As a showcase for Welsh music, the Fringe certainly cut it. Over seven days in April 2022, more than 150 acts came out to play at 29 events, in 12 venues across Cardiff. It demonstrated the full breadth and diversity of our talent, from extreme metal to jazz, grime to pop, and folk to electronic dance music.
The Festival Fringe was curated and hosted by us to tie in with the BBC 6 Music Festival – a celebrated alt music event that’s taken place in cities across the UK since 2014. This year brought big-name acts to Cardiff, including Little Simz, IDLES, Bloc Party, Self Esteem and Johnny Marr.
With the festival coming to home soil, we were keen to make sure up-and-coming Welsh acts and Cardiff’s grassroots venues could play their part. So, we put forward the idea of a Fringe event – promoted under the same banner, but with local venues free to book whichever shows they wanted.
Collaboration was key to making the Fringe a success. Cardiff Council lent its help and expertise, and local universities took on an enthusiastic role. The School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies – or JOMEC as its also known – at Cardiff University partnered with Creative Cardiff to run a music journalism event, with its students looking after press coverage.
The University of South Wales incorporated its own annual festival called Immersed! – upping the gig count and raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Non-profit organisation FOR Cardiff received funding and support to create a special edition of Minty’s Gig Guide for the festival. We also provided free tickets for Gig Buddies Cymru, a befriending scheme that matches volunteers to music fans with learning disabilities.
After two years of cancelled gigs during the COVID pandemic, the Fringe was a long-awaited celebration for the music scene in Wales. Almost every show was full, bringing a positive buzz back to venues that had been closed or operating under severe restrictions.
For the artists, including Minas, L E M F R E C K, and Rona Mac, it represented a chance to get out, get noticed, find new fans and connect with them in person, rather than online. And for us, it was an opportunity to support Welsh music – not just artists and venues, but sound engineers, promoters and everyone across the industry.
Want to hear more? Discover some of the artists who took part in the greatest gigs of the 6 Music Festival Fringe:
- March 30: Juice Menace at Porter’s, with Harry Jowett and Noah Bouchard. An electrifying show from the acclaimed young rapper
- March 31: The Shutdown Show at The Moon. Eädyth and Izzy Rabey headlined a gig featuring some of South Wales’ best emerging MOBO talent
- April 1: Red Telephone, Eye, Foxxglove and Tom Emlyn at Tiny Rebel. An amazingly varied line-up at an intimate venue, taking in psych-rock, prog metal, dark pop and folk