Category Archives: The City

Sŵn Festival 2018 review

Sŵn Festival 2018: a return to form

After a couple of years in the wilderness, the crazy energy of the first Sŵns returned this year – with some new venues, and a slightly different format. And we had a great time! Our highlights included: cheeky cocktails in between shows at Blue Honey, gigs in a secret room out the back of Kongs (who knew Kongs was so big???), not getting into loads of gigs but just dancing in the street outside (sorry Estrons! We really wanted to see you, although we heard you caused structural damage to the venue?!), wonderful Gaz Coombes and wonderful Boy Azooga slotting in perfectly between Gaz and The Go! Team, a sweaty set from Hana 2K in the Moon, Al Moses, Griff Lynch, and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard.

A return to the multi-venue, multi-day vibe all in Cardiff was brilliant. Vive la Sŵn!

We sent photojournalist Mehek Seth out into the madness, and here’s her photo essay.

In case you missed it, here’s the Spotify playlist from this year:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/swnfestival/playlist/5ikHsoiQ9NykJabg7kbIqn

CONGRATS TO EVERYONE INVOLVED THIS YEAR, YOU PULLED A BLINDER!

We can’t wait for next year …

Sŵn Festival website

Sŵn Festival Twitter

Sŵn Festival Instagram

***

Mehek Seth is a second year BA Photojournalism student at University of South Wales. Follow her on Instagram emm.ess.

The Refugee Mobile Kitchen pop up at Oasis Cardiff – Friday 2 November 2018

Lia from Lia’s Kitchen is bending our ear about a new monthly Cardiff food pop up – with a difference. It’s truly international!

Something really tasty is going on in Splott on Friday 2 November, and on the first Friday of every month from now on! The Oasis Cardiff Refugee Mobile Kitchen is popping-up in the charity’s car park on 69b Splott Road to offer us authentic street food options from around the globe. All the food will be served from a beautiful food trailer and (mostly) by the same people whose recipes have been turned into the street food dishes you will be tasting.

For me the Oasis Refugee Mobile Kitchen helps redefine authentic, world food at our Cardiff doorstep. Its menus to date have showcased Korean, middle-eastern, Albanian and Iranian dishes (to name a few). Dishes on offer include the popular filo pastry pies with crunchy slaw, inspired by two characterful Albanian ladies often volunteering in the Oasis Kitchen, will be on the menu. Kookoo Sabzi, an Iranian frittata bursting with aromatic herbs, made its debut last month and was a great success. It is the favourite dish of one of the key members of the Oasis Cardiff kitchen team, Mohammed. Falafel wraps, inspired by the many cultures sharing their culinary identity, are delivered by Matt Davenport in a delicious recipe with homemade flat breads. Huda’s Sudanese meatballs, one of the most popular dishes of the kitchen so far, always made a return to my delight. And my Hibiscus lemonade, inspired by Reynette Roberts’ (Charity Director) love of hibiscus, is a staple you can always enjoy during those nights.

Kookoo Sabzi – one of many dishes offered on the changing menu

The menu of the Refugee Mobile Kitchen is inspired by the people, who work, volunteer and are supported by Oasis Cardiff.  It comes from its own kitchen, the heart of the charity and where a lot of the people supported by it, find solace, a warm welcome, hope, encouragement and appetite for their new life. I know this well as during the months of April and May 2018, I worked with some of these amazing people to record their recipes and create a menu for the Refugee Mobile Kitchen’s first outing at the Festival of Voice. The first trial event, which inspired the monthly Refugee Kitchen Pop-ups, took place back in May 2018 at the charity’s carpark and it was such a success it had to be follow up on a monthly basis. The process of identifying and showcasing foods of the wonderful team of refugees, asylum seekers and Oasis staff was life-affirming. We weighed, chatted, tasted and wrote everything down. But our work is much more than creating a catering menu. We are taking a snapshot of Cardiff’s existing and emerging culinary heritage.

One of the things that makes me happy about the Oasis Cardiff Refugee Mobile Kitchen is that it has consciously chosen to start its culinary adventure at home in Splott. Splott, unlike other areas of Cardiff, has not had a regular street food event for years. The reception of the pop-ups within the local community is heart-warming – in fact it was local community members who asked for it to be repeated. I am really proud of the legacy of my collaboration with Oasis Cardiff through the Festival of Voice – it is ethical to its core. I am proud that Oasis Cardiff is not just running immediately where the crowds already are, even though it will soon have to venture out to let even more people taste its delights and support its food venture. But most importantly, I am proud it is starting a new food event in an area of Cardiff often overlooked.  And in doing so it provides an engagement for many of the people it supports on a daily basis.

The Oasis Food Trailer Team at First Trial Event (C) Dan Green.jpg

So, as our beautiful city of Cardiff is compact and accessible, why not take a walk, jump on your bikes, share a lift and get your friends and family over to Oasis Cardiff’s car park. Join me to taste some amazing food, hang-out with great people, and speak to the people whose food you are eating and lives are helping change. The track will be at 69B Splott Road, CF24 2BW from 6.30 till 10pm. And if the weather turns bad there is shelter inside the charity so you really have no excuses! See you there.

