Festival of Voice – Wales Millennium Centre’s flagship international arts festival – is returning to Cardiff Bay across the last weekend of October 2020 with a new format. Across four days, audiences will be treated to a wealth of performances and events exploring everything the voice can do and how important it is to have one. They’ll have the option of buying day or full weekend wristbands, giving access to more than 60 performances in Wales Millennium Centre and Portland House, located within a few minutes’ walk of each other.
Cate Le Bon will join this year’s festival as both a performer and a guest curator for part of the programme – bringing her own eclectic selection of voices from around the world. The line-up – which will be announced in full in the summer – will include incredible live music, thought-provoking performance and inspirational talks, immersing the audience in a global chorus of voices.
This announcement marks a significant shift for the festival, which has been biennial since launching in 2016. Previous iterations showcased some of the world’s most recognisable voices from across the musical spectrum including Patti Smith, Van Morrison, Femi Kuti, Laura Marling, Candi Staton, Elvis Costello, Hugh Masekela, Rufus Wainwright, Fatoumata Diawara, John Grant and Angélique Kidjo.
Always at the heart of the festival are one-off collaborations that merge voices and genres. In 2016, audiences were treated to a unique evening that saw The Velvet Underground’s John Cale share the stage with Charlotte Church and actor Michael Sheen. And in 2018, Gruff Rhys premiered his album Babelsberg on the Wales Millennium Centre stage accompanied by the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Announcing this year’s new-look festival, Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director Graeme Farrow said: “We’re thrilled that, as of this year, Festival of Voice will become an international centrepiece of Wales’ annual calendar, and of Cardiff’s commitment to placing music at the heart of the capital’s development. Festival of Voice is much more than a music festival; it’s an exploration of what the voice can do and how important it is to have one. Grab your wristband now and join us in October – it promises be an unforgettable long weekend.”
Guest curator Cate Le Bon said: “I’m truly honoured to curate a small pocket of this extraordinary festival. It encourages its curators to cast a wide net and bring the voices that mean something to the city of Cardiff. It’s a beautiful thing to champion voices that bring joy, that guide, inspire, challenge, soothe and unite us whilst political division and disconnection is being peddled.”