All posts by Ben Newman

I got a brain and a pen.

Take a BITE! New pop-up food festival at Insole Court, Saturday 14 July 2018

Nothing goes better with this glorious weather we’ve been having than stuffing your face with good food, eh? Luckily enough, a new food festival entitled BITE will be coming to Cardiff on the Saturday 14 July 2018. It will take place at the gardens of Insole Court to celebrate all things food-related and local. Also – and this is most exciting of all – it is DOG FRIENDLY, so our resident super-pup Zelda will be coming along for a sausage or two.

Dusty Knuckle pizza-maestro Phill Lewis and ex-Street Food Circus Simon Thomas founded the festival with the goal of providing varied, locally-sourced, and affordable dishes at a good price. The festival will be doing away with the usual array of over-the-top marketing, food trucks, and entrance fees; each selected business will provide a single, specially-created dish, for only £3!

A lot of businesses have decided to take part, with dishes coming from across the whole of Cardiff’s community. A full list of businesses can be found below (and they’re some really, REALLY great people!):

The above list satisfies just about any palette, so there will be something there for everyone. Phil spoke on how each business is excited about the festival:

“All of the chefs have been hard at work recipe testing and coming up with their own unique dishes for the festival – it’s getting a little bit competitive which is great to see as it shows all the chefs are giving it their all. There should be some really creative and exciting food on offer on the day. We’ll be revealing the full menus in the next week or so, so stay tuned!”

By limiting each chef to one dish, the festival is looking to show the best of each business. Food will not be the only thing on offer, with drinks provided by Wrights Wines, Skyborry Cider, and Lufkin coffee. Lufkin was recently featured on We Are Cardiff’s ‘Four Canton Businesses That Give Back’, with the coffee spot being the best roaster in town. Local craft beers will be on sale, too.

Whether you’re looking to fill your belly or get on a small drinking session, head on down to BITE. The festival is here to discuss what makes up “real food”, and to help facilitate that discussion between local people. For more information about BITE, keep an eye on the BITE Facebook event page.

Insole Court


Festival of Voice 2018, Cardiff – preview!

Journalist Ben Newman gives us his lowdown on the wonderful Festival of Voice 2018 – taking over the streets of Cardiff for a fortnight, from the 7 – 17 June …

The Festival of Voice, following the event’s enormously successful Welsh-centric event last year, has returned, promising a line-up that balances pastoral Welsh treats with internationally-renowned performances. At its core, the festival is all about celebrating what makes Wales tick, along with appreciating the power our collective voices have, whether that be artistically or otherwise.

The festival lasts from June 7 – 17, with events running throughout each day across several locations. Most of the festival will take place within the Wales Millennium Centre, but other venues around Cardiff are hosting some events, including Chapter, Clwb Ifor Bach, New Theatre, and so on. The timetable for the festival can be found on the Festival of Voice website, along with a full description of the acts on show.

Highlights, with the obvious show stoppers Patti Smith and Elvis Costello aside, include Gwenno, the Welsh-Cornish alt-pop sensation, Billy Bragg in a special “Voices of Protest” performance, Laura Marling’s and Mike Lindsay’s LUMP, the wonderful one-woman stage performance Lovecraft (Not The Sex Shop In Cardiff), the Charlotte Church curated Utopia – which includes Ionalle of iamamiwhoami fame – and all of the smaller, local performances.

We also recommend following checking out @DTACardiff for a very special and secret pop-up with a difference taking place throughout FOV …

Tickets for each individual event can be found on SeeTickets, with prices varying depending on the act.

Festival of Voice website

Festival of Voice Facebook

Festival of Voice Twitter

Festival of Voice Instagram



Four Canton businesses that give back

Journalist Ben Newman explores four sustainable businesses on the west side of town.

Cardiff, in our (sort of) biased view, is full of businesses that give back to the city, community, and the entire cultural fabric of the Welsh capital. From cafés to corner shops, many of the people and businesses of Cardiff are charitable and utilitarian, so to celebrate that, we’ve collated four Canton-based business that have been giving back in a big way recently.

Hey Clay! At Cardiff Pottery Workshops

Everyone, at some point in their lives, has said to themselves that they want to try pottery “one day”. Who knows what it is that attracts so many people to ceramics, but for some reason, the discipline feels oddly impenetrable, reserved for arty types and the creatively-inclined. However, Hey Clay!, an event at Cardiff Pottery Workshops, is an attempt to bridge the gap between ceramics and the people. Essentially, the event is a free lesson to allow anyone, especially those who are disabled, to have a chance at pottery and learn a thing or two. Hey Clay! is a Crafts Council national celebration of clay which aims to give people across the UK the chance to unleash their inner potter, so Cardiff Pottery Workshops deserve commendation for providing an insight into a tough industry that’s open for anyone.

Bee & Honey

Just off Cowbridge Road, in the heart of Canton, you’ll find Bee & Honey, a café that, on the surface, looks like a quaint place to eat. However, under the surface, Bee & Honey provides some of the best food in Cardiff, as well as acting as a support for other businesses in Cardiff. You’ll only find Bee & Honey goods here, but goods from other Cardiff-based businesses, including Canton Tea Co. and Riverside Sourdough. Additionally, the café has recently staged meditation lessons, diversifying its appeal beyond cuisine. Bee & Honey are an example that businesses in Cardiff, however small, do their best to support their neighbours financially and mindfully, as well as making a pretty banging dish along the way.

