Festival | Focus Wales

Festival | Focus Wales

You hustle Wrexham’s streets. Wrist encircled in colour you murmurate into the guitar strings of Heal The Last Stand as keyboards waltz with harmonies and your wine is the nectar of the gods. Folding into festival time you become moments twisting-then-unravelling across bars – into Spitbucket-sick-beats. The memory is a set-list creased in your back pocket.

St Giles’ Church echoes with cherubs whose wings are notes flitting from Georgia Ruth to Sera before taking up residence in the cavernous roof arches of the mind. Stained glass windows spit purple, red and gold over an ecstatic audience and you immerse in the softlight & sound of John Bramwell’s fractured lyric.

A fat, low moon tugs the evening tide so that you flow along cobblestones and tarmac to confluent with wristbandless weekend crowds. They are cascading white rapids. You are slow-moving-water flooding beneath the first-floor windows of Rewind as Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard hurls tombstones into the street. A bouncer plugs her fist into the doorway-dam: one-in one-out so, head bowed, you become the riverbed, absorb weight and rock.

Dŵr dach chi. Mae Saith Seren bwrw glaw. Mae bobl yn canu Cymraeg. Mae bobl yn siarad sêr.

At UnDegUn Korean rock/pop bands Patients, Say Sue Me and 57 dismantle glitterballs in a concerted assault on the ears. You spawn upstream through eddies of people to The Void and wonder at the heat generated by sound & dreams. It is black & red, sauna-hot when Tender Prey pour water on scalding rocks. You steam. The crowd precipitates; congregates as clouds & pale-aled-pints thrashed over the floor as Chupa Cabre explode song grenades with a brash, bold thunder bolt & fuck you.

You are Alice surrounded by Cheshire Cats grinning at the storm billowing over another stage as Islet become a wailing squall – the shrieking sea. Their music is a row of oysters lined up and you guzzle each one down whole. At some point you pour into the gloriously cacophonous Seazoo – the late hours tide home held back by the dolphins of Andy Garside’s DJ design and the rainbow emanating from his postered eyes.

Tired & emotional, ears ringing church bells, you dream of the mundane: of kebab & chips, of taxis & bare feet on carpet. You are bear hugs and sleeping hogs. It is blackbird-early Sunday morning. Your feet are broken sticks. Your voice is a hairless bow rasping along twisted violin strings. You flock together one last time, squirrel away memories, plant stones & promise you’ll meet again, same time, next year.


Sophie McKeand, award-winning poet and Young People’s Laureate Wales, has recently released Rebel Sun, her first full-length poetry collection which is available from Parthian Books here.