We already know how creative, innovative and inclusive the team at the Wales Millennium Centre are. You only have to look through their annual programme to truly appreciate the breadth of work held in the venue. Everything from major west end shows to the staging of new, groundbreaking work, such as THE BEAUTY PARADE.
FESTIVAL OF VOICE is adding to this already comprehensive programme, bringing together unique collaborations in contemporary and classical music, opera, theatre, talks and visual art. This flagship international arts festival – is returning to Cardiff Bay across the last weekend of October with a new format. And yes, as they say in all good publications, it will be bigger, better and more inclusive.
The first edition of the festival took place in 2016, and since has seen performances from the likes of the Welsh National Opera, Rufus Wainwright, Bryn Terfel, Van Morrison, John Grant, Laura Mvula, Ben Folds, Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Nadine Shah, Gruff Rhys, Laura Veirs, Elvis Costello, Passenger and many, many more.
We realise this festival programme we’ve linked to here is from 2018 but as you browse through the pages, it’ll give you a feel for what we can expect this year. In fact, as you read it, another of those well worn phrases comes to mind, the festival really does have something for everyone. 2018 PROGRAMME We’ve spent the last hour hour flicking through it and we’ve heard – ‘how the hell did we miss that’ said on more than a few occasions.
This year marks a significant, and very welcome shift for the festival, which has been biennial since launching. As the FESTIVAL OF VOICE switches to an annual event it seems appropriate that it will be curated by Cate Le Bon who will join as both a performer and a guest curator for part of the programme – bringing her own eclectic selection of voices from around the world.
Cate was born in Carmarthenshire and is Wales through and through. She sings in both Welsh and English, is a writer and producer and first gained public attention when she supported Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals on his 2007 solo UK tour. Since then she has been in huge demand as both a live performer and guest vocalist. She appeared on Neon Neon’s 2008 single “I Lust U” from their album Stainless Style. Cate herself has released five solo albums, three EPs and a number of singles. The best thing to do is check out her site to see what she’s been up to. CATE
We’d love to tell you the line-up but that’s going to have to wait till the summer when it’ll be announced. We can tell you however, it will include incredible live music, thought-provoking performance and inspirational talks, immersing the audience in a global chorus of voices.
Always at the heart of the festival are one-off collaborations that merge voices and genres. In 2016, we were treated to a unique evening that saw The Velvet Underground’s John Cale share the stage with Charlotte Church and actor Michael Sheen. And in 2018, Gruff Rhys premiered his album Babelsberg on the Wales Millennium Centre stage accompanied by the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Here’s Gruff talking to Huw Edwards about that gig in 2018 and what he was looking forward to from the festival……..
Announcing this year’s new-look festival, Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director Graeme Farrow told us…….
“We’re thrilled that, as of this year, Festival of Voice will become an international centrepiece of Wales’ annual calendar, and of Cardiff’s commitment to placing music at the heart of the capital’s development. Festival of Voice is much more than a music festival; it’s an exploration of what the voice can do and how important it is to have one. Grab your wristband now and join us in October – it promises be an unforgettable long weekend.”
And as you can imagine this is something very special for Guest curator Cate Le Bon. She told us…….
“I’m truly honoured to curate a small pocket of this extraordinary festival. It encourages its curators to cast a wide net and bring the voices that mean something to the city of Cardiff. It’s a beautiful thing to champion voices that bring joy, that guide, inspire, challenge, soothe and unite us whilst political division and disconnection is being peddled.”
Although it’s a while before the full festival announcement line up will be announced you can get in for some early bird tickets, and we highly recommend you do. Weekend Passes for FESTIVAL OF VOICE are on sale right now from here. FESTIVAL
Across the four days, we will be treated to a wealth of performances and events exploring everything the voice can do and how important it is to have one. You have the option of buying day or full weekend wristbands, giving access to more than 60 performances in Wales Millennium Centre and Portland House, located within a few minutes’ walk of each other.