Have you found yourself in the habit of listening to the same old music playlists recently? Well, Cardiff’s Llais arts festival is back again to spring us all from our musical ruts.

One of Wales’ most eclectic musical offerings, the annual festival in the beautiful Wales Millennium Centre puts on a wide array of individual shows and performances across a five-day period, which, this year, runs from 10-15 October.

The festival opens on Tuesday evening with the Welsh Music Prize ceremony, a yearly competition celebrating the best album of the past 12 months from a Welsh artist. Among this year’s longlist are John Cale (Mercy) and Gruff Rhys (The Almond & The Seahorse). The ceremony will feature performances by some of the nominees, as well as emerging Welsh talent.

Further up-and-coming Welsh acts will be on show throughout the festival, including a dedicated Friday evening concert, produced in collaboration with BBC Horizons. Local artists and bands confirmed for the evening event include rapper L E M F R E C K, experimental rhythm and blues band (fronted by identical twins) Nookee, and neo-soul group Source.

Of course a number of established artists will also be taking to the stage, with scheduled shows by Mercury Prize-nominated singer-songwriter Bat for Lashes, renowned Welsh trumpeter Tomos Williams, and singer Gwenno, who is a former winner of the Welsh Music Prize and co-curator of this year’s festival. 

Another unmissable highlight of the five-day itinerary is the chance to see a quartet of female singers – including Cardiff’s very own Charlotte Church – performing songs in an ode to the legendary Joni Mitchell, with backing from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Speaking about the upcoming festival, Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director, Graeme Farrow said, ‘Voices will ring out in every space [of the Wales Millennium Centre] this October with a powerful, eclectic and diverse line-up of artists from Cardiff, Wales and the world.’ 

‘It has been a thrill to work with Gwenno to create the programme, an artist with such a deep sense of how rich a festival can be in this part of her home city,’ he added.

As well as musical performances, the festival will also feature a number of visual exhibitions, including a collaboration with the National Library of Wales’ new Broadcast Archive revolving around classic children’s TV programmes, and a selection of free workshops for adults and children alike.

You can see the whole line-up of festival events, as well as buy tickets, on the official Llais 2023 website. Alternatively, check out some of the other festivals taking place in Wales throughout the year.

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