In an honest reflection on his work, Connor Morgans talks us through the challenges of establishing a new music brand for Welsh music and wonders what it says about the music business in Wales.
At the beginning of 2023 I was at an all-time high of love for new Welsh music, I was playing new Welsh songs on my show for Radio Cardiff, releasing playlists filled with Welsh artists, became a part of the jury for the Welsh Music Prize and, yet, still wanted to do even more to promote and support Welsh music… A few months now in to 2023 I had the idea of creating a brand that would encompass all my efforts in supporting Welsh music, after considerable deliberation between myself and friends, I decided on the brand name ‘Adlais’ this is Welsh for echo. It was the perfect title, I wanted to echo all the best new sounds and artists in Wales, and it got me excited for doing, as aforementioned, more for the industry. Then came along the idea of setting up my own gig night.
Now began the hard job of setting up my very first gig night, I wasn’t sure where to start, but for me the most logical starting point was to approach venues and propose them my idea. I produced half a page that outlined my idea to promote new Welsh artists and do it across venues in Wales. I suggested a few artists that I’d love to get involved and whether this would be something that would work for the venue. Of course, as you may expect, I didn’t receive many replies at all. However, I did receive a reply from The Moon in Cardiff! Ed at The Moon was incredibly helpful and above all genuinely interested in my idea which was so exciting! I discussed with the venue about potential dates, and we decided on September, which at the time was possibly 4 months away (this was purposeful), I knew this wouldn’t be easy and I wanted ample time to make sure I make it the best night possible. The venue offered me a budget that I could then use to start approaching artists and working out whether they would feasible.
I then had the fun task of creating my dream line up for the night. As expected, it never goes to plan. However, it was great to be able to start asking artists whether they may be interested and what their fee was. After much deliberation my two support acts were in place – Liam J Edwards & Half Happy. Both artists I was incredibly keen on booking for the night and was elated when they were keen to take part. We negotiated fees and later technical requirements. Despite this, my headliner was still not booked, after a few hiccups along the journey I had approached Hemes who I had recently worked with, and she said yes! This rounded off my line-up – Liam J Edwards, Half Happy & Hemes. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!
Now the acts were booked I turned my attention to creating visual assets, I wanted to continue the brand identity that I was using in my previous Adlais posts on Instagram and created my first poster, this was posted by myself, the venue and acts and things started to take shape. When creating the assets the venue asked for a variety of sizes for the poster, such as A3, A4 etc. This was so that they could print the posters, post on their website, socials etc.
When it came to the night itself, I made sure to make myself known to the engineer for the night and outlined my plan. I worked with them to ensure the acts were able to soundcheck and feel prepared. Thankfully, everything went well, and I couldn’t feel more fulfilled to see several months work prior come together to produce a night celebrating Welsh music!
Despite all of this, there were parts that didn’t run as smooth as I initially expected, but having a support network, in my case, my close friends and the venue to run ideas past and updates was incredibly helpful. I hope to encourage anyone thinking on promoting their own gigs to do it, I discovered there are some venues and organisations in Wales that are actively trying to support those looking to do get into promotion whether this is Beacons, Anthem etc. What we need to do is get the word out there, share our awareness of the venues and organisations doing this work.
After the success of the first night, I’m incredibly excited to take Adlais across Wales and bring artists from one region of Wales to another and expand their reach.
You can learn more about Adlais here.