Focus Wales brought thousands of music, comedy and industry fans to Wrexham to bring this years round of acts to its audience.
With the variety of the line-up I was eager to set out and capture the 3 day antics and see what the festival had to offer.
The festival takes place in the town centre of Wrexham, North Wales and includes many venues of all different sizes and atmospheres which created a great environment for the arts and is easily accessible to everyone whether travelling local or further afield.
I managed to attend at least one show at nearly all of the venues over the 3 days and found all venues I attended suited what was being showcased to the crowd. The unity of bringing the arts together in small and large venues was a great experience as I got to see acts I wouldn't usually but will be again after the weekend. It opened me up to genres of music I had previously neglected and now I will be diving into again.
Day 1 of the festival started for me with the Astroid Boys headline show at Central Station where I also caught Modern King and HABITS, who were the perfect supports for the show which was the biggest of all of the shows I saw and created a huge start to the festivities for me. Modern King gave us a set of hard rock which brought in an early crowd to the venue as they kicked things off. The two piece brought the noise of a full band and more as they showed us what they have to offer. HABITS were loud, passionate and lead singer Sam engaged with the crowd whilst placing himself off the stage and straight in front of the audience to perform. Next up, the main act of the night, Friday headliners were Astroid Boys who bought in a stage to door full crowd of energetic fans who were chanting and singing along with them.
Day 2 was full of variety from the start. The day began with a conference for music industry people and artists about contracts. This was very informative and the speaker being from legendary rock band The Damned gave useful tips on how to achieve the best deal when getting a contract from a recording company. To accompany the talk was music by acoustic singer/songwriter Lizzy Farrall who after recently releasing her first single sang songs from her eagerly anticipated EP, which is being released with Pure Noise records. The set was a perfect interlude before I went on to see a few spoken word artists over at Old Bar No 7, which included Stephanie Finnigan-Jones and Tim Jones. They passionately put their thoughts into words and expressed them to the crowd. Lucid joined after and performed his beat boxing routine to the small intimate crowd of the bar and everyone there seemed to really enjoy what was put in front of them.
After the small chilled environment of the bar, I went to St Giles Church to watch recent The Voice runners up Into The Ark perform their original songs for a packed out crowd at the Church. The pews were fitted in and the crowd all sat down row by row. After each song, the audience came to their feet to applaud the band, who gave a beautiful performance of laid back, feel good songs with catchy choruses and melodies to sing along too. The crowd were at silent when the band were performing and this created a respectful and pleasant atmosphere. It felt they were listening to every word and were focuses on the performance.
After their set I went back to old bar No7 to see singer/ songwriter Lizzy Farrall who is a close friend of mine perform with her two guitarists Ianto and Ryan. She managed to fill the venue and created a relaxed and chilled environment to enjoy her cleverly written and beautifully sung songs of experiences throughout her life. I have had the pleasure of seeing her performance and confidence grow on the stage and she is a delight to watch. She sang songs that will be on her upcoming EP which I am very much looking forward to as they have been recorded with a full band which enhanced the performance further. The stand out song for me was 'Pack Of Wolves' which has a catchy chorus which I was singing along to. Lizzy was the stand out performer for me as she gets better and better each time I see her. Lizzy will be supporting Gnarwolves with a full band in Chester Live Rooms in July.
Be sure to check her out, you won't be disappointed.
Day 3 of Focus Wales brought a headline slot for Lucy Spraggan at the Centenary Club next to Wrexham football ground. Lucy was accompanied by 3 supports which were Alx Green, Connor Evans and previous tour supports The Dunwells. The first two acts were both solo acoustic. They opened up the night in a great way and the crowd got down early for them which was lovely to see. The Dunwells are usually a Pop/Rock band of 4 but for the night it was brothers David and Joseph Dunwell who came along. Both playing the guitar and singing they were a great warm up act for Lucy.
Lucy came to the stage with an outburst of cheer from the dedicated crowd, she played songs old and new and even fan favourite which become well known from her appearing on the X Factor with the track 'Tea and Toast'. Through out the intimate show Lucy was engaging with the crowd and they responded in a great way to her. Overall the last day of the festival was a success and I'll be sure to return to this wonderful festival again.
Modern King // HABITS // Astroid Boys // Lizzy Farrall // Stephanie Finnigan-Jones // Tim Jones // Lucid // Campfire Social // Into The Ark // Alx Green // Connor Evans // The Dunwells // Lucy Spraggan
Photos & Review - Jess Jones Photography