USW students to host Cardiff Music Festival 2020 online
Thursday, 30 April 2020
uswUSW students Lewis Disson, Rosie Graham and Ben Pottinger
UK - University of South Wales (USW) Music & Sound students have been working hard to transform what was originally planned to be a series of live gigs in various local venues around Cardiff, into a realtime event of multiple livestreams taking place over the next few days, until 3 May.
In partnership with Keep Cardiff Live and Dazed, the USW students had to quickly adapt when the Covid19 pandemic brought with it a unique set of circumstances where those plans were no longer possible. Overcoming many technical challenges, the students will be hosting the festival online, featuring genres that are popular in live music events in Cardiff.
The festival will include indie, hip-hop, house, metal and drum’n’bass nights along with interviews with subjects including USW graduate and Grammy nominee, Romesh Dodangoda, Lacertilla and Tidy Records.
USW student Lewis Disson, 21, from Cardiff is running the House event on the Saturday night of the festival. He comments: “I’ve been busy organizing the DJs, creating artwork and I will be performing on the night too. I work part-time as an assistant designer and light technician for Climax Live, so I have good connections with venues. Before Covid19 my festival plans for the House night were going well. However, when we decided to move to a virtual festival, I had to start from scratch and totally rethink the schedule. If anything, though, it has pushed us to be more creative and I like that. It has changed how we think.”
Running the indie night, Ben Pottinger, 23, from Bridgend comments: “Due to social distancing, we can’t bring the bands together, so we have asked them to send recordings that we are compiling and editing to stream on the night.”
Fellow student Rosie Graham, 28, from Cardiff is responsible for the Metal Mix day on Friday. She adds: “I wanted to promote bands that are more diverse so had booked a female-fronted metal band, as well as some USW bands. But, instead of showcasing three bands live, we are now showcasing a livestreamed DJ set of Welsh metal bands, followed by a metal playlist. I have been busy collating MP3s and Spotify tracks.
“I was really excited to put on a live gig in Fuel and raise money for a mental health charity at the same time. So, we all had to manage the disappointment of not being able to do what we had set out to do when we decided to move to a free online event.
“I had assumed the event would be postponed but thought it was a great idea to put the event online, I was happy to be proactive. It is frustrating that you can’t meet up with people to work together. In our group, we all bring different things to the project, so now I am having to learn new things. But we are doing our best to provide some entertainment while people are stuck inside during this lockdown.”
She continues: “Studying Music & Sound has really helped with my own music as I have been able to record and produce my own work. I chose this course because of the state-of-the-art equipment and I have learnt loads of things skills that I didn’t expect to learn, like events management, music business etc. When things are more normal, I still want to host a metal gig promoting diversity. I also want to continue my studies on to the masters degree in songwriting and production at USW.”
USW’s School of Music and Sound has a growing reputation having hosted several successful events this year, including Immersed Festival and the Swn Conference. A statement from USW says: “Cardiff Music Festival provides further opportunity for collaboration with community partners and an innovative way of supporting the sector at a difficult time. These practical assessments prepare students for successful careers within the music industry. The festival is promising to be a great success. You can tune in via the event’s Facebook page and Keepcardifflive.com.”
Lloyd George, Music & Sound course leader said: “This event is part of the students’ final year assessment. They have done remarkably well in shifting their programme from live to online, essentially going from promoters to broadcasters. I would like to thank Keep Cardiff Live and Dazed for their continued support.”
Tony Chapman, Keep Cardiff Live, adds: “Cardiff has a rich history of live music, our ethos is about highlighting talent in the area across genres, so we are very excited about the festival. It will be interesting to see how it develops. With the current circumstances making live performances impossible, this event is offering a platform for musicians of all ages.”

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