Lufkins Coffee

Lufkin Coffee is a little hard to find, located down a small alley near the Co-Op in Pontcanna (where they have the Pipes Beer Festival). It joins a cluster of local, wonderfully small business (Canna Deli, etc.) The owners along with the rest of the staff are always open for conversation, lending to the comfortable and pastoral feel of the entire business. After recently hosting a small ceramics exhibition for Frances Lufkin, a student at Cardiff Met, the business has showed that its small location has a wide reach. However, this is not the reason why this small café is on the list. Lufkin deserves this place, quite simply, because of the quality of its roasted coffee beans and product. It’s not the only the best quality coffee in Cardiff, but it’s also, according to Brian’s Coffee Spot, one of the best roasters in the entire United Kingdom. It may not be flashy, but Lufkin has all that’s needed to succeed as a community coffee shop: excellent coffee, even better conversation, and a cruelty-free product.

Green City Events/Green Squirrel

This one may be cheating (a little bit) as they’re not strictly Canton-based, but they deserve a mention anyway! Green Squirrel, as part of Green City Events, brings together a myriad of different practices underpinned by an environmentally-friendly ethos. Essentially, these events range from Wasteless Kitchens, which involves the cooking of food with no waste, to food foraging, to carpentry and yarn spinning. By bringing together the multiple skills of Cardiff-based professionals and tutors, the events help form links between vastly different businesses in the city. The skilled local tutors teach practical sustainable living skills that benefit people and communities, and bring rural and traditional skills to the heart of Cardiff. Loads more info can be found on the Green Squirrel workshops page, with events that span the entirety of the city. Green Squirrel not only give back to Cardiff communities, but to nature.


Cardiff Animation Festival 2018 – preview

Chapter Arts Centre are doing something special for the Cardiff community once again by hosting this year’s Cardiff Animation Festival, right after the end of their successful art festival Experimentica. The festival, which looks to cover all types of animation from student pieces to Isle of Dogs, will take place between April 19 – 22nd at Chapter. A full schedule has already been released, detailing a bunch of fun stuff, including a live Q&A workshop with Isle of Dogs animators, over 90 short films, workshops, and industry sessions for those trying to break into the competitive world of animation.

The multi-day festival appears to have lots to offer everyone, regardless of animation ability. The first day, known as the “Industry Day”, is more catered towards those who have a professional interest in animation and the surrounding industry. Passes for the Industry Day are available, with sessions including Afternoon Tea with the Children’s Commissioners, giving delegates the rare opportunity to learn how to pitch to TV networks and how to market independent short-form content, as well as a chance to sign up for a one-to-one sessions. The Industry Day will kick off with a keynote from Bob Ayres, the head of TrueTube, which received a record-breaking seven awards nominations at the most recent BAFTA Children’s Awards. Panels also include a talk on Licensing and Distribution, featuring speakers such as Alison Taylor (Aardman Rights) and Helen Howells (HoHo Entertainment). The rest of the festival will take a slightly less serious tone for hobbyists and watchers, but the first day is incredibly useful for those with even a cursory knowledge of the animation sector.

Friday will celebrate new Welsh stop-motion animated feature Chuck Steel: Night Of The Trampires. Director Mike Mort, Art Director Bridget Phelan, Executive Producer Randhir Singh, and animator Laura Tofarides will give an exciting look behind the scenes, as well as a chance to see a few deleted scenes. The film is almost the centrepiece of the entire festival, as it will also be the basis of a four-day exhibition based on the film’s sets, props, puppets, etc.

Masterclasses will also be available, including one from Cartoon Saloon’s Mark Mullery who will treat audiences to behind the scenes of Oscar-nominated feature film The Breadwinner, a stunning animated drama about a little girl living under Taliban rule. The film will also be screened ahead of its UK release, which is a nice touch.

Another highlight appears to be the workshop by internationally-renowned artist Jac Saorsa, who will lead a Life Drawing for Animators workshop. The workshop is tailored to hone drawing skills crucial to animation. Suitable for animators, students, hobbyists and anyone looking to develop their drawing skills for animation.

The major highlight for We Are Cardiff who are, self-admittedly, a little too dog-obsessed, is the Isle of Dogs feature. For those who haven’t seen it yet (WHY HAVEN’T YOU SEEN IT?), the film is directed and written by Wes Anderson, and features some gloriously detailed stop-motion of talking dogs. A workshop based around the film, involving Lead Animator Kim Kong, Model Maker Josh Flynn, and Kerry Dyer, head of the Isle of Dogs Puppet Hospital, will be put on show, detailing some props, methods, and insights into the making of the film.

The festival will also be screening 99 short films, which will be assessed by The Jury, who are tasked with selecting the winners of the animation programme from films on display. The Jury, who are named rather ominously, will be made up of independent director Rhiannon Evans (Heartstrings, Fulfilament), Manchester Animation Festival producer Jen Hall, author and Skwigly Animation Magazine Managing Director Ben Mitchell, Aardman animation director Will Becher, and independent producer, Director of Animation UK, and newly-appointed director of the British Animation Awards, Helen Brunsdon.

Sadly, all passes excluding the Industry Day pass have now sold out, but there are tickets for sale on the Cardiff Animation Festival website for individual events. Further details, including the timetable for the entire festival, can be found there, too.


Swaps: Photographs from the David Hurn Collection

It is easy to forget that photography, at its core, is a shared experience. Swaps, an exhibition that cultivates photographs from David Hurn’s private collection, is a reminder of the process by which twentieth-century photography developed: through sharing photographs. This exhibition, now being held at the National Museum in Cardiff, has been curated through years of David Hurn playing swapsies with a variety of photographers. The result is a collage of photographs that are simultaneously intimate and universal. The work spans roughly 60 years, ranging from politically-motivated pieces to more surrealist, modern photographs. Generally, the exhibition feels professional in its rigour and variety, but also so warmly familiar when the context of the exhibition is appreciated.

