Summer Music Festivals 2018

The summer of 2018 promises to be a great experience for lovers of music in Merthyr Tydfil, with two fantastic festival events. The first on 25th – 27th May is the Merthyr Rising festival, which continues to bring major names from the world of popular music. Artists who are not only major names in their own right but have also had a major influence on some of the leading artists of today;

Ruts DC and The Blockheads both had a major influence on the development of Punk, Post Punk, Alternative and New Wave. The word “iconic” can easily be over used when describing the Blockheads’ long history of notable collaborations, including of course their original vocalist Ian Dury. We can also add members’ contributing on various “iconic” recordings including The Clash’s London Calling, Roy Budd’s Get Carter Soundtrack, Roger Daltrey’s solo career, Nick Cave’s Nocturama and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax”. Ruts DC are also no strangers to notable collaborations with Henry Rollins (Black Flag/Rollins Band), Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers), Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny/Theatre of Hate) and others all contributing on their latest album.

Ruts DC’s role in British popular music culture could be seen as a precursor to the rise of Ska in the early 80s. Who knows what role the Ruts would have played if it were not for the untimely death of singer Malcolm Owen. What is undeniable is that they were one of the key bands, together with The Clash, in bridging the gap between punk and reggae, helping build an appetite for the burgeoning Ska revival of the 80s.

Roland Gift and The Alarm, are other major names in the history of British popular music, who historically take up the baton from Ruts DC and The Blockheads. Roland Gift helped introduce Ska into the mainstream, while The Alarm, inspired by the political awareness of bands like The Clash, rekindled a spirit of ’76 back into a mainstream, which was at the time, dominated by New Romantic ostentatiousness.

The links to some of those “iconic” and hugely influential artists continue with another of the Merthyr Rising headliners, Dreadzone, featuring former members of Big Audio Dynamite (who of course also included Mick Jones of The Clash).

Add to all that some of the most exciting local bands, political commentators and intellectuals, artists, poets, authors and others, and Merthyr Rising 2018 promises to be possibly the best value music and cultural festival to be found anywhere this summer. And that’s before they’ve even completed the line up!

For tickets, visit the Merthyr Rising website.

Then on 5th August we have Grand Slam 2018, three major artists performing at Cyfarthfa Park, following in the footsteps of artists like Donny Osmond, Status Quo and various Merthyr Rock artists who have performed over the last decade or so. Being one of most commercially successful Scottish bands ever, having achieved five UK number one albums Simple Minds need little introduction. Likewise The Pretenders are a household name across the globe, with their roots in Punk and New Wave, their appeal has spanned the decades. Very special guest KT Tunstall completes a stellar line up of three headline acts. KT Tunstall broke into the public eye in 2004, with a live solo performance of her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on Later… with Jools Holland.

Tickets for Grandslam 2018 are available via Ticketmaster.

Gus Payne

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