FOCUS Wales Highlights Welsh Talent at SXSW

Aleighcia Scott

At 2024’s South by South West (SXSW) in Austin, Texas,  FOCUS Wales is poised to reveal an expertly curated showcase of top-tier Welsh talent, presented in collaboration with Wales Arts International, Creative Wales, and the Welsh Government. This biggest-ever Wales @ SXSW event is set to spotlight seven Welsh acts, including Gruff Rhys, Islet, HMS Morris, Lemfreck, Aleighcia Scott, Minas, and Otto Aday. It marks a pivotal moment in the extraordinary journey of FOCUS Wales and Welsh music, both on the domestic and international fronts, representing a new chapter in their success story.

Originally conceived as an annual showcase for the Welsh music industry, FOCUS Wales has undergone significant evolution, recently securing a coveted position in the Arts Council of Wales portfolio. The organisation’s commitment to international export initiatives and year-round activities has markedly broadened its influence, firmly establishing FOCUS Wales as a key player in shaping the nation’s cultural landscape.

The 2024 momentum began with a historic presence at the ESNS showcase, where FOCUS Wales showcased three exceptional Welsh artists, earning widespread media acclaim and reinforcing its unwavering dedication to elevating Welsh talent globally.

Building on this success, FOCUS Wales hosted the sold-out Trawsnewid:Transform festival in collaboration with Aberystwyth Arts Centre, featuring ground-breaking performances from outstanding Welsh artists like Gwenno, Gruff Rhys, Eadyth, Sage Todz. This commitment to pushing artistic boundaries was further reinforced with a St David’s Day London show, headlined by Adwaith and Melin Melyn, amplifying the organisation’s success in promoting Welsh music locally, nationally, and internationally.

Set to take place 9th -11th May in Wrexham, North Wales, FOCUS Wales’ core event boasts a remarkable lineup of 250+ artists, including established names like Spiritualized, The Mysterines, The Royston Club, Deerhoof, Snapped Ankles, Flamingods, Adwaith, and Antony Szmierek. The event stands as a pivotal platform for Welsh artists, proudly featuring the largest contingent at any festival, with a notable representation of Welsh language artists.

Expanding its international reach, FOCUS Wales brings together artists from five continents and over two dozen countries, showcasing an eclectic tapestry of sound. From Australia to the Balearics, Basque Country to Canada, Catalonia to Denmark, FOCUS Wales remains dedicated to promoting cultural diversity.

In 2024, the global spotlight on Wales continues, with FOCUS Wales promising an even more dynamic future, securing its position as a global force in promoting and shaping the future of Welsh music.