Festival of Voice 2018 - A Year To Go

Festival of Voice – A Year to go…

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre and Festival of Voice

I can’t quite believe that this time last year, we were in the midst of our first festival and I had just met one of my music heroes, John Cale. He signed my Velvet Underground & Nico album and then got on stage and performed a remarkable show, joined by guests Charlotte Church, Gwenno Saunders, Michael Sheen, the House Gospel Choir and a chamber orchestra. They were all brought together for a once in a lifetime opening night show which set the tone for the next 10 days where we encouraged audiences, participants and indeed ourselves, to adventure off the beaten path and discover something new…

Wales Millennium Centre’s Festival of Voice was created in 2016 to celebrate Wales’ timeless connection with song and the positive effects singing together can have on peoples’ wellbeing, whether participating or listening and observing.

The first Festival of Voice was an opportunity for Wales to celebrate the thing it’s best known for: singing, but in a way that is outward looking and that celebrates the future as well as the past, with international and local artists sharing our stages. With over 15,000 people from around the world attending and another 10,000 as performers and participants, the festival was a journey for everyone, in venues, arts centres and locations all over the city. People joined together in celebration of the best of what it means to be human and exist alongside one another in the world, united through the purest form of expression – the one instrument we all share and can ‘play’.

Festival of Voice is about discovery through participation and immersion – about finding voices. For 2018, the Festival will commission more new work and again bring together unique collaborations in contemporary and classical music, opera and theatre and this time around we plan to give platforms which give us more opportunity to speak and discuss some of the themes which are highlighted within the programme.

Festival of Voice is rooted in the unique locations and communities of Cardiff – a wonderful melting pot of nationalities sprung from the city’s historical docks and industrial past, where multiculturalism runs deep. Engaging and encouraging society’s connection with culture through voice, the festival will present opportunities to empower people to use their own voice. We’ll be bringing artists and audiences together to hear and be heard.

Over the last year, we’ve been developing our identity and our story, and we’re working on a rejuvenated website which will launch in the coming months. We’ve been working with Cardiff-based graphic designer Ollie Norcott to come up with exciting visuals that we think truly reflect the ambition of the festival. We wanted to represent the voice graphically, and Ollie did this with inspiration from Cymatics – a process where patterns emerge from playing music, sounds and voices through water.

We’ve been visiting festivals, researching and discussing lots of exciting collaborations and are well underway with planning and programming what we think will be another joyful celebration of the voice in 2018, at venues all over Cardiff.

To be the first to hear about festival announcements over the next 12 months, please sign up to our mailing list and we look forward to sharing with you what we hope you’ll agree is another great festival for 2018.


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