Swansea may have needed a cwtch after losing out to Hull in the bid to become the City of Culture 2017. But Swansea shouldn’t be too disheartened at the result, we should still be proud of our thriving cultural scene.
This year has seen the continuing success of the Dylan Thomas Prize and Do Not Go Gentle Festival in Uplands. These events are leading up to a major cultural year for Swansea in 2014, The Dylan Thomas Centenary Festival. This plans to be a cultural feast of events throughout next year including recitals, plays, music and workshops.
There is no place better to experience local music than in Uplands, from a tentative teenager performing their first gig to the age-old band returning year after year to perform at their favourite venue. And there are many venues that host local talent, from Mozarts to Uplands Tavern.
Wine Bar, Noah’s Yard not only offers entertaining signs from its interchangeable letters (‘The Hangover’ anyone?) but also some of the finest Jazz Swansea has to offer.
Even in our own University, we are proud to showcase up and coming musical talent in our Open Mic nights in JCs.
It is well-known that Swansea inspired local poet Dylan Thomas and it continues to inspire new poets today. Only recently did a German poet comment that the city “often feels like the real centre of the universe.” Jorg Benig wrote his poem whilst visiting Swansea inspired by its landmarks and “wandering water far from the shore.”
Swansea’s campaign, ‘Cwtch’ the bid, was based on “the natural, exuberant expression of our day-to-day culture.” It’s not just local poetry and music that showcases Swansea.
Local culture thrives amongst the hustle and bustle of its indoor market in the city centre. Swansea’s food culture, especially its signature seafood, can be experienced. Every visitor to Swansea must try the best cockles in the country.
It’s not only in the energetic city centre where Swansea life and culture can be experienced. We have an area of outstanding natural beauty on our doorstep that has seen generations of families travelling from all parts of the UK to spend their summers here. The stunning coastlines of the Gower Peninsula are gems in Swansea’s heritage and landmarks.
Actor Michael Sheen, actress Catherine Zeta Jones, Dr Who writer, Russell T Davies and comedian, Rhod Gilbert, are but a few of the local famous voices that spoke up in support of the ‘Cwtch’ the bid campaign.
Michael Sheen has hosted major cultural events himself in the Swansea area in the past. He starred in the three-day play The Passion, which was performed across his hometown of Port Talbot in 2011.
Although Swansea may not have won the title of City of Culture, that doesn’t mean we are a city without culture at all. The ‘Cwtch’ the bid campaign has reminded Wales and the rest of the UK that Swansea should not be overlooked. Our culture not only stems from local music, poetry and art in the city, but also in the nooks and crannies of everyday life in Swansea. And it is a culture that will continue to thrive long after 2017 has come and gone.