Patti Smith, Gruff Rhys, Billy Bragg and Nadine Shah announced for Festival of Voice Cardiff


Patti Smith, Gruff Rhys, Billy Bragg and Nadine Shah announced for Festival of Voice Cardiff

Cardiff’s international arts festival, Festival of Voice, returns this year for its second instalment. Encouraging a spirit of discovery, the festival will include one-off events, unique collaborations, community participation projects and features powerful and diverse voices from music and the arts, both locally and internationally. For prices and more information, please visit

The first wave of announcements includes an intimate evening with legendary American musician, poet and activist Patti Smith (11 June) in the beautiful St John’s Church, Canton. The following day, Patti takes to the main stage at Wales Millennium Centre for An Evening with Patti Smith, also featuring Lenny Kaye and Tony Shanahan (12 June).

Festival of Voice will host the world premiere of Gruff Rhys performing with BBC National Orchestra of Wales (11 June), who celebrate their 90th birthday this year.

Other headline artists appearing at Wales Millennium Centre are Ivor Novello award-winning singer-songwriter, Passenger (14 June), plus Nadine Shah opens for Billy Bragg on the first night of the festival (7 June) with a special Voices of Protest evening.

Sarah Dennehy, Executive Producer of Festival of Voice comments:
“This first announcement is just a snippet of what’s to come. We’re stoked that Patti Smith will be joining us with her words and music in a small intimate show. I hope the festival brings a burst of energy that will help raise the profile of Cardiff as an international arts and music city”.

Festival of Voice will offer a platform for women (those who identify as women or non-binary) and girls to raise their voices on the first Sunday of the 11-day festival (10 June) with a large-scale collaboration created by public art specialists, Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW, a major cultural programme which marks the centenary of the First World War. PROCESSIONS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate 100 years of votes for women. Women and girls can register now ( to take part in the procession through the streets of Cardiff, creating a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Processions will take place on the same day in four major cities around the UK – London, Belfast, Glasgow, and Cardiff (the only procession which falls within a festival). 
Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director, Wales Millennium Centre and Festival of Voice said:
“We are delighted to announce the first wave of world-class artists who will be performing at the second Festival of Voice. This gives just a taste of what’s to come. As well as other exciting events which embrace theatre, art and all musical genres throughout the city, this year’s festival will also include opportunities to get involved, protest or just hang out in specially designed spaces from daytime into the early hours of the morning.

I hope that those who came to the first Festival of Voice in 2016 will return for the next step in our journey, and that we will attract even more people to experience the festival which is centred around this incredible instrument that we all share – the voice”.

Other shows currently announced across the city include – American singer-songwriter Laura Veirs (9 June) at St John’s Church, Canton, performing songs from her newly released tenth album, The Lookout, giving a voice to themes of accountability, gratitude, fear and cultural decline; Karine Polwart: Wind Resistance (15 – 17 June) at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, a spellbinding alchemy of story and song from the Edinburgh folk artist; and The Tiger Lillies: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (15 & 16 June), a multi-arts experience that sees the cult British trio perform a live soundtrack for the Ballad, one continuous piece of music that evolves and underscores the beauty, pain, joy, tragedy and sorrow of relationships alongside startling images by Nan Goldin.

On 6 March Festival of Voice will unveil the full programme featuring more one-off performances from much-loved artists, specially commissioned collaborations and community projects at various venues across Cardiff, the UK’s first Music City. The programme of music and arts will welcome those firmly on the creative frontier, with shows spanning contemporary and classical music, opera, theatre, talks, visual arts and venue takeovers, with the welcoming city of Cardiff as the host. With excellent access to the Wales Coast Path, legendary ancient castles, an award-winning National Park and International Dark Skies Reserve, Wales' creative and down-to-earth capital is perfectly located for a summer city festival and more.

There will also be free events and opportunities for participation and volunteering, making this a festival for many voices to hear and be heard. For updates and further information, visit