The exhibition has a feeling of familiarity to it, like someone showing you a dusty old photo album, but this familiarity is offset by the sheer quality of photographic skill on show.  The collection comprises of photographs by leading 20th and 21st century photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Sergio Larrain, Bill Brandt, Martine Franck, Bruce Davidson and Martin Parr, but there are also some more unique, less famous photographers, such as ieke Depoorter, Clementine Schneidermann, and Newsha Tavakolian.. This certainly isn’t a safe exhibition, yet that means it doesn’t suffer from contrivance – it flows naturally from photo to photo, from generation to generation, with Hurn’s passion and interest for each photo being apparent thoroughout. It’s kind of like having somebody else’s time capsule you can dip into for a little bit, except that other person happens to be a gifted photographer with really cool mates.


A particular highlight from the exhibition includes a photograph of Henri Matisse by Hurn’s close friend Henri Cartier-Bresson, as seen on the bottom here:

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It is a reminder that Hurn, despite his modesty, is up there with the pantheons of the art world, yet you would never think it reading over his genuine and friendly descriptions of his photographs. The exhibition details the context and story behind each photograph from Hurn himself and, sometimes, these descriptions are as entertaining and thought-provoking as the photographs themselves. There’s a video installation, too, where you can hear Hurn speak about some photographs in his own voice. Overall, the exhibition is organised to give off a very homely and understated feel, yet maintain the impact of some of the photographs. There is no pretension here, just an immensely talented photographer talking about and showing images from a craft he has been embedded in for years.

The exhibition is in place until March 11th, so pop down before it finishes! There’s an event where you can see David Hurn speak with his friend and fellow photographer, Martin Parr, about the photographs and life as a photographer in general on 7 February, too. Tickets are £10 and links to the event and the Welsh museum page can be found below.


A Conversation with Martin Parr & David Hurn



Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection

Private art collections can sometimes appear artistically polarising and disjointed. An art collector’s personal taste is not always uniform and cohesive, so when private art collections hang on the walls of carefully curated museums they can appear somewhat out of place. For ‘Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection’ this thankfully isn’t the case. From Ian and Mercedes Stoutzker, this collection is simultaneously varied, cohesive and personal. Situated in the National Museum Cardiff, Bacon to Doig offers museum-goers an intimate interpretation of modern art. From the delicate sketches of Henri Matisse to the mind-bending pottery of Grayson Perry you are transported to not just a playground of different artistic mediums, but an interesting historiography of modern art itself.


Firstly,  credit must be given to the National Museum for their excellent use of space and composition in their presentation of the collection. The difficulties of moving a collection only enjoyed in a domestic setting to that of a museum was a challenge, but they have succeeded. The National Museum can somewhat go under the radar when people discuss Cardiff, but this collection will hopefully galvinise people’s interest in the museum itself. The museum, relative to other British museums, has always outdone itself in regards to the quality of its exhibitions and the professionalism it always operates under, so National Museum – big up yourself.

In terms of the collection, there’s plenty of room to take each piece in, marvel at it, scratch your head, mutter under your breath “Is THIS really art?”, etc even on busy days. The art is curated in a way that is sensible with each room having a really tangible sense of style and place. The exhibition is pretty low on photography, excluding one room of especially profound art and the collection of paper drawings. Photography is barred there and this also happens to be where all my favourite pieces were, so if you want to check them out you’re going to have to go yourself.


Thematically, the collection covers a lot of the major sub-sects of “modern art” from expressionistic canvases to post-impressionism (all these fancy words mean is that it’s all modern and varied). The art collection never becomes too highbrow and can be enjoyed by everyone, there isn’t a sense that you need a strong knowledge of art history or criticism to really appreciate the collection as a whole. Interestingly, a lot of this art was collected by the Stoutzkers was purchased when the artists were in the early stages of their career, so each piece has a sense of appealing innocence to them – there is a sense of each artist still struggling to find their own identity in a lot of the pieces, yet not in a way that it detracts from the pieces themselves. Instead, the sense of artistic innocence imbues a lot of the pieces with a certain playfulness; the collection appears wholly original by not just curating quality artists, but by curating them when they were all at a similar level of creative maturity.

It goes without saying that the art in the collection is of stellar quality, but this isn’t exactly where the appeal lies. The appeal of the collection is how original, yet similar, each piece feels. The zeitgeist of the modern artistic period is captured here in a visceral way. Particular highlights included Lucian Freud’s Girl With Closed Eyes, Francis Bacon’s  pieces, the Matisse sketch hidden away in the  filing cabinet Nude Model, Resting, and Grayson Perry’s Turner-prize winning vases which were, to me, the absolute highlight of the collection. At fear of spoiling too much, I’ll keep discussion of the actual pieces to that. The collection is best enjoyed without expectation, that way it’ll truly hit you at how important and visually stimulating the collection really is.


The collection will be at National Museum Wales until the 31st January 2018, so please be sure to pop down time and time again before it leaves. It really is one of the most important private collections of modern art in the world and it’s in Cardiff, it’s free, it’s on your doorstep, so get going!

Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection – 18 February 2017–31 January 2018, National Museum Cardiff




Absolutely Fabulous Vegan Fayre, Plasnewydd: A Cruelty Free Food Community

Ab-Fab Vegan Fayres have been running for a while now, going from strength to strength. In a way, it has become a bastion for the growing vegan community in Wales and Cardiff – it is events like this that keep alternative culture alive. Ab-Fab is more than a lifeline for the vegan community, it is representative of a growing movement in Wales and Britain. The food, crafts and cosmetics on offer, too, were creative and – food-wise – incredibly scrumptious.


