Sŵn Festival 2013 – The Debrief: Saturday

The full swing of Sŵn has been reached, you can tell by the Twitter storm surge on the topic of it. Yesterday saw a busy day for Cardiff on many fronts, but Sŵn still felt like top dog. Here’s what we got up to: here’s The Debrief…

The day started with a wander down to Urban Tap House for a chat to the part Welsh-part Scottish band Gulp on the behalf of Quench Magazine. Whilst we waited for the arrival of Gulp we listened in on a session by Olympians, the Norwich-born three-piece, who were already there working with Cardiff Student Media. We enjoyed a good chat with Guto Pryce and Lindsey Leven, the results of which you will be able to catch in the November edition of Quench.

We delved into Saturday’s gigs initally by making our way into The Moon Club’s loft to catch the second half of a stunning set by Annie Eve. A captivated and packed out Moon Club audience listened in awe as Annie produced powerful waves of sounds which crashed against the ear of the audience mixed with fragile floating sounds too. We hyped her up for a Band of the Day feature and boy did she live up to it.

Next up, after grabbing some food, we had intended to catch some of Among Brothers set at Fuel, however you will have guess by the start of this sentence that this was unfortunately not a goal we achieved. Instead we were divided up by work commitments, so with Joe headed off to his place of work, I took flight in the opposite direction and made my way out to St. John’s Church in Canton where I stumbled upon the last two songs of what appeared to have been a charming and intimate set by Welsh-folk band Plu.

Marika Hackman

Following Plu on stage at St. John’s was the enthralling Marika Hackman who, in spite of claims of travel-weariness, produced a truly stunning set. Atop of the brilliant guitar playing of Marika, the thing that most struck me was her ability to make the most of every syllable in a word, not a single sound was lost in her pronunciation, every plosive sound was struck with a beautiful tentativeness which emphasised the meanings behind the lyricism of the songs. Questions had been asked about the placing of bands in St. John’s, with it being so far away from the bulk of the venues, but, for those who made it there, the setting could not have been more perfect: a beautiful church, perfect acoustics and an intimate atmosphere.


Much like MarikaFryars also profited greatly from the Church’s acoustics and atmosphere, though it could be argued that had the chosen venue had been more central both Marika and Fryars would have attracted a much larger audience: they could easily have forced the “one-in-one-out” rule at any central venue. Fryars began their set, adding to the atmosphere by playing short and crackling video recordings between songs. The guys produced a great set and left the venue, which had also witnessed several other stunning performances throughout the day, with a “I was there when” sort of feeling. Plus, to top it all off, I even got a personal shout out from Benjamin Garrett himself: not a bad result of an evening and certainly worth the brisk twenty minute walk.

I wandered, satisfied, back into the Cardiff’s city center where my night improved even more so as I caught the lion’s-share of a majestic set by Money. Money battled against a rather raucous crowd, who’s days of a pint or two per band had clearly begun to catch up with them. The majority though stood engulfed by the sound of Money and rewarded them with an enormous round of applause once their set was up.


At this point, the night took a slight detour, being on my own, stone-cold sober in an increasingly drunken staurday-night Cardiff had begun to catch up with me and I decided that having had the practically perfect night that I had, it might be the right time to call it a night. Hence I headed home and started to watch Match of the Day…

I was pretty sure my night was over when, just as Aguero headed in Manchester City’s second goal, I got a call from Joe who had gotten out of work early and so the night reeled up again.

We made our way down to the city center again with the slightly optimistic aim of catching some of Shhh…Apes gig, which we sadly just missed – making our way into a dense and sweaty O’Neill’s just as the band were packing up. We were however treated to the musical stylings of the brilliant Metabeats. Reportedly fresh from Amsterdam, he dove straight in, creating the sort of party atmosphere that the Dutch capital itself would have been proud of as the Sŵners danced (slightly questionably) Saturday to a close.

Get yourself over to Sŵn’s homepage to find a full line up and information on the festival, you could also check Sŵn out on Twitter (@swnfestival) or Facebook for more.

As always, thanks for reading On The Beat. If you enjoyed this article please share it on Facebook or Twitter or Myspace or Bebo or MSN Messenger. Whatever floats your boat. We’d also like to hear your thoughts, how was your Saturday at Swn? Who did you see? Who was the best? Any unexpected surprises? Let us know in the comment section below or via Facebook or Twitter.

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