival gets go-ahead for next month

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Credit - Westival

WESTIVAL returns next month with two new stages included in its licence. 

Those behind the festival were complimented for their organisation and engagement with authorities during discussions of a new licence application to Pembrokeshire County Council.

The licensing committee heard from Joe Worley, the event’s organiser, as well as potential proposals to add two new stages and a ‘sunset stage’ in another neighbouring field at a meeting conducted on Monday, June 20.

Mr Worley claimed that the guests will benefit from the different areas and will improve the foot traffic around the site at Shipping Farm, near Manorbier. 

Credit – Westival

The committee also heard that a 3am licence for the event had been accepted in 2020, however, the four-day festival was cancelled due to Covid-19. The previous year’s event ended at 1am. 

Music is expected to stop at midnight on Thursday and Sunday. 

Councillor Mark Carter raised concerns about a potential increase in complaints after 1am, calling the extension to the time limits “fairly radical” and the committee heard there had only been five complaints after the 2019 event, three of which were repeats of after 2018.

Councillor Mark Carter expressed concerns about an increase in complaints after 1 a.m, calling the time limit extension “fairly radical.”

Credit – Westival

The committee also heard that just five complaints had been filed following the 2019 event, three of which were repetitions from the previous year.

The application states: “There will be a combination of live bands and dj’s playing across four stages across the course of the weekend. To help generate as much revenue for the local area as possible, local food vendors will be utilised and the bar will feature local ales and beers.” 

Mr Worley added that a specialist noise management company was being hired to monitor levels and that a helpline number will be available during the festival with complaints investigated and alterations made if necessary.

He stated that there would be a drop in volume at 11pm and 1am “to reduce the likelihood of getting any noise complaints.”

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‘In It Together Festival’ sets new standard for events in Wales

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THIS past weekend, the In It Together festival made a bold and welcome debut, and has already established a new standard for events in Wales. It’s the result of an experienced team that simply wanted a big old celebration for all the family and all types of people after a difficult couple of years, and boy, do they deliver.

The location at Old Park Farm in Port Talbot, near to Margam Park, is like an infinite playground, complete with fire breathers, wild and colourful characters, hay bail stacks, endless food trucks, a variety of drinks, and plenty of extra entertainment. This features a circus tent, children’s performers, a funhouse, a gigantic Guess Who, Connect 4, beanbags, and a bouncy castle to give them all a weekend to remember.

Adults have an almost limitless number of musical alternatives to choose from. On Friday, Gabrielle stole the show with some incredible sunset vibes, while the circus came to town and Armand Van Helden performed an epic set of New York house at the renowned Panchaia. The eager crowd ate up every beat, and the production was fantastic, with great-looking stages, huge lights, lasers, and, of course, powerful sound systems.

There are numerous camping alternatives available, catering to everyone from families with young children to people who are unlikely to sleep much. It’s comfortable and well-equipped, so you’ll have plenty of time to unwind before heading out on days two and three.

After beautiful weather on the first day, the rest of the weekend was marred by wind and rain, but it didn’t damper spirits. The crowd erupted in applause for Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, who sang along to all of the key choruses and rocked out to Noel’s massive riffs. Other noteworthy sets included Two Door Cinema Club and a stunning sunset session from the one and only Gabrielle, and the sound delivered them all loud and clear.

On a big screen, seeing Wales play Ukraine in a crucial World Cup qualifier will be one of the best experiences. It was a friendly and community minded moment that really summed up the special togetherness vibe of this new and vital addition to Wales festival landscape.

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More than ever visit 2022 Urdd National Eisteddfod

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THE LONG-AWAITED 2022 Urdd Eisteddfod was the first and largest national cultural event held for the young people of Wales since the beginning of the pandemic. Access to the festival in Denbighshire was free this year, which resulted in 118,000 visiting the site.

Thousands of competitors from across Wales had the opportunity to perform on stage in one of the three pavilions as the Urdd offered ‘a stage for everyone’ for the very first time, an experiment which was a “major success” according to event organisers.

Siân Lewis, Chief Executive of Urdd Gobaith Cymru said: “We are extremely grateful to the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles and the Welsh Government for enabling us to offer free entry to this year’s Eisteddfod. Free entry has helped attract more visitors and competitors from all parts of Wales. We’ve seen such a diverse audience attend the Eisteddfod – it really has been a festival for all.”