Plasnewydd Community Centre proved to be an appropriate space for the Fayre. The space was small, but properly utilised by the highly-varied stalls that filled up the community centre. The room was bursting with conversation, laughs and well-timed “mmms” when someone took a bite of something. The atmosphere was one that was welcoming and inclusive for vegans and non-vegans alike. The stalls were incredibly varied (although cake-heavy, which isn’t so much a problem as it is a solution to a lot of life’s problems) at affordable prices. We didn’t get a chance to try everything, but what we did try gave further evidence that vegan food can be creative and satisfying to the palette.

Vegan Pizza Co. were our first stop. The Cardiff-based pizza slappers have been gaining a strong reputation in Cardiff and for good reason. The pizzas ranged from £6 to £8 which was great value for the quality of the pizza. The pizza crust was strong, the pizzas were well-topped and the vegan cheese was nothing short of a miracle – the cheese, truly, was indistinguishable from its curdled milk cousin. Cardiff Pizza Co. truly are doing great things with pizza and we’re praying that – eventually – they move from pop-up to establishment.


The next stop was The Welshman’s Lunch who had a variety of vegan cakes, chutneys and tea on offer. We sampled (and bought without hesitation) their avocado chocolate cupcake which was – again – a work of vegan magic. The flavour was strong, sweet, unique and dangerously moreish. We then stopped by Peace & Bake who sold a variety of sweet loaves, brownies and cakes (you can see a theme emerging here). A brownie and a banana bread was on the menu and these, too, were dangerously moreish


Mr. Nice Pie and Jack Bakes were next and offered enough savoury pie goodness to end your pie cravings forever. Mr. Nice Pie’s Thai green curry pie was immense and unlike anything we’ve tried before. Jack Bakes spinach tartlet, too, struck a fine balance to satisfy the palette.

The true unsung hero of the fayre was Global Fusion Creole Vegan Bakery. A variety of sweet loafs were on offer, £2 for a slice and £4 for a loaf. There were some truly original loaves on offer, but we settled for the mango bread (something we’d never seen before) and were not let down by the sweetness of the bread for our breakfast the next day.


In addition to the above, there were stalls offering crafts, make-up and cosmetics, along with food stalls we had to miss out on due to full stomachs. We’ll provide a list to all the stalls on offer below, so be sure to check them out as they were all so passionate about their food and crafts.

What stuck out most as we left Ab-Fab in a glucose-induced high was the accommodating nature of it all. A false narrative that veganism is militant has been concocted in recent years, but the truth about veganism is that it is accommodating for all – this was simply a group of people who were trying to make good food without hurting animals. What is there to hate about that? The next fayre is on the 25th in Penarth, so please head on down there whatever your dietary description because this event – along with the lovely organiser Sue Thomas – deserve all the support they can get. You can follow their next event here on Facebook.

Food Stalls:

Babita’s Spice Deli-Indian & Asian Food

Global Fusion Creole Vegan Bakery

Angela Feane-Vegangela Rose Bakery (Sweet Potato mild curry pasties & fabulous vegan cakes)

Vegan Pizza Co

Vic’s Vegan Bakes

Peace and Bake

Mr Nice Pie

The Welshman’s Lunch

Jack Bakes

Animal Rescue Stalls:

Greyhound Rescue Wales

FAUNA-VIKKI FAUNA-Wildlife Rescue & Animal Rights

Welsh Horse and Pony Group

Homeless Cats Cardiff

RozMogz Cat Rescue

Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Gifts & Crafts:

Ahh Lovely-Tracey & Cally

Venla Valve-Moon & Bear Shop



Skincare, Healthcare & Beauty:

IUVO Skincare


Selina Wells-Hyfryd Skincare

Tropic Skincare & Makeup


My Body Welsh – A Rumination on Welsh National Identity

In a world where nationalism has become muddied by dangerous right-wing rhetoric, it is easy to forget about the metaphysical merit of searching for one’s own national identity. Often, it is a discovery laden with history, language, surprise and – most importantly – growth. Welsh national identity, too, is made particularly interesting  by the complicated amalgamation of Welsh and Anglo culture which has left Wales – particularly the South – iridescent. Despite this, the sense of community in Wales is as prominent as our valleys and our stories. Pontio, Invertigo Theatre Company’s and The Conker Group’s newest offering, My Body Welsh, is a play that concerns itself with these issues of national identity, and more with creative aplomb:

“MY BODY WELSH is a playful, part-bilingual, one-man mystery adventure. Weaving stories, histories, sounds and language, performer Steffan Donnelly transports his audience into a slippery world of small-town myth-making. Accompanied by a live soundscape artist creating sounds both with and in front of the audience, the show creates community in its telling, leaving us wondering the extent to which national identity is built upon stories.”

The play weaves its way through the infamous streets of Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch and into the minds behind small town myth-making and culture building. The play asks if “There’s more to being Welsh than having the accent, isn’t there?”, and it’s up to you to attend and find out the answer. The play is on tour at the moment and will be arriving in Cardiff at Chapter Arts on the 13 / 14 of January. This looks like a real treat, so be sure to grab your tickets for My Body Welsh here at Chapter, if you fancy it.




Cardiff’s Free For All Festival 2017! The Moon / Full Moon, 5 – 31 January

Is it over? Has it finally finished? Has someone finally dragged 2016’s lifeless body out to the garden and buried it under a mountain of Leicester City and Nigel Farage memorabilia? Great, well let’s all collectively repress our memories of 2016 together with Free For All Festival running from 5 January to 31 January at The Moon Club + The Full Moon. They have kindly put on a month of free events – so don’t worry if your pockets are empty like the rest of us – with bands and artists of varying descriptions, so give your eardrums a treat and pop down to The Moon Club + The Full Moon and support these artists.

