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Cultural Events

Brecon Jazz Festival, Brecon

Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, Cardiff

Guardian Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye. A literary festival, which Bill Clinton aptly described as 'The Woodstock for the Mind.'

Dylan Thomas Festival, Swansea An annual event held between 27 October and 9 November (the dates of the poet's birth and death) to commemorate the works of Thomas. In addition, the festival hosts the awards' ceremony for the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize - a biannual writing competition for most outstanding literary talent in English, aged under 30.

Dylan Thomas Fringe, Swansea. Compliments the main events at the Dylan Thomas Festival and is held at various venues throughout the city.

Faenol Festival is organised by the internationally renowned opera singer Bryn Terfel, and takes place on August Bank Holiday weekend every year at Y Felinheli, between Bangor and Caernarfon.

International Eisteddfod, Llangollen. An international festival of traditional music and dance.

National Eisteddfod (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol). First week of August. A Welsh Language event that is hosted by a different town each year, alternating between north and south Wales. In 2010 it will be held Blaenau Gwent.

Sesiwn Fawr World Music Festival takes place every July in Dolgellau. With 6 stages, there's something for everyone.

Swansea Bay Film Festival, Swansea . The UK's largest international indie film festival.

Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts, Swansea. An annual (October) three week bash of culture at various locations in Swansea, and the second largest such festival in the UK.

Wakestock is a music festival combined with a wakeboarding contest, which takes place in Abersoch every July.



Wales is a country with two languages: Welsh and English. Welsh is spoken by around 20% of the population. Although the north west has the highest ratio of Welsh to English speakers, a greater number of Welsh speakers live in the more populous south. Most areas are far from completely Anglicised, and the language is strong across Wales.

There are several dialects of Welsh, most audibly north and south. The road signs are bilingual, giving both the Welsh and English versions of the text and placenames.

The Welsh language (Cymraeg) continues to flourish within Wales thanks to Welsh-medium education, a lively media industry and the enthusiasm of people living in Wales. The rights of the language have also been helped by bilingual and language policies made law by the Government.


Whether we can sing or not we’ll certainly give it a try.
And that’s perhaps why Wales is referred to as The Land of Song.
In school we’re encouraged to sing and to compete in the eisteddfodau - cultural competitions held across Wales involving singing, dancing, reciting, acting and more.

All our celebrations seem to revolve around singing too. If you’ve ever watched Wales play rugby you’ll notice our crowds tend to win hands down when it comes to singing, even if we don’t always win the actual game. Our national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers), getting the loudest and most tuneful rendition.

Those of us not blessed with great singing voices may have a go at an instrument instead. The harp is probably most traditionally associated with Wales, and today artists such as Catrin Finch are bringing it right up-to-date. There are still many musicians keeping our folk tradition alive, arranging and performing traditional melodies.

You might even get to hear someone playing the unique crwth (form of stringed lyre) or pibgorn (wooden pipe).

Of course we can’t talk about Wales and music without getting to our male voice choirs, famous throughout the world. Probably the best known today are Treorchy and Morriston Orpheus male voice choirs, and seeing them perform is a real treat. More recently, Froncysyllte’s choir has come into the limelight - there is even talk of a Hollywood film being made about it.

All in all, for a small nation, we have bred some pretty influential musical figures, many of which have gone on to international stardom. From opera stars like Bryn Terfel and Sir Geraint Evans to music legends like Sir Tom Jones and Dame Shirley Bassey – we’ve certainly done our fair share for the international stage.

In more recent years we have produced some hugely successful rock and pop bands too. Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Feeder and Super Furry Animals are just some of the bands who have appeared in recent years and who are still going strong.

There is also a thriving Welsh language music scene - today's big acts include Euros Childs, Mattoidz, Genod Droog, Frizbee and Radio Luxembourg, many of which are influential far beyond Wales, though not part of the mainstream music scene. And old timers such as Bryn Fon, Meic Stevens and Dafydd Iwan are still going strong.

And you can't talk about welsh music without mentioning Radio 1 dj Huw Stephens and promoter John Rostron's Swn Festival, a Cardiff-wide music festival held each autumn.

So, as you can see, we’re pretty hot on the music front. So when you hear someone belting out a tune, don’t be afraid to join in. It’s not about being able to sing, more like who can sing the loudest!

Useful links
BBC Wales music


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