During our first year we offered a programme of ’52 Things’ made with and for the city’s creative community to showcase the fantastic people and places in our city. You can find the full 52 here.

Researching the Sŵn Festival

This year sees the Sŵn Festival celebrate its tenth birthday. Over the past ten years the festival has brought a variety of sights and sounds to Cardiff and developed a unique musical platform shared by new and established bands alike.

But what is the secret to a good music festival? How is a music festival experienced by audience members and bands? What impact can a festival have in terms of attracting people to Cardiff? All these are questions the Festivals Research Group here at Cardiff University want to find out by engaging in detail with Sŵn.

Within the discipline of popular music studies festivals have become somewhat of a hot topic with researchers engaging with them as places of performing ritual, sites for innovation of live performance and as markers of musical journeys for performers. A festival can provide bands with their defining moment and mark their place in musical history; think of Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight festival or Beyoncé at Glastonbury. Our study of Sŵn aims to add new ideas to the discussion of festivals by providing what we think is one of the most comprehensive studies of a festival undertaken in the UK.

Our research consists of three main strands: an audience survey, an ethnographic enquiry into the performers’ journeys and a music museum.

The audience survey will be looking into the travel habits of Sŵn attendees and what they get out of attending the festival including experiences ranging from enjoying a live performance by a band they love or capturing that exciting moment when you stumble on the band that changes your life!

The ethnographic study will compare the journeys taken through Sŵn by an established act and a first-time act to parallel their experiences and get to the core of the value Sŵn adds to their careers as musicians.

The final piece of the puzzle is the Sŵn Music Museum where Cardiff residents and Sŵn attendees will be sharing their memorabilia and ephemera with the public. This crowdsourced museum will be exploring what artefacts Sŵn and music in Cardiff have produced and will unravel intriguing stories about bands and concerts you wish you’d seen!

The museum, which is opposite Barker Coffee in the Castle Arcade, is turning out to be an exciting feature of the festival with so many fascinating objects being loaned to us. It’s free for anyone to come and see on the following days:

  • Friday, 21 October 12 noon until 5pm
  • Saturday, 22 October 12 noon until 5pm
  • Sunday, 23 October 12 noon until 5pm

Bring in your three objects to be photographed for the virtual gallery, or tweet to the museum using the hastag #SwnMM, or email them with your stories about them to festivalsresearch@cardiff.ac.uk.

You simply have to come and indulge in this slice of musical pie and taste the sights and sounds of a city built on music.

If you attended Sŵn Festival, please fill in our research survey: http://bit.ly/swnfestsurvey.