The event runs from 5 – 31 January, so if you’re gagging for an all-dayer or fancy checking out some local talent see the array of events on below.


Tuesday 10 January, 8PM
Downstairs: 6foot7 + Paul Divers & support 8pm

Thursday 12 January, 8PM
Upstairs: Electrick Haze (EP launch) + KINGSON + Plasterscene + Lon Chaney 5 8pm
Thursday 12 January Facebook event

Friday 13 January, 7PM-10PM, 8PM-late
Upstairs: Electronic Music Wales showcase feat. Skeleton House & support 7pm-10pm
The Black Hole Of Womanby St feat. Samurai Cop + DJs til late
Downstairs: Monsterometer + Godbomber 8pm
Friday 13 January Facebook event

Saturday 14 January, 5PM + 8PM
Upstairs: Maddie Jones – Band + Lilygreen’s Sky Machine + Instructions + Tobias Robertson + Charlie Says 5pm
Downstairs: Mike Dennis + AcouMetal & support 8pm

Sunday 15 January, 7PM-10PM + 6PM

Upstairs: Staylittle Music presents Beth Goudie + Joe Bayliss + Matthew Frederick 7pm-10pm
Follow the event on Facebook
Downstairs: Timeless Promotions + Beast PR + HOPE not hate + Decidedly Records present Gareth Bonello (The Gentle Good) + Vinna Bee +Francesca’s Word Salad + Adwaith 6pm
Follow the event on Facebook

Tuesday 17 January, 7PM

Downstairs: Fountainhead + Naomi Rae (single launch) + Harri Davies Music + Dusty Cut 7pm
Follow the event on Facebook. 

Wednesday 18 January, 7PM

Upstairs: Pilgrim + Fireroad + Twisted Illusion + Stone Theory 7pm
Follow the event on Facebook. 

Thursday 19 January, 7:30PM

Upstairs: Radioactivity electronic night 7.30pm feat Conformist / Music live + Sound Affects PR DJs

Follow the event on Facebook. 

Downstairs: PJNB presents Young Black Americans + Heavy on the Ride + Jimmy Watkins (The Vega Bodegas) 7.30pm

Follow the event on Facebook.

Friday 20 January, 8PM + 10:15PM

Upstairs: We’re No Heroes + Tarsiers + Saccharyn & support 8pm

Downstairs: Mumbleman 10.15pm

Follow the event on Facebook

Saturday 21 January, 2PM + 9PM

Upstairs: 8 O’clock Spot Alldayer feat: VAN-illa + Nuclear Lullaby + Soviets+ Handsome Ape + Boris a Bono + Silent Forum + Fingertrap + Rainbow Maniac + Grand Tradition 2pm

Downstairs: Run Logan Run 9pm

Follow the event on Facebook. 

Sunday 22 January, 2PM
Upstairs: RecRock Youth Music Project showcase 2pm (Ages 14+)
Downstairs: Pi & Hash Music alldayer feat:
Them By There + The Sam-Antonio Freeway + Thee Manatees + Siblings Of Us + Charlie Says + Canada Road & support. 2pm-11.30pm

Wednesday 25 January, 8PM
Upstairs: Project + Beatbox Hann + Turna Phrase & support. 8pm

Thursday 26 January, 7:30PM

Upstairs: Aeddan – Music + Ofelia + Eädyth 7.30pm

Follow the event on Facebook

Friday 27 January, 7:30PM-10:30 PM + 9PM 

Upstairs: Bubblewrap Collective stage feat. MY NAME IS IAN + Ivan Moult Music Band & more TBA 7.30pm-10.30pm

Downstairs: Happy Fun Time Game Band + Nightmares from the Discotheque 9pm

Follow the event on Facebook.

Saturday 28 January, 4PM

2-floor alldayer! Tibet + Junior Bill + The Chalk Outlines + M I L K + Shop Girls + Them Dead Beats + Nevsky Perspective (solo – performing the works of Britney Spears) + Thom Bentley & more TBA. 4pm

Follow the 2-floor alldayer on Facebook. 

Sunday 29 January, 2PM
Forté Project // Prosiect Forté showcase – 2 floors! 2pm (Ages 14+)
Showcasing the 10 acts announced as part of the Forté Project scheme.

Monday 30 January, 8PM
Upstairs: CitySound Publications – magazine launch night feat. CHROMA & support 8pm
Downstairs: Anonymous Iconoclasts + Capra Mamei & support 8pm

Tuesday 31 January, 7:30PM + 8:00PM 

Upstairs: LUCKYMAN RECORDS closing party! 8pm
LUCKYMAN RECORDS closing party on Facebook
Downstairs: Amy Grindhouse + Twisted Ankle + Heil Zilla + HODAD 7.30pm
Amy Grindhouse, Twisted Ankle, Heil Zilla and HODAD on Facebook

That’s all the free music and events you can partake in at The Full Moon + Moon Club this month, so be sure to get on down there and support your local scene. Even when your pockets are empty and the January cold bites a little harder than you remember, there’s still a way to support your local scene and – most importantly – your city. Be sure to check out some of these events as they are putting a lot into Cardiff, so it’s only fair for us to give back.

Oh, and have a fun, crazy, challenging and memorable 2017.



