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Gŵyl 2021 Online Festival

6th March 2021 7th March 2021

Four of Wales’ best-loved festivals – Festival of Voice, FOCUS Wales, Other Voices Cardigan and Aberystwyth Comedy Festival – have joined forces in lockdown to create Gŵyl 2021, a free online festival.

An Extraordinary Digital Gathering

The festival is bursting with unforgettable music and comedy, embracing diversity and dialogue. Filmed or recorded over recent months in Wales and internationally within Coronavirus guidelines, Gŵyl 2021 will broadcast online on www.bbc.co.uk/gwyl2021 across the weekend of 6th-7th March 2021.

Gŵyl 2021 Online Festival
Islet by Rhodri Brooks

The event will be an extraordinary digital gathering for these exceptional times. Gŵyl 2021 shines a light of determination and resilience from the creative scene in Wales. Following almost a year of physical distancing, Gŵyl 2021 marks an emotional moment of unity of artists and audiences, from Wales and the world. It recognises that our collective voice is a powerful sum of its parts.

The Gŵyl 2021 online festival will celebrate the established and a discovery of the eclectic. With acts from Wales and further afield, the line-up includes contributions from Cate Le Bon in collaboration with Gruff Rhys, the award-winning Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Tim Burgess’ Listening Party, and Catrin Finch; plus BERWYN (BBC Music Sound of 2021), Carys Eleri (Adelaide Fringe Festival winner), Arlo Parks and Dani Rain, the drumming force behind Neck Deep.

Other Highlights

Other highlights confirmed include Charlotte Adigéry and post-punk Welsh Music Prize winners Adwaith. Irish poet and art-rock pioneer Sinead O’Brien and Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Jordan Brookes will perform. Welsh Language Album of the Year winner Ani Glass and Dublin four-piece Sprints feature too. Cardiff-based Guinean griot musician N’Famady Kouyate and sketch group Tarot are also on the list. Dance company Jukebox Collective have curated several performances. These include reggae artist Aleighcia, RnB/soul artist Faith, singer and rapper Reuel, spoken word artist Jaffrin Khan and more.

Gruff Rhys

There’s a one-off performance by Brett Anderson, Charles Hazlewood and Paraorchestra. The performance features special guests Nadine Shah, Adrian Utley and Seb Rochford. You can also see episodes of the comedy podcasts Welcome to Spooktown and I Wish I Was an Only Child. These feature guest appearances from famous Welsh faces.

The festival also makes international links as FOCUS Wales hosts artists from across Canada as well as exclusive, interactive performances. S4C will broadcast exclusive highlights from Other Voices Cardigan.

Available To View On The BBC

All rehearsals, filming and recording have taken or will take place within local Coronavirus guidelines. All content made in Wales is entirely in consultation with the Welsh Government.

Confirmation of the full line-up and schedule and the festival itself will be broadcast across the weekend on www.bbc.co.uk/gwyl2021, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru. Content from the festival will be available to view again for seven days on the BBC platform.

“Outstanding Partners”

Quote from Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre: “Festival of Voice has been the highlight of our calendar since 2016 and last year’s festival was shaping up to be no exception. The pandemic dashed the exciting and ambitious plans we’d made, however. We’re all delighted to work with such outstanding partners to deliver the Gŵyl 2021 online festival in March. It brings together the very best of all four festivals and our shared spirit of curiosity and passion for great performance. We hope it brings a bit of much-needed joy to blow away the cobwebs.”

Quote from Henry Widdicombe, Aberystwyth Comedy Festival: “We couldn’t be more delighted to be working with three other amazing Welsh festivals to deliver this online event in March. While the past year has been an unprecedented challenge for the events industry, an event like this shows that the arts community has also come together due to that challenge. The programme of events is astonishing and we can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Quote from Neal Thompson, FOCUS Wales: “We are happy that FOCUS Wales has worked in partnership with three of Wales’ best-known festivals to create Gŵyl 2021. After what has been a dark and difficult year for us all, we look forward to a brighter future and to coming together and celebrating Wales’ rich and diverse cultural offering, with a programme of outstanding music and comedy.”