Lia Moutselou runs Lia’s Kitchen, an ethical food venture inspired by sustainability, Greek cuisine and world flavours.  Her pop-ups, cooking classes and recipes have gained traction in Cardiff Wales since 2013. Lia’s recipes and food focus on seasonal, ethical and nutritional food, whilst the projects she works on showcase world flavours and global food cultures spreading a message of integration. Lia helped set up and deliver their first Oasis Cardiff Refugee Mobile Kitchen at Festival of Voice 2018.  Follow Lia’s Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for recipes, pop-ups and food stories.

Oasis Cardiff is an organisation that aims to help Refugees and Asylum Seekers to integrate into their local community in Cardiff. The charity provides daily lunches for refugees and asylum seekers, women only sessions, craft sessions and language classes as well as a range of other activities. It celebrated its 10th birthday on 2 October 2018. Follow Oasis Cardiff on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular update of all their food and other ventures.

Find out more about Oasis Cardiff Refugee Mobile Kitchen and the charity’s other food ventures, including how to book catering by Oasis by contacting Matt Davenport, matt@oasiscardiff.org, 07814090614.

Volunteer at the Oasis Cardiff Kitchen to help the team deliver their daily kitchen lunches which feed approximate 150 people every day. To express your interested contact Matt, matt@oasiscardiff.org, 07814090614.

***

We love Cathays! Our favourite spots for food, drink, art, fitness and shopping!

Today, we’re taking a tour of Cathays, aka student-land – with local Beth Girdler-Maslen. So for today – We Love Cathays – our favourite spots for food, drink, art, fitness and shopping!

Cathays is right in the centre of Cardiff and full of vibrant and exciting places to eat, drink, shop and workout. However, being known as ‘Student Central’, it is overlooked due to its drunk and stressed inhabitants. Having lived in Cathays for the best three years of student hood, I’ve compiled a list of the best spots in Cathays that you may not know about.

Cardiff University’s Student Union, 45 Park Place

Besides being a place for lectures and where students escape to after a busy day, Cardiff University’s Student Union has so many events over the year. Club nights aside, it has live music and concerts with the likes of George Ezra and Youmeatsix having performed there. The Great Hall also hosts many sales, like posters, plants and clothes. Events like these are open to everyone and a great spot to find bargains.

Rose Street Flea Market, 37 Rose Street

Nearer Roath but still close to Cathays, this market is a hidden in what looks like a garage but is filled with classic and vintage treasures. Rose Street Flea Market is full of antiques, pictures, instruments, books and much more. Virtually unadvertised, the market is known about through word of mouth and only open on weekends. It may look like a junk shop from the outside, but the two-storey house is full of collections and great bargains.

The Early Bird, 38 Woodville Rd, @theearlybird_uk

Right in the middle of Cathays, The Early Bird has everyone flocking to its yellow bakery/café. Open in 2015, The Early Bird has become a staple for brunch with amazing food and homely and rustic furniture. It uses local suppliers and businesses for their produce and makes fresh bread and sweet treats everyday as well as roasting their own coffee.

Stag Coffee, 83 Crwys Rd, @StagCoffee

8359106

Stag Coffee is a unique independent restaurant, offering coffee, brunch, burgers and cakes. Their menu is full of comfort food as well as new and exciting vegetarian and vegan options. To try to keep things exciting and different from other restaurants, Stag hits at the Instagram obsessed side of people, by serving their meals in creative ways. Jam jars/mason jars full of milkshakes and coffees, chopping boards for burgers and cups for chips are served to keep with Stag’s effort to keep your visit memorable.

Gassy’s, 39-41 Salisbury Rd, @Gassy’s

gassys_facebook

Gassy Jacks or ‘Gassy’s’ as it is lovingly called is a brilliant bar full of food and drink as well as great activities all year round. It has a sporty vibe to it, with football and pingpong tables as well as TVs and projectors for the big games. They have weekly events, like Monday Quiz nights, open mic nights, cocktail nights on Fridays and karaoke on Thursdays.

The Hellenic Eatery, 100 Crwys Rd, @TheHellenicEatery

The Hellenic Eatery is a family-run Greek restaurant with ingredients imported from Greece with traditional dishes and music. On most Sundays, they invite you to come try Greek dancing.

The Woodville, 1-5 Woodville Rd, @TheWoodvillePub

banner-644

The Woody is right in the heart of Cathays and its student area. It’s a good old-fashioned pub with two makeshift beer gardens which are jampacked during the warmer months. It’s a famous spot for students and a pub crawl destination. It has an upstairs and a downstairs as well as a pool table. Their cocktails are definitely something to shout about with a classics cocktails as well as ‘hardshakes’ and summery cocktails served in cans with sweets on the side. Also, it’s dog friendly!

Locos, 7-9 Miskin Street

Similar to and overlooking Gassy Jack’s, Locos is another very busy pub with great food and cheap drinks. It’s very spacious and at night shifts to a darker scene with great music.

The Vulcan Lounge, 2 Wyverne Rd, @TheVulcanCdf

Another great pub with a friendly atmosphere and affordable food and drink. It’s mainly known for the pizza and is very wallet-friendly.

Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road, @ShermanTheatre

Right in the middle of Cathays, the Sherman Theatre develops work from Welsh writers and artists for its audience. This year it won an Olivier Award for its production of Killology, as well as the award of Regional Theatre of the Year, the first Welsh theatre to win. It hosts a range of comedy stand-ups, plays and musicals.

