Founded by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens and John Rostron, Swn Festival (winner of Best Small Festival at the NME Awards) celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary this October with a special line-up of new music from across the UK.  Trackd caught up with festival founder and director John Rostron to talk festival highlights, the future of Swn and who YOU should be wrapping your ears around!

Trackd: 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Swn Festival. Did you think you’d reach this milestone back when you started in 2007?
 John: I didn’t think about reaching 10 until we’d gotten to 5 years – up until that point we’d been bundling from one into the next without much thought about a long term plan!
 
T: Name your top 5 bands to play Swn?
J: For different reasons; Y Morgrug (in the Model Inn); John Grant (Reardon Smith Lecture Hall); Alt-J (Dempseys); Alex Dingley (Buffalo Bar); Islet (Model Inn).
 
T: What’s your favourite memory of Swn 2016?
 J: There was a lot this year. Sunday was a huge highlight. The Sunday of Swn can be quite tough as people have been out for two days already, and those who have travelled in need to get home. But this year was a belter – so many good bands and so busy in every venue. I loved the stories emerging from the Music Museum – that was a joy to put together. The silent disco at gwdihw was terrific fun too – I popped in to see how it was and stayed until the end – even DJing the last two hours!
T: You performed at the festival yourself this year – Is there a future for Adverse Camber
 J: Ha! Good question. Who knows! I really enjoyed learning to play drums and was in joyful bits during that performance. We’ve not had any offers to play again yet though…
 
T: Will we see a Dim Swn in Spring or will we have to wait until next Autumn?
J: I really don’t know – I’ve a lot I want to think about now we’ve done 10.
T: We’ve heard from numerous bands it’s an honour to play Swn. Why do you think it’s become such a monumental show for Welsh bands and acts from further afield?
 J: That’s so great to hear that – because that means we’re doing our job well. I guess it’s because we set the bar quite high for acts – we think about who is right to play for each edition – which also means saying ‘no’ to lots and lots of great people. It’s so tricky not to offend people, but I hope they understand the reasoning. I go to too many small festivals who just put the same bands on year after year – that sucks. We spend a lot of money on production, backline, reps and crew – we want the shows to sound and look as good as the can for the bands and the audience. And we work hard to ensure the venues are full of people. I guess when you put that all together it makes for a great show and a great festival.
 
T: Are there any bands/ artists who have played Swn that you expect will make it big within the next few years?
 J: Yes, but I wouldn’t know who! Of the new acts I saw (and can remember!), I really loved Dream Wife, She Drew The Gun, Chelou, Joseph J Jones, Alex Dingley, Martha Ffion, Plastic Mermaids and Himalayas this year – they were all top notch. Who knows where they’ll go though. I just hope they keep enjoying what they do.

Trackd were at the multi-venue music festival in Cardiff, Wales, recording some live acoustic sessions
with artists playing which will be up on the Trackd YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure shortly!
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