Siân Eirian, Director of the Urdd Eisteddfod and the Arts said: “As organisers we’re delighted that the experiment of having three pavilions rather than one, and to offer a stage for everyone, has been a major success and welcomed by our competitors. We will continue with this development as we organise Carmarthenshire’s Urdd Eisteddfod in 2023. 

“Several new and exciting elements have been introduced on the Eisteddfod Maes this year, but as all good events, the Urdd will assess and evaluate all developments before deciding which new elements will be adopted next year and into the future. 

“We’re extremely grateful to all the teachers, trainers, parents, and carers for working so hard to teach, create and train the competitors over the last few months, ensuring the high standard and success of this very special Eisteddfod. I would also like to thank all our sponsors and partners for their support, and of course, to all the staff and volunteers for all their hard work.” 

185 hours of content from the Maes was broadcasted across S4C’s platforms, along with various content throughout the week on BBC Radio Cymru, Radio Cymru 2 and BBC Cymru Fyw.

There was merit in each of the Eisteddfod’s main ceremonies. At the start of the week, it was announced that 12-year-old Shuchen Xie from Cardiff was the winner of the Main Composer of the Urdd Eisteddfod 2022 – the youngest person to ever win one of the main prizes in the history of the Urdd Eisteddfod.  Josh Osbourne from Poole won the Welsh Learner Medal and Anna Ng from Cardiff won the Bobi Jones Medal. Osian Wynn Davies from Llanfairpwll won the Drama Medal, Ciarán Eynon who is originally from Llandrillo-yn-Rhos was the winner of the Chair whilst Twm Ebbsworth from Llanwnnen, Ceredigion won the Crown.

The three lucky competitors who will be representing Wales on behalf of the Urdd in the 2022 North American Festival of Wales in Philadelphia in September are as follows: Siriol Elin (Cylch Bro Aled, Conwy), Manon Ogwen Parry (Adran y Fro, Vale of Glamorgan) and Tomos Gwyn Bohana (outside of Wales). Dyffryn Clwyd Choir will also be invited to perform as part of the Team Wales celebrations as they prepare for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this August.

A panel of judges have also chosen six of the most promising competitors under the age of 25 to compete for the Urdd Gobaith Cymru Bryn Terfel Scholarship, which will be held in the autumn. Those competing for this year’s scholarship are as follows: Fflur Davies (Cylch Arfon), Gwenno Morgan (London), Ioan Williams (Adran Bro Taf), Mali Elwy (Adran Bro Aled), Owain Rowlands (Blaenau Tywi) and Rhydian Tiddy (Blaenau Tywi).

The Urdd was pleased to announce that both Gwenan Mars-Lloyd (Denbighshire) and Nansi Rhys Adams (Cardiff and the Vale) receive the Eisteddfod Scholarship this year – a scholarship which is awarded to the most promising competitors in the age group year 10 and under 19 years old. Catrin Jones from Llanwnnen, Ceredigion was also announced as the festival’s Chief Artist and Nel Thomas from Cardiff as winner of the Art, Design and Technology Medal.

Another first for the Eisteddfod was Triban Festival, which has, and continues to be a success for the festival’s organisers. As part of the centenary celebrations, Triban has been a great opportunity to reflect contemporary Welsh music on the Urdd Eisteddfod field, but also an opportunity to celebrate past performers and songs – a perfect combination of old favourites and the new. On Triban’s first night, a full audience laughed their way through Cabarela’s risqué and polished performance. On Friday night, Tara Bandito was joined on stage by Eden, as a special surprise to everyone, and Yws Gwynedd closed the evening with everyone’s favourite, Sebona Fi. Tonight, N’Famady Koyuate will perform his fusion of Mandingue African and western European jazz, pop, indie and funk arrangements. And as part of Triban Festival’s nostalgic offer, Tecwyn Ifan as well as Dilwyn Siôn will be performing ahead of Adwaith and Eden’s line-up to end the Saturday night on a high.

Next year the Urdd Eisteddfod will be held in Carmarthenshire between 29 May – 3 June 2023.

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