National Museum, Cathays Park, @Museum_Cardiff

The National Museum is right in the heart of Cathays and inside it is full of exciting exhibitions. It has a big section on natural history with dinosaur bones and animals, art work and ancient Wales. It regularly has special exhibitions, including The First World War collections, specific artists collections and most recently, women in photography and a Remembrance Day exhibition.

Adventure Rooms, 47 Newport Rd

For those who like to be more active and adventurous, Adventure Rooms is the place to go. It’s a live escape room, where you and your team are locked in a room and you must solve the clues to escape the room. There is a 60-minute time limit and different themed rooms ranging in difficulty, like The Mad Scientist, The Black Queen and Mafia. Prices depend on the size of teams but range from £15-25.

TeamSport Go Karting, 11 Dominion Way, Newport Rd

TeamSport is a multilevel go kart track that is a regular attraction for people of all ages. Upon entry, you are given a motocross suit, helmet, gloves and all the right clothes for go karting. After 20 minutes of being taught how to work the car and the track, you can race around the track as fast as you like, trying to beat the record for the day that has been set by others. You’re also given your statistics of how you did in the race to take home.

Stretchy Suzie’s, 99 Woodville Road, @StretchySuzies

stretchy suzies

Along Woodville Road, Stretchy Suzie’s is a yoga studio and therapy room. It offers massages and retreats as well as fitness classes. It also hosts workshops and events.

***

This piece was by Beth Girdler-Maslen – Beth is an English Literature and Journalism graduate, with a love of books, running and pugs. An aspiring author and journalist, you’ll mostly find her compulsively writing or with her nose in a book. Follow Beth’s Instagram: @bethgirdlerm / Follow Beth’s Blog – Reading On The Treadmill

Sŵn Festival 2018 – full line up announced!

With the news earlier this year than Sŵn Festival had changed hands, we were excited to hear about the line up announcement … and it’s finally here!

The final wave of Sŵn bands have been announced for this iconic Cardiff city festival, taking place Wednesday 17 – 20 October 2018. WHOOP!

Previous announcements already brought you Gaz Coombes, Boy Azooga, Drenge, Gwenno, 77:78 and Queen Zee – and now there are 30 more awesome acts …

Heavenly’s The Orielles will open Thursday’s mammoth gig at The Great Hall alongside grunge rock brothers Drenge and Melbourne’s tough surf pop outfit, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.

Jacob’s Market on Friday will be a massive night, with Cardiff homegrown Darkhouse Family curating a night of hypnotic, jazz and dance tunes with Bugz in the Attic performing live, alongside Esther and Andromeda Jones.

Cardiff-based Estrons are one of our favourites (they’ve just released their debut album You Say I’m Too Much , get yours now!) have a reputation for their bold, electrifying gigs, which means they’re certainly not one to miss this year – they’re playing on the Saturday. Joining them is Canadian artist Boniface, who unites 80s synth-pop with contemporary 21st century indie-pop to create a rare and electrifying performance.

Sŵn Festival takes place over four days (17-20 October) and 17 venues: Buffalo Bar, Clwb Ifor Bach, Fuel, Gwdihw Café Bar, Kongs, Nos Da, O’Neills, Off Track Café, The Big Top, The Blue Night Café, The Great Hall, The Moon, The Old Market Tavern, Tiny Rebel, Tramshed and Undertone.

Adam Williams, Live Manager at Clwb Ifor Bach (who are now managing the festival) said: “We’re over the moon to announce the final wave of artists for Swn Festival 2019. It’s been six months since we were asked to take on running and booking the festival and we’re super happy with what we’ve produced. Now all we have left is to deliver it!

“Sŵn Festival has been a vital part of the Cardiff music calendar for the last 12 years and it’s been really exciting for us at Clwb to build on that success – we hope we’ve created something special and that people continue to enjoy this festival for many more years to come.”

Wristbands for Sŵn are on sale now. For more information and to get your tickets, go to swnfest.com. Follow @swnissound on Twitter. or join the party with Sŵn on Facebook or Sŵn Instagram.

GET HYPED FOR THE FESTIVAL WITH THE PLAYLIST:

TICKET INFO:

Wednesday, Tramshed, £15

Thursday, The Great Hall, £16

Friday, various city centre venues, £20 (general release)

Saturday, various city centre venues, £25 (general release)

Weekend, across the city, £35 (2nd release)

4 Day Golden Ticket, £60 (second release)

Full line-up (we’ve highlighted out picks in bold, in case you give a fork …)

