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LOCKDOWN EVENTS: Music festival Immersed! returns virtually to support local talent

LOCKDOWN EVENTS: Music festival Immersed! returns virtually to support local talent

Image: University of South Wales

Immersed! 2021 will take place online from 29-31 January in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

A Cardiff music festival organised by students from the University of South Wales will return in January 2021 with a packed, three-day calendar of online events.

Immersed! 2021 will showcase some of South Wales’ best homegrown music talent. It also aims to raise awareness of diversity, while highlighting the challenges facing Wales’ live music venues in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. All profits from the event will be donated to the School’s long-term chosen charity Teenage Cancer Trust.

Welsh Music Prize winners including Adwaith, Bandicoot, and Otto, along with artists such as Mace the Great will perform on virtual stages, with the event designed to offer an immersive experience into the wealth of musical talent exploding in South Wales. In consultation with the Cardiff-based musicians, promoters and labels, organisers have endeavoured to showcase the area’s vibrant live music scene and celebrate every corner of its musical culture.

The diverse programme includes more female-led performances and presenters as well as representation from across ethnic groups and LGBTQ+ artists. Many of the performances showcasing at the festival feature music students from USW as well as several USW alumni. The festival will also feature interviews with bands, artists, promoters and producers, including a production masterclass and Q&A with drum & bass supremo High Contrast.

The event was founded three years ago and continues to be managed by students from the University of South Wales, who have worked with Cardiff-based musicians, promoters and labels to showcase the city’s vibrant live music scene. Last year Immersed! sold out at the Tramshed venue and raised thousands for Teenage Cancer Trust; the ambition for 2021 is to build on this success to promote more new music, more diversity and support causes that we are passionate about at this difficult time.

Gruff Owen, owner of the Welsh music label Libertino Records, said: “Libertino is really proud to have its own label stage at Immersed! 2021. 2020 was such a negative and devastating year for all the arts but especially the live music sector. Ending this year with the filming of our label day was a highlight and a beacon of hope to our artists and hopefully to those who will view the online incarnation of the festival. Better days will come and music is integral in lifting us up again.”

Along with promoting some of Cardiff’s best talent, Immersed! 2021 will also help to raise awareness of the #SaveOurVenues campaign, which aims to support more than 400 grassroots music venues across the UK under threat of closure.

Tramshed, the Cardiff-based music and arts venue where the festival’s performances will be filmed, will sponsor the #SaveOurVenues stage on Saturday and profits from merchandise sales will be donated to support this important cause.

Lecturer, David Coker said: “The pandemic-induced ‘new normal’ has endangered all things cultural, and whilst our plans have undoubtedly been affected, thankfully Immersed! 2021 is not one of them. With more bands, more ‘stages’, more venues, and more opportunities, this year’s event endeavours to support artists through the pandemic by reaching over forty thousand screens.”

Ben Calvert, University of South Wales Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “The festival is an expression of all that we hope students will achieve at USW. We try to dissolve the boundary between industry and our students, and this certainly gives them the opportunity to impact on their field supported by academics with experience of those industries."



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