Kongs Cardiff: arcade games in an underground bar

Arcade and competitive gaming – at its core – is a social activity, one that flourishes under the influence of beer and alcoholic hedonism. Interestingly enough, however, Cardiff has yet to have an arcade or bar that appeals to this dream combination. Retro-fetishism has had something of a renaissance period in the past few years, yet Cardiff hasn’t really jumped onto this social trend.

There’s been a huge gap in the city for an arcade for a while and Kongs – given the success of their branch in Bristol – has seen this gap as an opportunity to combine this niche with one of Cardiff’s great loves: bars. The nonchalant exterior of the bar can fool many, a few short steps down and suddenly you’re submerged in a basement of neon signs and 8-bit classics.

The food and drink at Kongs offered something a little different than traditional pubs on St. Mary’s street. Lesser known lagers such as Red Stripe and beers like Blue Moon were popular amongst the pint sippers of the bar, whereas the food offered tasty and interesting twists on traditional pub food (the BBQ burger was a real treat). Craft beer, too, was popular on tap, so that’ll appeal to all you beard waxing craft beer aficionados out there. Pricing was similar to the rest of the pubs on St. Mary’s – i.e. a little on the pricey side – but this is to be expected for such a popular street in Cardiff.

kongs cardiff

Of course, what matters most at Kongs are the games. Classic arcade games such as Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man got the most attention at the bar. What I liked about Kongs was the sheer array of arcade games available. Outside of the staples mentioned, you could also find things like OutRun and NBA Jam, too. The majority of the games had a competitive edge, and were suited to a social setting: everything in the bar was geared towards promoting good-natured competitive gaming, an ode to the unique gaming social culture of the arcade era. In case you’re interested, prices were £1 for 2 credits.

The bar, overall, struck a good balance between social drinking and dedicated gaming. Kongs proved to be an exciting collage of conversation, drinking and combo-punching, an experience that was original in comparison to the growing homogeneity of St. Mary’s.


The major question about Kongs is whether it can sympathise the gaming bar niche with the boozy nature of St. Mary’s Street, but judging by the success of their Bristol branch they should have no problem finding a clientele itching for a game of Street Fighter II over a pint. Bars like Koopas and 8-Bit Bar have been huge successes in Swansea, so why not Cardiff?




Baby Queens – Baby Queens Review: Personality Over Pop Appeal

Benj Newman reviews the new Baby Queens album

Baby Queens debut album

Cardiff-based Baby Queens are enjoying something of a slow burning, organic raise to public consciousness. Though they’ve been around for a while – they were first featured here on We Are Cardiff in 2014 (Baby Queens Our Cardiff Geography) – they’re now signed to SFA man Cian Ciaran’s Strangetown Records, and this year have been part of the BBC Horizons project, spearheaded by new music champion Bethan Elfyn.

The opening track of their eponymous debut is entitled: ‘Tired of Love’. The title of the track is one that we’ve seen many times in music; before our ears have even been properly aquainted with the record there’s a worry that may just be another nondescript British pop album. However, as soon as the music starts, these worries are allayed; in fact, the first track’s seems like it is deceptively there to catch the listener off guard. The track is layered with an infectious electronic drum loop, the lyrics are consciously lovesick and the production shifts between styles effortlessly; it is a signifier that the album packs no punches both lyrically and sonically. The track is evidence that the self-titled nature of the album isn’t simply out of convenience, it is a declaration of the group’s identity, both philosophically and sonically. With the group getting props from Marinia Diamandis on Twitter to write-ups on The Guardian, they’re certainly on their way to something big and show that Cardiff’s tightly-knit music community is still doing great things.

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The synthesis of synthetic and organic sounds is one of the biggest positives about the album. It is difficult to properly balance these polarising sounds, but Baby Queens have balanced it competently; in fact, they haven’t just found the right balance, they’ve synthesised both sounds creatively. The soft electronic percussion of ‘Hear Me’, for example, pops with the inclusion of the relatively archaic shaker and classic guitar lines. There is an acute awareness throughout the record that the weaving together of opposing sounds leads to a much more pleasing collage of sound. The symbiosis of these two sounds ensures the album’s production stays organic and sonically interesting throughout. It’s difficult not to think of Cardiff when you hear the combination of electronics and natural sound; the electronic production winds around a subtle natural foundation much like the city itself. Cardiff is a city that juxtaposes harshly against a fertile natural landscape; the city is a symbiosis of nature and modernity much like the music it produces. The unique material culture of the city – one that is still grounded in nature despite its metropolitan allure – has been threaded into sonic palette of the record; Cardiff has left an impression on this group, perhaps even unconsciously. The group aren’t afraid to dip their toes into different styles, either, which ensures the album stays stylistically varied.

The album jumps around a few different styles with aplomb. There is a direct trip-hop and pop influence embedded in the album, but it is still stylistically varied. For example, ‘By The River’ veers into a gospel song on points with a strong Americana influence, whereas ‘Forever’ opens with a reggae guitar line and never really threatens to leave the genre for the remainder of the track. There’s always a nice surprises in each track, – like the Aphex Twin-esque drum loop at the end of ‘Forever’ – that keep the listener’s earbuds on the tip of excitement, too. The group’s ability to wind through several complicated genres speaks volumes for their chemistry. Despite foraying into several genres, their harmonies still stay solid and their identity never becomes compromised. The best thing about the album, really, is how the group are so unrelentingly themselves. Leroy’s drumming, too, deserves special mention – it is expertly measured and matured throughout.