77:78; ACCÜ; Adwaith; Al Moses; Andromeda Jones; Annabel Allum; Another Sky; Argrph; Bandicoot; Bitw; Bo Ningen; Boniface; Boy Azooga; Breichiau Hir; Bugz In The Attic; Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard; Carolines; Carw; Cassia; Castorp; Chartreuse; Christian Punter; Cosmo Sheldrake; Cousin Kula; Cowtown; Cpt. Smith; CVC; Dead Method; Dream Wife; Drenge; Drunk Yoga DJs; Ed The Dog; Esther; Estrons; Farm Hand; Fling; Frown Upon; Gaz Coombes; Giant Party; Goat Girl; Great News; Greta Isaac; Grey Hairs; Griff Lynch; GRLTLK; Gwenno; Halo Maud; Hana2k; Heavy Rapids; HMS Morris; Ivan Moult; I See Rivers; Keeva; Keir; Knowbetter; L.A. Salami; Lewys; Los Blancos; Low Island; Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard; Marged; Martha; Mellow Gang; Mellt; MRPHY; My Name Is Ian; Night Flight; Oh Peas!; Perfect Body; Pizzagirl; Private World; Queen Zee; Quiet Marauder; Rascalton; Red Telephone; RedFaces; Right Hand Left Hand; Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever; RYD; Sam Evian; Scott Xylo; Silent Forum; Snapped Ankles; Sock; Spinning Coin; Suuns; Talkshow; Tamu Massif; Teddy Hunter; The Blinders; The Death of Money; The Effect; The Gentle Good; The Go! Team; The Mysterines; The Orielles; The Pitchforks; The Witching Hour; Tigress; Tracy Island; Vive La Void; Wasuremono; Wild Cat Strike; XY&O; Y Sybs; Ya Yonder; Yassassin; Yves; Zabrinski; Zac White

Have a scroll through We Are Cardiff’s previous Sŵn content

***

Exciting performance beyond the stereotype – Mags at Sherman Theatre

We’re big fans of the theatre over by here, and so were excited to hear about Cwmni Pluen’s new show Mags – a devised piece that’s been developed over two years through work with three community groups across Wales. The show asks how far family bonds can be pushed, and how does it feel to belong, through following the story of Mags and her return to her hometown after chasing a hedonistic escape from life events. The show is at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff from 25-28 September (get tickets here!)

Reuniting with her past, Mags is determined to discover how we can continue to look after each other in a society that has let traditional community structures break down. Uplifting and provocative in equal measure, Mags prompts conversations on the complex role of care in society today, the impact of human connections, and celebrates the families we can create for ourselves.

“The show our audiences will see is a fusion of movement, bilingual text and live music as we follow Mags’ story – her past, present and future in the small Welsh village she both loves and loathes,” says Gethin Evans, director of Mags. “Her story is created from the people we have met through the community engagement with CAIN, Trans*Form Cymru and Dads Can”.

Like every Pluen production, Mags is bilingual in Welsh and English, and combines an eclectic mix of theatre, live music and physical performance. The original score has been written by Welsh electronic pop artist CASI, who will perform with musician Eddy Bailhache, remaining on stage throughout and performing live – bringing pulsing energy and a connection with the audience. Check below for the Soundcloud link to the beautiful song Rhyw Dynfa that they’ve created for the show – that they’ll be performing live on stage.

Performance Dates

Buy tickets for Mags at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff – performance dates:

  • 25 September, 7:30pm
  • 26 September, 2:30pm & 7:30pm
  • 27 September, 7:30pm (post show talk)
  • 28 September, 7:30pm (Captioned performance)

About Cwmni Pluen

Cwmni Pluen are a Cardiff-based theatre company, working across Wales. Their approach is to create a synergy between text-based and devised work that is always physical, always probing the human condition, always bilingual, and always engaging with new members of communities.

Following the success of their first production Llais / Voice, which the company presented in Wales and at the Edinburgh festival, Sherman Theatre’s artistic director Rachel O’Riordan appointed Cwmni Pluen as the Sherman’s inaugural Company in Residence.

***

 

 

 

Dog friendly Cardiff Bay – Zelda’s guide to great places for hanging with your pup

We told you before Christmas that We Are Cardiff had a mascot – a rescue greyhound called Zelda. Well, she’s not really been pulling her weight in terms of blog posts, so we’ve managed to pry her off the sofa for long enough to give us her recommendations. (If any of you have ever met a greyhound, you’ll know what we’re talking about. All she wants to do is sleep!). So anyway … here it is!

Zelda’s guide to dog friendly Cardiff Bay

Before we begin, you should just remind yourself of how adorable Zelda is.

 

To start off with, we’re going to focus on the places you can take your dog inside (because let’s face it, weather …). There’s a list of recommended outdoors places too, at the bottom of the post.

Coffee, snacks, and ice cream!

Coffi Co: Cardiff Bay and Mermaid Quay

There are two Coffi Cos in Cardiff Bay – one by the Wetherspoons and Carluccios (in the old Bosphorus unit) and one just over the water as you head towards the barrage. Both are dog friendly, though the Mermaid Quay one is our regular. Staff are all super lovely and very fond of dogs. The place is very popular. Beware if you have a silly long-legged dog like a greyhound though – there are lots of big stools that they might get enmeshed in, as per below. (I know, what is she like). Coffi Co FacebookCoffi Co TwitterCoffi Co IG.

Cadwaladers, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff

Although Cadwaladers is best known for its incredible ice cream, the Mermaid Quay branch also serves great coffee and snacks. It’s a good place for brunch, has views of the bay, and best of all, your dog is allowed inside! Cadwaladers FacebookCadwaladers TwitterCadwaladers IG

Octavo’s Book Cafe and Wine Bar, West Bute Street, Cardiff

If your dog is of the literary persuasion, she will love Octavo’s: Cardiff’s only book cafe, located just a couple of minutes from Cardiff Bay train station and Mermaid Quay. Octavo’s serve food and drinks all day, and have a great selection of general fiction and local interest books. There are also author events, book clubs and all sorts of meet ups held there. Support independent local businesses and get thee down to Octavo’s! Octavo’s FacebookOctavo’s TwitterOctavo’s IG.

