LLAIS began as Festival of Voice in 2016 as an alternative way for us to commission new work while creating an atmosphere for unique collaborations.
The festival would celebrate the voice in all its forms - bringing artists and audiences together through music, opera, theatre, visual art and talks.
Our first festival ran from 3 – 12 June, 2016 across multiple venues in Cardiff with an amazing lineup along with plenty of great moments including Van Morrison’s performance with Bryn Terfel, Charlotte Church's theatrical production, The Last Mermaid and a brand-new play, Before I Leave - featuring new music from Manic Street Preachers.
Two years later the festival returned for a 10 day run featuring new commissions, more incredible artists and a host of contemporary venues ranging from an ornate church to an indie nightclub.
Angélique Kidjo had everyone up on their feet dancing while Passenger managed to make our 1,896-seater theatre feel like an intimate gig for his legion of die-hard fans.
Meanwhile the unpredictable man of Welsh music, Gruff Rhys appeared live on stage with the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales to premiere his latest album, Babelsberg for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We also experimented with our own spaces, creating a unique gig venue on our main stage with the Donald Gordon Theatre as the backdrop and the audience at the heart of the action, for Ibibio Sound Machine and Charlotte Church’s curated event, Utopia.
We also featured some daring theatre productions too such as Highway One, Double Vision and Camille O’Sullivan’s Cave as well as Cary’s Eleri’s one-woman science-comedy-musical, Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff), which toured and visited the Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe – picking up a Best Cabaret Award.
Sadly the festival didn't take place in 2020 due to the uncertainty around hosting music events during the Coronavirus pandemic.
During the Coronavirus pandemic we joined forces with FOCUS Wales, Other Voices Cardigan and Aberystwyth Comedy Festival to produce a digital event called Gŵyl 2021 from 6 - 7 March 2021 with unforgettable music, comedy and conversation – filmed in locations across Wales and beyond and broadcast online by BBC Wales.
The festival returned in 4 - 7 November 2021 for four days of incredible live music, thought-provoking performance and inspirational talks including dancefloor favourites Hot Chip and Tricky, a Wales debut from Max Richter, rising talents Rachel Chinouriri and Biig Piig, Gruff Rhys, Arab Strap and a festival opening keynote address by the legendary Brian Eno.