“Super Excited”

Dilwyn Davies, Other Voices Cardigan says “Other Voices and Mwldan are super excited at the prospect of an extraordinary weekend of music and comedy. During a time of separation, distance and lockdown, it’s all the more important that we – artists, audiences and crew – join together to share and celebrate the riches of our diverse culture.”

Quote from Rhodri Talfan Davies, director of BBC Cymru Wales: “BBC Wales is delighted to be working with Gŵyl 2021. We all need a blast of creativity, comedy and music right now and this unprecedented partnership with four brilliant Welsh festivals promises to be a real gem.”

Welsh Government supports GŴYL 2021.

Get involved on social media, using the hashtag #gŵyl2021

More about the four festivals:

Festival of Voice brings artists and audiences together to hear and be heard. We showcase world-class live music, performance, debate and discussion at the Wales Millennium Centre. The centre is our home for the arts in Wales.

Working with emerging and established local, national and international artists, we create live experiences that celebrate the voice in all its forms. We challenge artists to take risks, embrace collaboration, and explore the boundaries of genre and form. This is a totally international event rooted in the Welsh capital. Festival of Voice is a place to immerse yourself in a global chorus of voices.

FOCUS Wales is an international multi-venue showcase festival in Wrexham, North Wales. It places the music industry spotlight firmly on the emerging talent that Wales has to offer the world. Let’s not forget also that it provides some of the best new acts from across the globe. FOCUS Wales 2021 will mark the festival’s 10th edition.

Other Voices

Now in its 20th year, Other Voices is a glorious celebration of music in all its diversity. It began as an intimate musical gathering in a tiny church in Dingle. Ireland’s iconic festival has since hosted a series of global events in Austin, London, Belfast, Berlin, Derry and New York. A further 35 million people have experienced the festival online. Their digital ‘Courage’ series reached 2.7 million in 2020 and brought live music safely back into people’s lives. Performances ranged from Lisa Hannigan to Fontaines D.C and more.

In 2019, the tiny West Wales town of Cardigan joined their family. This cemented the ties between two Celtic communities who live, work and play on the wild westerly coasts of their respective countries. Other Voices Cardigan presents a stunning live music programme. It also features compelling dialogue around the intersection of art, culture, technology and commerce. Hosted by Huw Stephens and Kizzy Crawford, Other Voices Cardigan is a partnership between South Winds Blows, Mwldan and Triongl.

Aberyswyth Comedy Festival

Aberystwyth Comedy Festival launched in 2018 as a complementary event to the already established Machynlleth Comedy Festival. Whilst Machynlleth is a festival where comedians can try new ideas and experiment, Aberystwyth deals with finished shows. In the two years since Aberystwyth launched, it has become a cornerstone of the comedy calendar. It hosts a raft of up-and-coming comedy talent from across Wales and beyond. Shows have featured the likes of James Acaster, Rhod Gilbert, and Suzi Ruffell.

It’s also spawned its own BBC Radio Wales series, Live from Aberystwyth Pier, hosted by Kiri Pritchard-McLean. The abundance of performance spaces dotted along the seafront and on the campus particularly lend themselves perfectly to a comedy festival by the sea.

List of performers announced so far:

Adwaith | Ani Glass | Arlo Parks | BERWYN | Carys Eleri | Cate Le Bon | Gruff Rhys | Catrin Finch | Brett Anderson, Charles Hazlewood and Paraorchestra, featuring special guest Nadine Shah | Charlotte Adigéry | Dani Rain | The Gentle Good | I Wish I Was an Only Child | Jordan Brookes | Juice Menace | Kiri Pritchard-McLean | N’Famady Kouyate | Sinead O’Brien | Sprints | Tarot | Tim Burgess’ Listening Party | Welcome to Spooktown | Kidsmoke | And many more…

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