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Lyrically, too, the album displays the group’s deceiving depth. Initially, I thought the album was entirely made up of romantic love songs – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but on further listens I found that the album, in a few tracks, deals with much more relevant and complicated issues. The hook in ‘Forever’ can deceive the listener into believing it is a simple love song, but the overall lyrical content points to something more political. For example, the lyric ‘your skin is light, my skin is dark, that does not change the shape of our hearts’ is a plea for egalitarianism in a time of rampant secularism or straight-up racism. Baby Queens seem ready to shake off their ‘girl group’ stereotype by producing lyrical content that is relevant and political. In a time of Brexit, alt-right and all that other nonsense, it’s good to have a group pushing for people to view each other on more human terms. The vibe of the whole track, too, is suited to the times. It is as utopianistic as it is sombre, in a way. The lyrics contrast sharply with the sombreness embedded in the vocals.  Essentially, the track’s contrasts and tonal hypocrisy mirrors contemporary life; the track realises it is a time where relentless positivity is needed, but where the facts of modern life distils this down into sombre well-wishing.

Overall, Baby Queens was a real surprise packed to the brim with personality and risky production choices. It is out now on Strangetown Records– go check it out, you won’t be disappointed (and if you are then I’m prepared for some comment section shadowboxing).

Baby Queens is out now on Strangetown Records. Find out more:

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Christmas Markets in Cardiff 2016

For those of you wanting to support local businesses during the Chrimbo period, we sent Benjamin Newman out into the cold to research all the best Christmas Fairs! Local shopping, local makers, mulled wines … celebrate the festive season!


It’s a bit cold, isn’t it? The nights are drawing in, school children are waddling around in about 72 layers of clothing, the air is colder than Theresa May’s soul, and Christmas decorations have gone up far too early – yep, it’s Winter, and that means one thing: IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAS.

Ah…nothing like Christmas to distract you for long enough to (almost) nullify the sense of impending existential doom, is there?

Here’s a few markets and fun things you can get on with in Cardiff this festive season (if you haven’t frozen to death on your commute to work yet, that is). There’s lots on offer again in this wonderful city from vegan markets to Etsy-inspired stalls, so get stuck in!

Thursday 10 November – 23 December: Cardiff Christmas Market


The Cardiff Christmas Market has returned to brighten up Woking Street for a month and a half again (and increase the number of people walking down the street tenfold, sadly). However, it is still as varied and exciting as ever. The Market will ultimately become the main destination for original gifts in the city centre (do check out other areas of Cardiff for your shopping, mind). There’s a diverse range of high quality products with over 180 individual businesses taking part this year such as pewter work, heritage images of Wales and Welsh slate products, metalwork, photography, hand built and thrown pottery, silver and precious stone jewellery, original textiles, traditional wooden items and toys, original art works and cards for all occasions, handmade candles, specialist knotting, up-cycled china wear and re-cycled textiles, glasswork, and needlework together with many original decorative items for the house and garden. It’s got a lovely Crimbo vibe to it, too.

Venue: Woking Street, Cardiff

Cardiff Christmas Market Event on Facebook


Friday 25 November, 5:30-9PM: Penarth’s Handmade Market Christmas Special

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Penarth’s Handmade Market returns on Friday 25 November 2016 for a special Christmas themed shopping evening featuring 40 of Wales’ most exciting makers and food producers.

Grab your friends after work and join us for a shop and a drink. We will have loads of fantastic gift ideas, decorations, cards and food for the coming festive season.

Avoid Black Friday madness and support local business. You know it makes sense!

Venue: Paget Rooms, Victoria Road, CF64 3ES

Penarth Handmade Market on Facebook


Sunday 27 November, 10AM-4PM: Lou Lou’s Cardiff Vintage Fair


Winner of ‘Best Vintage Fair’ at the last 3 national awards, Lou Lou’s returns to Cardiff’s City Hall with a fab vintage fair.

Find 40 stalls of vintage fashion, homeware and collectables nestled in this stunning location. Relax in a gorgeous tea room, watch a live performance and even get pampered in the vintage beauty salon!

The lovely ladies from LILS PARLOUR will be putting on a great spread of cakes and bakes fresh from their kitsch kitchen. Teas and cakes are served up on vintage china in the cute pop up tearoom. Don’t miss the delicious lemon drizzle!

For the perfect victory rolls, glamorous pin curls or sky-scraping beehives, make an appointment in our hair and beauty salon provided by POP UP PARLOUR. Appointments can be made in advance via email:

The lovely ladies from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES will be entertaining us with their close harmony singing!

Only £2 entry!

Venue: Cardiff City Hall

Lou Lou’s Vintage Christmas Fair on Facebook


Thursday 1 December – Sunday 4 December: GŵylGaeaf / WinterFest


Get into the festive spirit with a Christmas food and drink festival on the first weekend of December. Chapter’s beer garden will be enveloped in a cosy marquee, serving festive beers, German sausages and other delicious nibbles. The perfect place to catch up with friends, exchange gifts and toast the season before December gets too busy!

Ewch i hwyl yr ŵyl gyda’n gŵyl o fwyd a diod Nadoligaidd ar benwythnos cyntaf mis Rhagfyr. Bydd ein gardd gwrw yn cael ei gorchuddio â phabell fawr glyd, a bydd yn gweini cwrw Nadoligaidd, selsig Almaenaidd a danteithion blasus eraill. Y lle perffaith i weld ffrindiau, i gyfnewid anrhegion ac i yfed llwnc destun tymhorol cyn i fis Rhagfyr fynd yn rhy brysur o’r hanner!

(Welsh language speakers are very welcome!)

Venue: Chapter, Market Road, Canton.

WinterFest on Facebook


Friday 2 December, 7PM-9PM: Seasons Christmas Market


Seasons hosting their first Christmas market that will give customers a chance to shop from different stalls on the night from different businesses.

