Five You Might Have Missed: Our tips for Cardiff’s Sŵn Festival.

The three-day new music festival in Cardiff starts today, tipping it’s cap to the stars of tomorrow.

Words: Lloyd Bolton | Photo of Los Bitchos

We are just days away from the return of Sŵn – *the* Welsh city festival – and while music journalists across the UK curse Microsoft Word for its oppressive lack of Welsh language accents, we are also gearing up for an incredible weekend of live music. Though you may be dazzled by the headline acts like Bodega and Sorry, we are here to point you towards a few acts further down the bill that could be your favourite hidden gem of the festival.


If you have not yet seen Heka then where have you been? Well perhaps you have been outside of London, where she has been a compelling fixture of the scene for a number of years. Ok, I’ll let you non-Londoners off, but that also makes it all the more imperative to catch her on a rare foray away from the capital. Heka’s music is delicately beautiful, with throwaway phrases developing into affirming mantras as songs evolve around them. Her recorded output, including the particularly unusual ‘Redwoods (a few interesting facts about sequoias)’ from Slow Dance ’20, develops adventurous experimental textures. Live, however, she strips songs down to their most essential and poignant elements, only to rebuild them in a different but equally dazzling way, often with the help of some loop pedal wizardry. Heka is an absolute must-see this weekend.


I must confess I had never heard of skylrk. before bouncing around the Sŵn Festival official Spotify playlist. Slipping out of my headphones with no formal introduction, new single ‘adfywio.’ Immediately grabbed my attention. For one, I have never encountered Welsh-language hip-hop before. Beyond this novelty, the tune continues to delight, combining disobedient found sounds and erratic keys stabs with a flow of words I do not understand. ‘adfywio.’ feels like a big step forward into more experimental territory beyond skylrk.’s earlier releases. I am looking forward to finding out more about this artist straight from the source and recommend that you join me.

She’s Got Spies

Naming your act after a great Super Furry Animals tune immediately gives you a lot to live up to, and would certainly raise a few eyebrows in Cardiff, where Laura Nunez is based. My personal suspicions about how the music might compare were immediately alleviated, however, by an utterly charming set of songs across two albums. Nunez captures the DIY spirit and shoestring charm that has characterised Welsh indie from SFA and Gorky’s up to the present. With songs delivered in a mix of English, Welsh and Russian and a wonderfully idiosyncratic style, I am expecting a great show from She’s Got Spies.

Lunch Money Life

I am not entirely sure what I can expect from a Lunch Money Life set, having heard only a few scraps of their recorded output in the form of their recent EP ‘Under the Mercies’. Ordinarily I tend to shy away from the heavier jam bands, especially those that prefer instrumentals, but there is something about these that keeps me going back for more. I am still yet to get my head around ‘Royalty Laid Bare Before God’, with its cheesey autotuned refrain ‘we are Lunch Money Life’ offset by slamming drops, spiralling Gizzard-esque psych riffs and a synth head that is pure Kraftwerk. Perhaps their live set will be more enlightening, or perhaps it will deepen my confusion. Either way, sign me up!

Bingo Fury

Bingo Fury is a relative safe bet from me, as I have seen him countless times, and if you are still yet to hear of him then his set is an essential. Developed out of the ashes of Norman, ‘Bingo’ encapsulates the energy and variation that has made the Bristol scene so exciting and self-renewing for a number of years. Balancing gestures towards post-punk with jazz freakouts and piano ballads, he presents a singular music, capped with compelling and enigmatic lyricism. Be sure to catch him bring new EP Mercy’s Cut to life with effervescent style.