Long famous for its rolling green hills, Wales also has a vibrant new music scene, so it should be no surprise that it hosts some of the finest summer music festivals in the UK. Let’s take a look at four of our favourites.
Various venues in Wrexham, North Wales
This four day April celebration of Welsh new music has been going for four years now, but this year it seemed to well and truly arrive as a force to be reckoned with. A music festival in the conference style, it stages cutting-edge live music, comedy and interactive happenings in the impressive, purpose-built venue of the Llangollen traditional Eisteddfodd and in venues dotted around Wrexham’s pretty town centre and also features music industry expert talks and discussions. This year’s event impressed with a music bill featuring Welsh music heroes Euros Childs, Islet, Y Niwl and Little Arrow, BBC radio DJ and Welsh new music champion Huw Stephens, and special international guests including German innovator Damo Suzuki from Can.
It’s due back on 22-25th April 2015 and early bird adult weekend passes are already on sale, priced £30. No accommodation is included, but Wrexham has plenty of guest houses and B&Bs.
Various venues in Hay-on-Wye, Powys
Over ten days at the end of May, the festival described by Prospect Magazine as “Hay’s sexy younger sibling” shares the charming market town of Hay-on-Wye with the now world-beating literary festival. The six year old philosophy and music festival aims to excite the imagination and renew the spirit with around 500 events including music across seven stages. This year Mr. Scruff and Andrew Weatherall provided the beats while Emmy the Great, Martha Tilston and the Blaenavon Male Voice Choir were in excellent voice. There was live comedy and film-screenings, and philosophers, writers, academics and politicians in discussion.
A ten-day pass gives access to all gigs, evening discussions and parties, or you can buy shorter passes. There’s camping and parking available nearby, and you can look around the Hay Festival while you’re there. Early bird deals are likely to appear from around November 2014.
Glanusk Park, Powys
Firmly established on the UK’s major festival circuit after twelve years, this playful four day August event on a stunning, compact Usk Valley site takes the music very seriously. More than 100 thoughtfully curated live acts and DJs feature beside equally carefully selected films and spoken word across 17 stages including a picturesque walled garden. This year’s highly respectable line-up included Mercury Rev, Beirut and Neutral Milk Hotel, comedy from Josh Widdicombe and speakers Viv Albertine and Howard Marks. Art installations, ongoing pagan theatre, circus, inspiring workshops for all ages, all night bonfires and gorgeous local, organic food and drink completed what was once again a magical experience.
As well as the usual weekend camping ticket, Green Man offers a Settler’s Pass, allowing you to camp onsite all week and make a holiday of it. £145 super early bird tickets for 20-23 August 2015 may have already sold out, so watch the website for the next release.
4-7 September 2014
Portmeirion, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER
Even smaller but equally perfectly formed, the third Festival No 6 will be a little earlier this year, with hopefully better weather than previously. Conceived as a broader ‘arts’ festival and a more intimate event, No 6 offers pop up-theatre performances and mini-raves, comedy, readings and talks, film screenings, art trails and installations and other quirky delights in the Italianate village and surrounding woodland of Portmeirion, island location of the surreal 60’s TV series The Prisoner.
Musical treats for this year include Pet Shop Boys, Beck, London Grammar, tUne-yArDs, Tom Odell, Steve Mason, Kelis, Neneh Cherry, Laurent Garnier, Andrew Weatherall, Todd Terje and Bonobo. The Brythoniad Male Voice Choir, who traditionally cover a track by the headliners, have this year prepared their version of ‘Go West’, and there’ll be a new floating dancefloor in the woodland Chinese Lake.
£160 weekend camping tickets are still available for this weekend