There will be a charity raffle, along with mulled wine, mulled cider, mince pies, singing & much more (it seems like it’s going to get pretty lit, to be honest).

Tickets are ONLY £5 per adult & £2 per child with a Christmas drink and snack included in the ticket price! Please do attend as proceeds from the event will be going to Welsh Women’s Aid.

Venue: Seasons, 47-49 Castle Arcade, Cardiff

Seasons Christmas Fair on Facebook


Saturday 3 December, 4PM-6:30PM: Rhiwbina Christmas Festival 2016


RVE are rolling up their sleeves and have begun planning Festival 2016. Expect various stalls, food, fun and (hopefully) not rain (it’s become a bit of a tradition at the festival, it seems).

ANYONE WANTING TO APPLY TO HAVE A STALL at the Christmas festival should email, although it may be a little late now.

Venue: Rhiwbina Village, Cardiff

Rhiwbina Christmas Fair on Facebook



Sunday 4 December, 11AM-5PM: Ab Fab Winter Wonderland Vegan Christmas Festival


A vegan food festival containing lots of excellent stalls including the renowned ‘Cheese and Chocolate’ and ‘Cardiff Vegan Pizza Co’. Make this Christmas special for the animals & for ourselves – Come down to Depot in Cardiff for a day filled with wonderful cruelty-free food, health & beauty products, gifts and animal rescue charities!

£1 admission for adults and FREE for children.

Cannot recommend this festival and the lovely organiser Sue Thomas enough – please be sure to check this place out.

Venue: DEPOT, Dumballs Road, CF10 5FE

Winter Wonderland Vegan Christmas Fest on Facebook


Sunday 4 December, 11AM-7PM: Cardiff and Valleys Etsy Made Local 2016


If you’ve ever gone on Etsy, you know it’s a labyrinth of amazing clothes, crafts and jewellery. However, the Etsy Made Local market is bringing all these fun things directly to you via a market stall! A fun-filled day of shopping, workshops and performances. For one day only Cardiff and Valleys Etsy Sellers are taking over Tramshed, lots of wonderful local sellers will be there, as well as a host of workshops and performances throughout the day. Watch this space and check out our website for more details

Venue: Tramshed, Clare Road, Cardiff, CF11 6QP

CAVETSY on Facebook


Sunday 4 December, 2PM-3:30PM: Upcycled Christmas Crafts #2

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An exclusive workshop at the CAVETSY Christmas extravaganza at the Tramshed. Join Green City to kick start a crafty Christmas! They’ll show you how to create beautiful, festive gifts and decorations from things that you might usually throw away. From upcycled Christmas tree decorations & garlands to wrapping paper, jewellery and lots more, you’ll take home plenty of crafty ideas & makes.

All materials provided, but you may need to bring along a few bits from home if you have them.

This workshop will take place in the upstairs bar at the Tramshed during the Cardiff and Valleys Etsy Made Local 2016. Why not make a day of it and enjoy browsing 50 stalls of local makers as well as live music, performances and workshops?
This workshop is suitable for ages 12+. Children aged 16 or under must be accompanied by an adult.

Venue: Tramshed

Upcycled Christmas Crafts on Facebook


Saturday 10 December, 4PM-10PM: Ethical Cardiff Night Market – Christmas Edition

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A cosy, alternative Cardiff Christmas shopping/eating/drinking experience with a chilled atmosphere and a diverse range of ethical local brands. There will be nature based products, veggie food, vegan food and treats, Christmas gifts that are good for the planet, handmade crafts, mulled wines, vegan friendly skincare for men and women, yoga pop up, vegan shop, live background music, a bar and more.

Venue: Cardiff Speaker Hire, Unit 4 Anchor Industrial Estate, Dumballs Road, CF10 5FF.

Get your FREE ticket here

Ethical Night Market- Christmas Edition on Facebook


Saturday 10 December – Sunday 11 December – Snapped Up Market – A Dickensian Christmas

The Print Haus is one of our all time favourite places, so we can’t wait for their Christmas market! Snapped Up Market returns this December bigger and better than ever!! This time round they’ll be open for not one but TWO DAYS!!! That’s right folks, all the fun and merriment but spread over an entire weekend!

They’ll have all your favourites that you can expect from their markets, with ‘Print your own’ workshops/ open studios/ stalls from some rather fabulous artists, makers and craft people and of course resident pizza kings Dusty Knuckle will take care of your taste bud needs.

The best place to grab some amazing unique Christmas gifts and enjoy in some festive fun!

Venue: Print Haus Workshops, 70A Llandaff Road

Snapped Up Market on Facebook


Sunday 18 December10AM-6PM: Festive Food Fair / Ffair Fwyd Nadoligaidd

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Chapter and Green City are doing it again and showcasing the best local Welsh produce!

Stock up on Christmas treats, stocking fillers, gorgeous chocs, tasty cheese, delicious meats and something special from the Caffi Bar.
For one day only!

Discover our Green Grotto, hosted by Green City. Join us for:
– Christmas craft workshops
– upcycled Christmas crafts
– and lots of family friendly fun!

– Pipes Beer
– Gwynt Y Ddraig Welsh Cider
– TudorBreweryWales
– Tast Natur
– InnerCityPickle
– Cocoa Magic
– and many more TBC!

Venue: Chapter, Market Road, Canton.

Festive Food Fair on Facebook 


… aaaaaaand that’s a wrap. Be sure to check out as many of these as you can, it’s always a great help to the city to help local businesses and – for all of our sakes – avoid the madness that is Black Friday and get to supporting your city’s local businesses! 

Oh, and Merry Christmas. 2016 has been a weird one, right?