ROUNDUP | SPRING INTO SUMMER 2021
Yes, the pub’s open. Maybe you’re there right now. If not, put it out of your mind for five seconds and read this 10-strong list of things to do, that have happened and so forth.
Nook, a thoughtful small plates-based restaurant located in Cardiff’s Victoria Park area, is this month building on its recent Michelin Guide recommendation (there are still people who really trust the big tyre fella apparently) by opening a pop-up across the way in Llandaff. Nook By The River launches on Thurs 29 Apr, in the week where Welsh outdoor hospitality begins to reopen, and will consist of a “fairy lit stretch tent” in the grounds of Llandaff Rowing Club. With 35 covers even with social distancing rules in place, it’s a fair bit bigger than the original Nook’s standard capacity; it’ll be open from Thursday to Sunday each week, with a closing date TBC, but is fully booked until Sun 23 May.
Welsh children’s hospice Tŷ Hafan is promoting a fundraising drive throughout May, whose premise encourages people to accomplish a marathon’s-worth of activity over the month while actual marathons as we know them are still off the agenda. The distance – 26.2 miles, deemed to equal 55,374 steps – can be done in any way participants like: you don’t have to don your singlet and spikes, just have an app to log your total. Entry is £5, or £13 with a commemorative T-shirt, and if you raise £30 or more in sponsorship you’ll get a medal.
Located on Cardiff’s Womanby Street since the early 1980s, Clwb Ifor Bach has long been a respected gig venue and nightclub, and is now diversifying by moving into management, label and publishing under the Clwb Music umbrella. The venue’s chief executive Guto Brychan says that this plan predates 2020, but was understandably moved forward on the agenda as a result of Clwb Ifor Bach being unable to operate in its customary manner. The first acts to sign up with Clwb Music, meanwhile, are Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard and Panic Shack – two Cardiff-based indie bands who will be represented on the management side.
Cardiff Council’s current programme of improvements to Cowbridge Road East, making it more pedestrian-friendly, included a call-out for local artists to submit designs for a road crossing. Steffan Dafydd, one of the people behind the newly minted Clwb Music, was one of the final three whose design was put to a public vote – which he won. Consequently, local residents’ journeys between the Co-op and the birthday card shop will be made extra striking by his abstract jungle-esque splashes of colour.
Having announced its date of Sat 15 May back in February, annual Welsh language festival Tafwyl – set in Cardiff Castle, though required to livestream this year – has recently confirmed its full bill. Curated by Clwb Ifor Bach (them again!), musical acts will include Geraint Jarman, Ani Glass [pictured, below], Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog and Ëadyth, plus a guest showing from Brittany group Emezi, who appear in partnership between Tafwyl and Gouel Broadel Ar Brezhoneg, a Breton festival. Various other sessions, discussions and panels also take place throughout the day, all accessed via the Welsh language-specific AM platform.
For many years, millions of us have debated the burning question, “do Feeder count as a Welsh band or not?” This summer, Newport Events stake out their position by booking the long-running alternative rockers for what they call a “homecoming gig” in the city’s Tredegar Park. Social distancing restrictions will ensure a capacity of 3,000, with tickets due to go on sale on Tue 4 May at 10am. Support will come from The Magic Gang, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard (them again!) and another upcoming Cardiff act, Tom Auton & The Bottle Breakers.
Later in the summer, the rescheduled 2020 tour of Pontypridd pop icon Tom Jones will cross the UK. It didn’t originally have a Welsh date, but event promoters Orchard have managed to secure one for the Events Arena in Rhyl on Wed 1 Sept. Tickets are £57.50, or £120 VIP, and the tour follows the recent release of Surrounded By Time, the latest studio album by the man called ‘Sir Tom’ by enthusiasts of the British honours system.
Also delayed by a year, as the name might suggest, is football’s European Championships, with Wales having again qualified. Passing quickly over the team’s less wholesome brushes with headlines of late, the Football Association Of Wales have teamed up with Literature Wales and invited children of primary school age to submit their poetry, with the theme being ‘identity’. These poems will be judged by a panel including singer-songwriter Kizzy Crawford, Wales’ Children’s Laureate Eloise Williams, and two Wales internationals TBC.
This impressive multi-venue long weekender had to take a break from its usual autumn slot last year, of course, but has set dates for its return in 2021 and is optimistic about it all going ahead without disruption. Due to take place from Thurs 21-Sun 24 Oct, the Swansea Fringe Festival includes music, comedy and spoken word, although previous editions have emphasised the first of those artforms most heavily. Applications to perform are now open and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graffeg, a publisher based in Cardiff Bay and specialising in Welsh-language children’s books, is working with Books Council Wales and the Reading Agency to publish eight titles pertaining to their Reading Well scheme. Each was originally published in English and have been chosen for their efforts to address issues which can be challenging to explain to young children, including disability, mental health and grief. Of the eight titles, seven have already been published, with Beth Sy’n Digwydd Yn Fy Mhen? (by Molly Potter, and originally titled What’s Going On Inside My Head?) due out on Thurs 1 July.