Boozers

The Waterguard, Harbour Drive, Cardiff

This place is one of the best summertime drinking spots in the Bay due to its waterside location and lovely green lawn out the back. Dogs are allowed inside (at the entrance and also in a room towards the back). It’s very lacking in atmosphere inside and usually takes about five years to be served (they only ever seem to have one member of bar staff working whenever I go in), but hey, it’s the only dog-friendly boozer in the bay. Waterguard Facebook

Also, it’s not a boozer, but Pavers Shoes in the bay has a dogs welcome sign in the window (in case your pooch needs new pumps)

Nearby gems:

There’s one real dog-friendly gem within a ten minute drive of Cardiff Bay, where you can take your dog inside and the place is really something special – so it’s included (just in case your dog has wheels). Well worth heading for.

The Grange, 134 Penarth Road, Cardiff: lovely pub with a skittles alley and large beer garden. Great atmosphere, good food and super friendly staff. This place gets five bones out of five!

CARDIFF BAY – OUTDOORS PLACES TO VISIT WITH YOUR DOG

  • Cardiff Bay barrage (nice for a walk over to Penarth)
  • World of Boats (sit outside for a great view of the bay)
  • Mermaid Quay bars (The Dock, Wetherspoons, Las Iguanas etc … they all have outdoor seating areas where you and your dog can sit)

Zelda approves of all these places. She encourages you to take your pups to visit, then let us know how you get on!

Phew! We’re all tuckered out. Zelda’s off for a nap. So we’ll see you soon! Don’t forget you can follow her adventures on Instagram – @ZeldaPooch

Zzzz ….

***

Early morning raving – a pre-work party with Leah Sian Davies of Soulful Sunrise

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!

37797074_10155656780147078_6431078699528880128_n

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!

Find out more:

***

Cardiff Women in Music – Exhibition and Celebration!

We realise we’re a bit late shouting about this but we’ve just got back from Green Man …

Anyway, our director lady Helia Phoenix is going to be giving a small talk on Thursday as part of the Cardiff Music Women Exhibit (she’s DJed, promoted, and even written a book about Lady Gaga, don’t you know).

The exhibition takes place until Thursday this week, segueing nicely into HUBFEST this weekend!

More about the exhibition …

CARDIFF MUSIC WOMEN EXHIBIT! Facebook event
Mon 20th – Thu 23rd August 2018
Womanby Street, Cardiff (various venues)
All ages / All welcome / Free entry!
Mon 20th starts 6pm, Tues-Thurs starts 4pm.

Celebrating the contributions of local women to our alternative/popular music scene, from the late 1950s up to today.

As well as household names like Shirley Bassey, Charlotte Church and Cerys Matthews, it’ll also focus on untold stories of record shop owners, labels, songwriters/musicians, DJs, festival organisers, sound engineers, photographers, promoters..

Expect plenty of memorabilia/artefacts, photos, video, listening posts, memory-sharing
+
Workshops, talks, career profiles and live music – as one of the main aims is to encourage more women/girls/non-binary people into our local industry.

Wednesday 22 August – Cardiff Music Women: Songwriting Workshop / Free / All-Ages

Thursday 23 August – Lucy Squire (Catapult) / Helia Phoenix / Sarah Howells of Bryde

For Thursday’s event, here’s all the deets you need:

Part of Cardiff Music Women Exhibit & Celebration
Guest speakers:
LUCY SQUIRE (Catapult Cardiff, ATRiuM)
HELIA PHOENIX (Music Writer, DJ, We Are Cardiff)
SARAH HOWELLS (BrydePaper AeroplanesSeahorse Music)

Thursday 23rd August 2018
Clwb Ifor Bach
5.30pm open for 5.50pm start – 7.00pm
All ages / All welcome
FREE ENTRY

To coincide with our exhibit we’re holding free workshops & talks aiming to encourage more women/girls/non-binary people into our local music industry.

Our guest speakers Lucy, Helia and Sarah will give an insight into their careers in music, how they got started, achievements, challenges, as well as sharing stories and experiences.

LUCY SQUIRE – Music Business Course Leader at ATRiuM, Lucy previously established a number of brands including the much-loved CATAPULT, a music and lifestyle company nurtured over 21 years with a retail store, mail order, record & clothes label, DJ/music production training, artist development and event management.

HELIA PHOENIX is a music writer, film maker, award-winning blogger, DJ and the driving force behind We Are Cardiff (one of the top city blogs in the world according to The Guardian). Writer of a Lady Gaga biography, with articles featured in Rolling Stone and The Guardian, former magazine editor, photographer and much more.

SARAH HOWELLS is a Welsh musician and record label manager based in London, performing as BRYDE, and previously part of PAPER AEROPLANES and HALFLIGHT. Sarah runs a label called SEAHORSE MUSIC, which supports a variety of female artists. “After more than 15 years in the music industry – writing, touring performing in various different guises – I’ve seen it come a long way in terms of equality and gender balance.. That said, there’s still a way to go..”

