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.
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 The Vaccines, Alt J, The Drums, Ben Howard, Foxes, Wolf Alice, Drenge and Disclosure have all been seen in their raw state at Sŵn before going on to much, much bigger things, and we promise you’ll always find plenty of similar undiscovered gems as you meander between the gigs. Now a staple in the calendar, with a few thousand festival-goers mixing in with the loquacious throng of Cardiff’s weekend nightlife, Sŵn has become a signature event for Wales and for its capital city of Cardiff, winning NME Best Small Festival for our edition in 2013.
In 2014, having grown to such a size that we were now too big to be run by our small team of part-time freelancers, we took something of a breather, and piloted a one-day version of Sŵn we called DimSŵn. A full day and night of music with over 50 bands playing. DimSŵn was well received, enormous fun and it sold out in advance too, giving us the inspiration and space we needed to re-imagine Sŵn for Wales today.
DimSŵn was so good we didn’t want to let it go, and it inspired us create the new DimSŵn Festival which we debuted in April 2015. A Spring one-dayer which was so good, it’ll now become an annual event in Cardiff, to complement our Autumn festival. More on that once the Autumn has passed.
So, to Sŵn. We’re back this year across the two days of Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th November. A little later than usual because of the Rugby World Cup, which gives you a little more time to ready yourself. There’s three tiers of tickets : WEEKEND EARLYBIRD, onsale now until mid September through DICE, (where you pay no booking fee) or through our site (with Booking Fee). Then prices will go up to ADVANCE, and we’ll also put on sale (if we’ve space left) DAY tickets, for those who can, or want, to only come for either the Saturday or the Sunday. If Sŵn doesn’t sell out in advance (which it did last year) then there’ll be tickets available to buy as you walk up on the day, but those are the most pricey. So if you can come, buy as soon as you can.
There’ll be oodles of bands playing Sŵn. We’ve announced 74 so far. You won’t know them all, and you might know none of them. That’s the idea. But rest assured they’re all ace. Listen to the playlist on Soundcloud to start to get to know them. Read their biogs. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook. By the time Sŵn comes the songs will feel like old favourites. We guarantee you’ll find some new bands you’ll love, love, love. Afterall, that’s why we do it.