Wales is known as a land of song and Cardiff leads the way with a vast array of live music venues. From the 70,000 plus super-venue that is the Millennium Stadium to more cosy intimate gigs, Cardiff has the music spectrum covered, in both size and genre. Whether you want to see local bands, live jazz, world music, or international super-groups, Cardiff will never disappoint.
A study by the Performing Rights Society revealed that Cardiff is the second most musical city in the UK based upon the number of bands having their origins in each UK city
With its revitalised docks, the impressive Millennium Centre and a sports stadium that has played host to the FA Cup final, Cardiff is no doubt on a roll.
Cardiff has a range of mid-sized venues featuring live music, every night of the week. You’ll find laid back acoustic gigs, a myriad of jazz, dance, rock and metal bands, and good old-fashioned pop.
Later this year a Clash of the Bands competition will be held at the Park Inn Hotel Cardiff in which local bands will compete for prize money.
Its music scene, which fared well when its scruffy port was better known for ladies of the night than opera divas? Over ten years ago, the Welsh capital was the buzzing centre of a vibrant music scene led by Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals and Catatoni with new acts sucha s Goldie Looking Chain and the Stereophonics continuing the trend.
The scene is definitely more vibrant and alive now than ever. There has never been a shortage of amazing bands in Cardiff, making running a singles club a piece of cake. There are more promoters, venues and bands than I’ve ever known, though on the downside, if I hear one more Stereophonics soundalike I may top myself.
Back then, there was no label that could put out a record worldwide and nobody had a chance to do it. By the time bands had thought of it, they were already in London. And it has cast a shadow. After a sunny period it always feels like there’s a vacuum even when there’s still things going on.
Local talent has been supported by the likes of the iconic Ankst Records, which specialised in Welsh language recordings, though its ambitions were limited in scope but was able to assist promoting venues and supporting club promoters around Cardiff.
There is a growing number of bedroom producers and nights in Cardiff that are well supported interestingly promoting the venue as well as the band or club night.
Machine Records are another local label with a definite electronic bias. When the label started, there was no scene to connect with, though gradually it has built up a formidable roster of artists that have started to come out of the studio and now perform live at regular Cardiff showcases.
Plug Two, meanwhile, has benefited from the support of the Welsh Music Foundation (WMF), an organisation set up to support the country’s creative industry. Its prime mover is Huw Williams, once a member of Eighties indie staples The Pooh Sticks and former manager of Newport’s 60 Ft Dolls.
It’s great having people fighting your corner. When we couldn’t go to music conferences, or didn’t need to, the WMF would be there spreading the word. And they take a strategic view, looking at the problems we face like the lack of venues of a certain size here in Cardiff.
Beyond the shiny new buildings, Cardiff is as industrious as ever.
Search Cardiff’s live music events here.