Followed by Women in Under-Represented Music / Girls Of Grime / Faith/Cypher in The Moon afterwards (free entry)

#cardiffmusicwomen

http://www.cardiffmusicwomen.com

http://www.clwb.net

***

 

Cardiff in the Eighties – by Nick Sarebi

I recently spent a few hours lost in the internet when I came across Nick Sarebi’s wonderful photographs of Cardiff in the 1980s. I messaged Nick who kindly agreed to let us publish them, and even did a mini interview with me, which I present, here, for you. Do enjoy this wonderful dip into the archives, back into Cardiff in the late 1980s and very early 1990s. Over to Nick …

Nick: I originally came from London. I lived in between Grangetown 1988 – 95, although I was still working in London for much of that time. I always thought Cardiff was a lovely city.

I was doing a City and Guilds photography project at the time. I loved the sense of history that the Docks had, and obviously it was just on the cusp of change. I wish I took more photos back then, but it was before digital.

I lived in Pentrebane Street in Grangetown. I remember my neighbour saying that she knew Shirley Bassey and went on a works outing with her, where she sang, but then again everyone claimed to know her at that time! I think there were still close-knit families in Grangetown then, which was changing at that time. The neighbours were all very friendly. The house was covered inside with Artex when I bought it. It took ages to scrape off, I must have been mad!

The Docks

Cardiff docks, taken around 1990
Imperial House, which disappeared sometime in the 1990s
The dry dock, photographed in the 1980s. The dry dock is still there, but the shed has long since been demolished.
Cardiff Docks, taken in 1990

 

Nick: I loved wandering round the Docks at that time, before it was all developed. It was pretty much deserted at the time. I also remember visiting the Sea Lock and some other Docks pubs. I wanted to go into the clubs down there but was a bit wary as an outsider. The Sea Lock was definitely stepping into the past. The main bar was closed and they only had a tiny bar left open. They frowned on women going in there alone! It was demolished soon after, I think. The publicans were really friendly. I recommend Trezza Azzarardi’s The Hiding Place – it’s a brilliant take on Tiger Bay. It conjures up Tiger Bay so well for me I had to go back and take another look. It was criminal how the knocked the place down. It can still be seen in the classic film Tiger Bay, which you should watch if you haven’t seen already.

There’s a nice interview with Neil Sinclair here, talking about the story of the place that inspired the Tiger Bay musical that was out year  …

I remember meeting Neil Sinclair, who is at the start of Tiger Bay talking with Hayley Mills. We met at a nice pub which was on the Bay front and was very isolated, out on the way to Penarth. This was before they built that flyover. I forget its name, I think it must have gone now.

Butetown, Cardiff 1991. This building is now home to Octavo’s bookshop and cafe
The Dockland Mini-Market – which can still be seen on James Street today
This building was preserved in the Docks redevelopment – you can now see it as the entrance to the Waterguard pub
The famous clock from the famous Coal Exchange – which, after years in disrepair, is now the Exchange Hotel
The infamous Casablanca Club, long since demolished
Cardiff docks … taken in 1991
The Norwegian Church, 1990
Windsor Esplanade, early 1990s
Cardiff Bay redevelopment, early 1990s

Cardiff – the city

Nick: Why did I move to Cardiff in the first place? That’s a good question. I wanted to move out of London, as it was expensive to buy a house there (even then!) and it was so big. Of course, no one could imagine that house prices would rise to the crazy levels they are now…

I couldn’t decide on Bristol or Cardiff. My girlfriend at the time lived in Bristol, but we split up just before I moved, so I chose Cardiff. In retrospect, what was mad was not looking for work in Cardiff. So I just travelled thousands of miles up and down the M4!

Eventually after Cardiff I moved to Bristol and I worked there for a couple of years, but was offered a part-time job in London, which went from two to four days, so I started commuting again, from 1997 right through to 2013.

I now look back and wonder why I did that! I spent seven years in Cardiff, but somehow it doesn’t feel that long – it flew by. I arrived in Cardiff only a few months after Lynette White was murdered. Someone wrote a book on it called Bloody Valentine, but it had to be pulped for libel reasons.

Tremorfa, around 1991
Seriously – whatever happened to Mr Sandwich?

Nick: It was a bit ridiculous travelling backwards and forwards to London for all those years I lived in Cardiff. Cardiff was all changing at that time. I studied at the Arts Centre – I can’t remember what it was called now.

I have visited Cardiff a few times since I lived there, walking all round the barrage with my son, and have been to watch my team, Fulham, play Cardiff. It always brings back memories. I’m glad I lived there when I did, and saw the bay before it became “the Bay”.

***

Thank you so much Nick! He has a couple of really great albums of 1980s photography. We particularly love these albums:

Miners strike 1984 (photographs of mining families on holiday in London during the strike)

St Pancras Station 1980-1 (some great portraits of rail workers as well as general shots from around the station)

London Docks (images from the 1980s to now)

And of course, his Cardiff in the Eighties album in full.

To see more of his photography, visit Nick’s Flickr page.

***

Real Cardiff: The Flourishing City by Peter Finch – review

Writer Ben Newman gets stuck into Peter Finch’s fourth instalment in the Real Cardiff series.

