First acts announced: Patti Smith, Gruff Rhys and Passenger

Drum roll please… the first acts on our awesome 2018 line-up have been revealed.

The second instalment of Cardiff’s international arts festival will welcome the legendary American musician, poet, writer and activist Patti Smith for two unique performances; a special recital of her Words and Music show in the beautiful St John’s Church, Canton plus a musical performance in the Wales Millennium Centre’s Donald Gordon Theatre, with Lenny Kaye and Tony Shanahan. Welsh musician Gruff Rhys will perform an unmissable world-premiere with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, who celebrate their 90th birthday this year.

Other headline artists appearing at Wales Millennium Centre are Ivor Novello award-winning singer-songwriter, Passenger, plus Nadine Shah opens for Billy Bragg on the first night of the festival with a special Voices of Protest evening.

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director, Wales Millennium Centre and Festival of Voice said: ‘This gives just a taste of what’s to come. As well as other exciting events which embrace theatre, art and all musical genres throughout the city, this year’s festival will also include opportunities to get involved, protest or just hang out in specially designed spaces from daytime into the early hours of the morning.’

The full 11-day festival line-up will include more one-off performances from much-loved artists, specially commissioned collaborations and community projects at various venues across Cardiff, the UK’s first Music City. Sign-up for our newsletter to get the full line-up first on 6 March.

Unique events and performances

We’re also bringing you a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in a nationwide mass artwork celebrating one hundred years of votes for women. We’ve teamed up with public art specialists, Artichoke and 14-18 NOW to invite women (those who identify as women or non-binary) and girls to wear green, white or violet, the colours of the Suffragettes, and join a stirring procession through Cardiff, creating a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Register now to get involved.

Karine Polwart will perform her piece Wind Resistance at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, a spellbinding alchemy of story and song from the Edinburgh folk artist; and Tiger Lillies: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency will deliver a multi-arts experience that sees the cult British trio perform a live soundtrack for the Ballad alongside startling images by American photographer Nan Goldin.

Tickets for these first acts are all on sale now. Tell us who you’re booking on Twitter #FOV2018.


Trailer by Oliver Norcott -

Music by Josef Prygodzicz -

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