You’ve got to be a very specific type of person to think that straight-edge raving from 6am to 9am (before work!) is a good idea … luckily for all the early birds out there, Leah Sian Davies was so into the idea that she’s set up Cardiff’s very own pre-work party sesh events (minus the alcohol and other bad stuff). So meet Leah for this little chat about her Soulful Sunrise events – where you hit the dancefloor and get set up for the day before most people are even awake!
Tell us about the Soulful Sunrise morning events – what can people expect?
At a Soulful Sunrise morning experience, people can expect uplifting, soulful tunes from our DJ, yoga classes, meditation sessions, a great breakfast, limbo dancing, the conga and general fun and silliness. We usually have a special act, for example we had stand up comedian Lorna Pritchard at our last party, and in September we have Sparkles hoop troupe doing a ‘Hip hop hoop’ set for us. Each party has a theme and in September it’s ‘Harvest Festival’, so we will be going old school and inviting everyone to bring a tin/item of food that we can donate to food banks in Cardiff. So really Soulful Sunrise is a party with a purpose. I believe that life is too short to postpone fun, play and happiness until the weekend or the holidays, so that’s why we have a party on a weekday morning – to remind us that life is happening right now. There are also lots of young people now who don’t drink and are looking for an alternative way to party, so it’s great for Cardiff to be able to offer that too. So if all this sounds right up your street, then come and join us at our next event at Bigmoose on Wednesday 19 September.
Where did you get the idea for the Soulful Sunrise mornings?
I was chatting to a friend about how I would love to be able to go partying in the daytime like you do on holidays, there’s something a bit naughty about partying when it’s still daylight. I am also pushing 40 and not great at staying out til 5am, and the hangovers – don’t even go there. She mentioned that she had heard about some early morning raves happening in London called Morning Gloryville, so I took a look online. I’m not really a morning person, but it looked so fun and exciting I booked tickets for me and my partner (who is also a house music fan) straight away. We went up to Notting Hill on a Friday night ready for the 7am party on Saturday morning. From the moment I was greeted at the door by a man in a white coat, with a giant inflatable syringe, wanting to inject my heart with a dose of love, I knew this was going to be something special and I was hooked.
That was back in 2016 and since then, me and several of my friends have been to Morning Gloryville parties at the Ministry of Sound, The top of The Shard and Brixton Rooftop beach. The parties are alcohol and drug free, are open to all ages and have some pretty way out themes. People can dress as flamboyant or casual as they like, and it really is a special vibe. The first time I went, I felt so uplifted and it made me feel like anything was possible – if people were prepared to get up at the crack of dawn get all dressed up and be joyful and silly then what a way to start the day! I just knew we had to bring this to Cardiff, and so I pursued MGV and met with Samantha Moyo the founder to find out how we could make this happen. At that time they were not looking to take it to any new cities, so I decided to create my own morning party for Cardiff – and in a nutshell that’s how Soulful Sunrise was born.
Tell us a bit more about you, and your journey to Cardiff …
I moved to Cardiff 6 years ago from Aberdare in the South Wales valleys. My partner and I quit our jobs in 2010 and went travelling for 8 months to South America, New Zealand and South East Asia. While we were away I really started to think about my future and what kind of work would make me happy. After experiencing different cultures and seeing that there were a million different ways to earn a living, it got me thinking about how I could work for myself and do something that could make a difference for other people too. At this point I didn’t know what that thing was, but after living out of a rucksack and having my eyes and my mind opened to big world, my partner and I thought city life was the next adventure for us. So we moved to Canton in 2012.
What parts of the city have you lived in? Which have been your favourites?
We lived in the centre of Canton for three years and it was so lovely to have shops, cafes and parks on the doorstep, with town being in walking distance too. It’s also just a short walk from Pontcanna and Llandaff Fields, with plenty of places for a coffee and a walk with the dog. We are now a bit further out by Victoria Park and in the last year lots of great place to eat have popped up near us – The Dough Thrower pizza place, Pettigrew bakery, The Parc Deli and great fish and chips at Fintans. It’s really great to have Victoria park, The Insole court gardens and Thompson’s park so close to walk the dog too – he loves it!
What are your plans for Soulful Sunrise in the future?
We have hosted two parties this year so far, and our next one is at Bigmoose Coffee Co 6am-9am on Wednesday 19 September. My plan at the moment is to grow our Soulful Sunrise tribe and let the people of Cardiff know this is happening, so that more people can experience the magic. Bigmoose has been such a great host for us, as the work they do is so positive and in line with the vibe of Soulful Sunrise. I would like to be able to take Soulful Sunrise parties to workplaces and schools so that people can start their day in a positive, uplifting and soulful way. Maybe even a Soulful Sunrise bus that people could hop on and get a boost during their day!
What’s the thing you hate most about Cardiff? The one thing you could fix if you could?
I think there should be more safe cycle lanes in Cardiff. It’s such a small city to get around that I would happily cycle more if I felt safer on the roads.
What’s your favourite thing about Cardiff?
The parks. I love that you can walk into Bute Park in the centre of the city and the noise of the traffic goes quiet straight away. I love how green Cardiff is and that it doesn’t feel like a huge city. Also you can get to the beach and mountains in no time at all.
If you had friends visiting, what would you do with them? Like your ultimate Cardiff day and night out?
We would start the day with a Soulful Sunrise of course! A walk through Pontcanna/Llandaff Fields into Bute Park and have afternoon tea in Pettigrew. A stroll around all the beautiful arcades in town. Get the boat down to the Bay and enjoy the views along the way. Have a look around the Wales Millennium Centre, the Senedd, and have drinks along the waterfront. Head back into town and grab some great Italian food in Café Cita, maybe check out what’s on at the Tramshed.
Thanks Leah! And don’t forget that the next Soulful Sunrise Morning party takes place at Bigmoose on Wednesday 19 September, and features a special hip hop hoop session from We Are Cardiff favourites, The Sparklettes! So go ahead and purchase tickets now!
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