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LIVE PREVIEW: Sŵn Festival 2019

Summer may be drawing to an end, but the festival season of 2019 is far from over. Sŵn Festival is coming to Cardiff in October, bringing three days of innovative, out-of-the-box, challenging and refreshing music to the Welsh capital. Founded by Huw Stephens and John Rostron, and now run by local grassroots music institution Clwb Ifor Bach, Sŵn is now in its twelfth year and the largest multi-venue festival in Wales. Its varied offering, including a range of different sounds, styles and moods, is sure to have something of interest for everyone, from novices to the music scene to the more seasoned fans.

The festival will run from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th October at a number of venues in Cardiff city centre – the full list of stages is still to be announced. The Cardiff music scene sports a good number of high-quality venues in close proximity to each other, with Womanby Street likely to be once again the beating heart of the city’s grassroots music panorama. Most venues are equally close to Cardiff Central and Queen St train stations, making them easier to reach for the sizable numbers of visitors the festival has seen in its past years of running.

The 2019 line-up may well be Sŵn’s most ambitious and exciting yet, incorporating a number of intriguing new faces alongside well-known artists from Wales, the UK, and beyond. Stand-out names include The Murder Capital, fresh from the release of their debut album; Himalayas, whose status as local favourite has extended to recognition well beyond the borders of their native Cardiff; London’s Saint Agnes, a staple of blues-rock energy; and a number of international artists including Seattle’s Chastity Belt, Ireland’s The Claque and Silverbacks, and Belgium’s Charlotte Adigery.

The Welsh contingent is also going strong, bringing to the stage the Welsh-language hip hop of 3 Hwr Doeth, the mellow folk-pop of Rosehip Teahouse, and the biting post-punk of Clwb Fuzz, among others.

Fans of punk, grunge, and alternative rock will find this year’s festival particularly interesting, with a much wider range than in past years including Indian Queens, Heavy Lungs, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Big Joanie, Lice, Hotel Lux, Wych Elm, Squid and more. But the rabbithole of the full line-up goes much further – the day splits have already been announced, and promise a very intense weekend for Cardiffians and visitors alike.

With the first wave of tickets already sold out, it certainly looks like Sŵn Festival is poised to deliver its most vibrant and compelling outing so far, and offer an excellent reason for the festival mood to last well into the Autumn this year.

Sŵn Festival takes place on the 18th to 20th of October at various venues in Cardiff (full list TBA). The full line-up can be viewed here, and second wave tickets are on sale here.

Photo Credit: Simon Ayre

Chiara Strazzulla
Chiara was born in Sicily and lives in Cardiff, where she is a freelance journalist and teacher of Classics. She is an internationally published novelist and has collaborated with a variety of publications both in English and Italian. She has been a music lover her whole life, and her taste in music ranges from glam rock to punk by way of blues and country.

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