Swn Festival began in 2007, co-founded by Huw Stephens and John Rostron, after a revelatory trip to the world’s largest music showcase festival that is SXSW (South By South West) in Austin, Texas. Seeing the plethora of up and coming venues, promoters, and of course a thriving local bands scene, they returned with the idea of putting on their own, smaller, version in their homeland of Cardiff. That November they put on 100 bands across the city, with the then unknown Yeasayer, DJ Annie Mac and the brilliant Beirut being just some of the names performing over a chilly 3 day weekend across Cardiff’s lovely city centre. Now, 7 years later, Sŵn has grown into a four-day affair, with 200 artists gracing all kinds of venues and with all kinds of other cultural delight on offer – DJs, exhibitions, film screenings, quizzes, Music Industry sessions, outdoor performances and more adding to an always stellar musical line-up.
Gaze wistfully into our past, and you will see standout performances from Los Campesinos! at an old Church, Islet throbbing the walls of a city centre pub and two riproaringly rattling performances from The Cribs in both 2007 & 2012. We’re proud to know that now big-billed acts such as Marina & the Diamonds, The Vaccines, Alt J, The Drums, Ben Howard and Disclosure have all been seen in their raw state at Sŵn before going on to much bigger things, and we promise you’ll find plenty of similar undiscovered gem as you meander between this year’s gigs. Now a staple in October in the extended festival season and with over 5,000 festival-goers mixing in with the loquacious throng of Cardiff’s weekend nightlife, Sŵn will once again be kicked off by the Welsh Music Prize, last year given to festival legends Future of the Left, as a celebratory way to open four incredible days in the Welsh capital.
This year, we also have several new venues to add to our roster, including the Womanby Street home of blistering rock and metal Fuel, the beautiful Victorian architecture of The Angel Hotel, the acoustically stunning St John’s Church and Cardiff’s legendary antique’s centre Jacob’s Market. You can find Info and a Map guide to our 20 venues right here. Want to see the 2013 line-up so far? Good idea.