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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.

Take a look at some of the amazing artists who have performed here over the years.


Our first festival ran from 3 – 12 June, 2016 across multiple venues in Cardiff with an amazing line-up along with plenty of great moments including Van Morrison’s performance with Bryn TerfelCharlotte Church's theatrical production, The Last Mermaid and a brand-new play, Before I Leave - featuring new music from Manic Street Preachers.

Rufus WainwrightRonnie SpectorBen FoldsScritti Politti, Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip, Candi Staton plus many more, made this a truly memorable festival and became the catalyst for more to come. Full line-up here.


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.

The legendary Patti Smith packed out a 200 seater church for an intimate poetry reading and later performed to a sell-out crowd in our main theatre, where music icon, Elvis Costello headlined.

Billy Bragg and Nadine Shah teamed up for a Voices of Protest gig while Laura Marling rocked out with Mike Lindsay in their collaborative band, LUMP.

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.

And featured some daring theatre productions such as Highway OneDouble 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. Full line-up here.


Sadly the festival didn't take place in 2020 due to the uncertainty around hosting music events during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Gwyl 2021

During the Coronavirus pandemic we joined forces with FOCUS WalesOther 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. Full line-up here.



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. Full line-up here.


From 26 - 30 October our 2022 festival returned under a new name, Llais, featuring performances from the likes of John Cale, black midi, Cate Le Bon, Midlake, Pussy Riot + more as well as a whole host of immersive experiences, talks and exhibitions. See the full line up.

Co-curated by Mercury Prize nominated Welsh artist Gwenno, the festival once again celebrated the power of the voice with performances from Bat For Lashes, Richard Dawson, The Staves, Mariza plus a celebration of the work of Joni Mitchell with Both Sides Now. Explore the 2023 festival.