How well do you know Cardiff, really? For a city of only roughly 350,000 people, nestled between valleys and the sea, there is a surprising amount of history, tales, fables, and important spots that remain hidden to the majority of us. Thankfully, Peter Finch’s Real Cardiff The Flourishing City has been published and is, to date, one of the most readable yet comprehensive histories of Cardiff.

By splitting the book into five main parts – Central, East, North, West, and South – Finch interprets how the city’s linguistic, cultural, artistic, and economical heritage is preserved and built upon today, whilst contextualising how all these factors contribute to Cardiff’s booming trade. No matter which part of the ‘diff you live in, there will be some coverage of it in it here, and may make you approach your morning commute or next trip to the shops a little differently.

The book opens with a short discussion about Cardiff’s role as a boom city, before descending into an overview of the city’s history. Finch then muses on the cultural melding, or lack thereof, between Cardiff and the northern valleys, and how economic and population pressures may push Cardiffians out into the valleys. It is an interesting discussion to be had where Cardiff’s influence and parameters end, with Finch stating that “Cardiff finishes at the roundabout just south of Castell Coch.” This book attempts to discuss more than just Cardiff itself, but the degree of its wider influence in the fabric of south Wales.

Furthering on that, the author discusses how the city is changing architecturally, with our beloved skyline being threatened by all sorts of wider economic advancements. The book opens by providing a full framework of what has happened and what is to come, threading in loose descriptions of a multitude of factors. Whilst Finch does not go into impressive depth in this book, he does display an amazing breadth of knowledge; this book is not necessarily for those inclined to the nitty-gritty, but more for those who want a full understanding of what it means to be Cardiff.

Finch, already famous for being a wonderful writer, employs a direct and simple writing style, with the kind of preference for understatement you see from any old man telling a story. Even if he shies away from hyperbole, he still manages to capture the contradictory and idiosyncratic nature of Cardiff. His writing is underpinned by an implicit understanding of what makes us Cardiffians tick, allowing his writing to gravitate towards highlights that would naturally interest locals.

Without wanting to spoil too much, the book traverses through geographical spots throughout each part of Cardiff, focusing on those bits that appear relatively different or important. In a way, it is as if Finch is taking you on a tour – albeit a politicised one – throughout spots in Cardiff. He starts off with easy parts such as Queen Street, before slowly making his way through the nooks and crannies of central Cardiff, ending in the quieter streets of Tredegarville. This occurs throughout each section, beginning at a central hub, and slowly meandering out to the peripheries. Each street reveals something different and hidden away. To give them away here would ruin the experience, but the important point Finch takes away from each idiosyncrasy is that Cardiff deserves to be treasured. Underpinning his textual tour is an argument that we, like the rest of Wales, need a plan. Issues such as traffic concerns, architectural issues, and Cardiff’s disconnect from Welsh culture are all discussed, leading to a book that not only entrenches itself in the city, but in the city’s concerns, troubles, and future.

Real Cardiff is, at heart, a book for the people of Cardiff, half-love-letter, half-history.

***

You can buy Real Cardiff: The Flourishing City from Seren Books

Author Peter Finch has a number of events throughout the rest of 2018/9 where you can join him on walks through the city, or hear him talk. Make sure to check Peter Finch’s Twitter for more details, but we recommend:

Saturday 8th September, 2018
Banging Out The Poems at The Park Hotel
Cardiff Book Festival. 3.15 pm at Cornerstone, Charles Street
A brief literary history of one of Cardiff’s major landmarks. Peter Finch, author of the new Real Cardiff The Flourishing City, tracks some of the creative outrages perpetrated in the name of literature at this 150-year old institution. We’ll also hear a little about how, in an age of windpower, the world’s greatest coal port has boomed again. Cardiff – as much a destination now as it is a place to live.

Tuesday 23rd September, 2018
Real Cardiff The Flourishing City
Rhiwbina Library. 7.30 pm.

Thursday 18th October, 2018
Arts Society Central Cardiff Walk
Psychogeography and the Real City

Friday 9th February, 2019
The Cardiff Mash Up
Mezzanine: The Seren Cornerstone Poetry Festival, Charles Street, Cardiff, 2019
The polymath poet, editor, essayist and psychogeographer presents his newest work on the city.
12.00 noon.

***

 

 

 

New zero-waste store aims to make ripples in Cardiff

You might have spotted the super exciting Kickstarter campaign for a new zero-waste store in Cardiff called rippleAs you know, we LOVE small actions that turn into big changes. So today, Sophie Rae – the kick-ass woman behind the idea – tells us all about her amazing concept…

Sophie Rae KickstarterRipple, Cardiff’s first not-for-profit zero-waste store, has launched a Kickstarter to bring the shop to the city in time for a new wave of conscious consumers.

Inspired by the independent community of Cardiff, ripple founder and Cardiff native, Sophie Rae, launched the crowd funding campaign on 16th July at fellow not-for-profit business Big Mooose Coffee.

Pledgers have shown their support in vast numbers, with the campaign reaching 25% of its target within 72 hours! Here’s why you should back the project too:

So, what’s ripple about?

