It’s the biggest event in the South Wales music calendar; Swn Festival – now in its sixth year – begins tomorrow.
With hundreds of gigs, club nights, workshops, seminars and film screenings taking place across Cardiff over the next four days (download your schedule here), WalesOnline’s arts correspondent Dave Owens takes you through his Swn survival guide…
1. Bands will drop out last minute, so be sure to have your spoons, washboard and The Smiths greatest hits in your heads just in case you get a call up from the subs’ bench.
2. Pace yourself – whether you be a teenage indie kid or a veteran who has seen action at C86, grunge and Madchester, there’s no point in pretending you’re a hedonist channelling the spirit of Pete Doherty and Keith Richards.
3. Don’t pretend you’ve heard of half these bands because we’ll know you’re lying and don’t expect us to believe you when you say “oh yeah I saw them playing The Nathan Barley Arms in Hoxton back in 2009.”
4. Always listen, never talk – when a band is on that is. This is a discerning crowd of music knowledgeables that will shoot you a look so full of loathing it will shrivel your soul and make you regret ever drunkenly shouting nonsense into your mate’s ear just at that crucial moment in Palma Violets’ set.
5. Have a sturdy pair of trainers or at least shoes conducive to pegging it between venues. Remember this four day shindig is rather like a marathon – by the end of it you’ll be craving a long lie down and a Mars bar.
6. (see 5) There’s no shame in stretching before you leave one venue for the next.
7. If you see Swn celebrities like Huw Stephens, Charlotte Church or any members of The Blackout wandering around, then please forgo the urge to run up to them as if they have just landed from another planet and attempt to burn out their retinas while you blind them with the flash from your smartphone. They’re only human. (Although we have our doubts about The Blackout)
8. You will invariably meet hundreds of people who will insist they were at The Vaccines’ gig upstairs at Dempseys during Swn 2010. We know the capacity is only 100 and you sir/madam are a liar.
9. On Friday and Saturday night, Cardiff has a tendency to degenerate into some sort of dystopian nightmare fuelled by fancy dress, lager, necking and vomit. So don’t make the mistake of engaging a stag or hen party in conversation. At. Any. Time. Ever.
10. And finally. Enjoy and savour. Much like Christmas, Swn Festival comes round but once a year but this time you’ve got four days to unwrap your gifts – and you can rest assured they won’t be socks and an ill-fitting jumper from your nan.