• 25-29 September 2019 at the Senedd, the Pierhead building and on tour in the autumn
  • Charlotte Church, Rhys Ifans, Machynlleth Comedy Festival and a music gig feature in an ambitious line-up of events

A new festival will be held in Cardiff Bay in September which will focus on a future Wales.

GWLAD festival features a mix of conversations and lectures, art, comedy, music and politics.

The five-day festival is hosted by the National Assembly for Wales in conjunction with a lengthy list of influential and creative partners, and is part of a programme of event to mark 20 years of devolution, which includes a further three one-day GWLAD events in three different locations across Wales.

Each GWLAD partner contributes in their own way to the varied schedule of sessions, which aims to discuss and debate a range of issues such as journalism, sport, politics and culture.  


Conversations, Comedy, Music, Politics and more

Singer Charlotte Church has used her voice to speak out against social injustice and in her company, in a session led by Arts Council of Wales, we will examine the link between art and politics, and explore our cultural democracy.

Actor and campaigner Rhys Ifans is a natural born storyteller. In this BAFTA Cymru and Into Film Cymru session, Rhys will have plenty of tales to share about his life, career and his passion for Wales and the country’s future.

Machynlleth Comedy Festival will set up camp in the Cwrt area of the Senedd building; an area which is rarely open to the public. Comedian Tudur Owen compères a bilingual evening featuring the cream of Wales’ stand up circuit.

BBC Question Time will make its Senedd debut during the festival, broadcasting from the bay on Thursday 26 September. You can apply to be in the audience via the BBC website

To give a taste of the varied line-up, other sessions include Race Council Wales’ panel event on multicultural Wales, discussions about fake news and the media, equality in politics and exploring people’s opinion about devolution in Wales. We will host a GWLAD Gig to celebrate Welsh music, with bands and artists to be revealed as part of the full festival line-up at the end of August.

The Senedd and Pierhead Buildings in Cardiff Bay will host the five-day GWLAD festival. The Senedd will also host an art exhibition depicting photos of Wales and curated by Ffotogallery, before it sets off on a Wales-wide tour. GWLAD will go on tour in the autumn when a series of one-day festivals will be held in Carmarthen, Caernarfon and Mold.


Encouraging debate and discussion

As well as sparking a conversation about the future, GWLAD also aims to celebrate Wales through art and entertainment, says National Assembly for Wales Llywydd, Elin Jones AM:

“GWLAD is a festival which will encourage debate about a whole range of topics. But we’ll also enjoy entertainment, art, comedy and music as we evaluate and celebrate the country’s achievements and talents. As we mark 20 years of the Assembly, we turn our sights to the next 20 years. What kind of country do we want Wales to be in the coming decades? Which direction should we take and how do we achieve this vision?

“With thanks to all the partners, and there are many of them, we look forward to seeing people from all walks of life taking part in the discussions and enjoying a busy few days at this thought-provoking festival at the end of September, and again during the events in Carmarthen, Caernarfon and Mold.”

See full details about the schedule so far online at devolution20.wales  

GWLAD is a free festival, but you will need to book tickets to attend the sessions, on a ‘first come first served’ basis. Tickets will be available online from the end of the month, and others will be able to watch the main events on a live online feed on the devolution20.wales website.

To be among the first to know, people can sign up to receive news via email by completing the online form, or keep an eye on Twitter @AssemblyWales and devolution20.wales


Influential and creative partnerships

The Assembly is grateful to a long list of influential and creative partners for their contribution to the festival. GWLAD is staged in partnership with: 

Aberystwyth University’s Department of International Politics, Arts Council of Wales, BAFTA Cymru, BBC Horizons, BBC Question Time, BBC Wales, Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC), Chwarae Teg, Ffotogallery, Football Association of Wales, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Institute of Welsh Affairs, Into Film Cymru, ITV Wales, Machynlleth Comedy Festival, Public Affairs Cymru, S4C, Swansea University’s Morgan Academy, Welsh Race Council, Wales Governance Centre.