It’s simple really. Ripple is all about conscious consuming; from food to fashion choices. We think everyone deserves the chance to shop more ethically. When one person makes a change, everyone else pays attention, because ripples create waves. That, and you know… plastic.

Ripple_KickstarterCampaign_09 (1)

What’s wrong with plastic?

Don’t misunderstand us, we’re not anti-plastic. It’s a material that’s saving lives and has a much-needed purpose worldwide.

But single-use plastics? Yeah, they suck. BIG TIME. Plastic bags, water bottles, coffee cups, straws, packaging, wet wipes, sanitary products… the list is endless and it’s getting longer.

The ugly truth

By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more plastic than fish, in our world ocean. Studies estimate that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean each year and by 2025, that’s set to double.

Worried yet? Us too. Plastic packaging accounts for an eye-watering fifth of the cost of your weekly shop. What if you could shop package free? Well, we’d all be saving a lot of money and precious resources.

refillable containers at ripple

So what is a zero-waste store?

To help the people of Cardiff pass on plastic, ripple will offer over 120 bulk wholefoods and encourage customers to bring their own containers, jars, tubs and bags to refill every time they shop. And because the team believe in treating every creature with kindness, they’ll be be stocking the best natural and cruelty-free home and beauty products too, from eco laundry detergent to shampoo, soap and washing-up liquid.

There’s even going to be some sustainable homeware and ethical fashion thrown in for good measure. Think bamboo socks and organic cotton underwear!

Sophie tell us:

I watched Blue Planet II in 2017 and was deeply shocked to see the devastating harm humans are having on our planet. Since then, I’ve felt pretty ethically queasy. My zero-waste journey started not long after, I’ve been making small changes to help lighten my personal plastic footprint.

The campaign is helping create sustainable foundations for ripple, so our impact can be bigger and bolder than we could have ever imagined on our own. It really is a  community project, led by the people of the city.

I hope ripple will change the way Cardiff consumes, so that we can turn Wales’ capital into a true green city. That’s what ripple is all about:making small, sustainable changes to help create a bigger impact.

Ripple_ToteBag-Kickstarter (1)

Ripple’s Kickstarter campaign will close at 11:59pm on Sunday 29th July, when the target of £30,000 must be reached or no funding will be released.

To help entice supporters to pledge, ripple has collaborated with local independent businesses to offer rewards, including zero-waste starter kits, Hot Pod Yoga class passes and ethical accessories from Cardiff-based fashion brand Maykher.

To support the campaign, find the pledge page here or follow ripple’s
journey across social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

kickstarter tickets (1)

***

Just 10 days left to vote for your favourite Cardiff arcade business!

Over the past couple of weeks, the City of Arcades campaign has been encouraging people across Cardiff to VOTE FOR THEIR FAVOURITE INDEPENDENT BUSINESS in any one of our wonderful arcades. THERE ARE ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

HERE’S HOW TO VOTE:

Go to the City of Arcades website and click through to the arcade where your favourite shop is (you may need to explore the site first to work out which is which).

We voted for Spillers Records! Which you can find in the Morgan Arcade section, bbz. Although we’re not telling you how to vote, obvs.

When you find your store listed, CLICK THE HEART ICON (circled below). You can’t vote from the store’s actual information page (as they don’t all have them) – you can only vote in this list view.

The top 10 stores will be featured in an ad campaign in Cardiff, Bristol, and Bath, so it’s some great exposure for our lovely local independent businesses! ALSO anyone who votes will be entered into a draw to win a £100 FOR Cardiff Gift Card.

Voting is open until midnight on 22 July 2018. VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE ARCADE BUSINESS and help them get a spot in the City of Arcades Top 10! Go to thecityofarcades.com, follow the steps above, and KABOOM.

Once you’ve voted (or maybe before), do spend some time exploring the City of Arcades website. There are some lovely video interviews with different businesses –  this is the Spillers Records interview with Ashley …

Also we love this interview with Matthew Pritchard, owner of Sleep When You’re Dead in the High Street Arcade

Aaaaand this with lovely Kas from Waterloo Tea in the Wyndham Arcade

As Adrian Field, Executive Director of FOR Cardiff, says: “If you frequently visit a café or buy gifts from a certain shop, make sure you get behind the business to help them get on the top 10 list. Looking at the current top 20, it’s all still to play for!”

Dyfed Bowen, General Manager of Rules of Play in Castle Arcade, says: “The support we’ve received since the campaign launched has been incredible. It makes us feel special to see that hundreds of people have voted for us so far, especially when you look at all the other well-known shops in the arcades such as Barkers Coffee and Science Cream.”

Aw. All the feels.

To make sure your favourite independent gets the recognition it deserves in the campaign later this year, MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!

There’s more about the City of Arcades on the socials …

Cardiff’s arcades form such an important part of the city centre’s identity. If you’re interested in learning more, see our other posts:

More about the City of Arcades

The campaign is being run by For Cardiff, an organisation that represents businesses in Cardiff’s city centre (known as the business improvement district, or BID). A BID is an arrangement where central businesses can make decisions about the improvements they want to make in their city centre, and have a say in the amount they think should be spent on these improvements. BIDs are usually run by not for profit companies,  controlled by the businesses that fund them. This post is kindly sponsored by the City of Arcades, helping us keep the social purpose at the heart of We Are Cardiff.

***