As the Rugby World Cup prepares for kick-off in France, Welsh Government and its partners have teamed up with some of Wales’ finest artists, food and drink producers to showcase what Wales has to offer off-pitch. As part of the plans, Welsh legendary music venue Clwb Ifor Bach will take over Stereolux after Wales’ head-to-head with Georgia on 7 October.
A stellar line-up of Welsh and French performances will see Carmarthen rock band and twice winners of Welsh Music Prize, Adwaith, headline the event. Neath based rap-singer and songwriter, Luke RV, will also take to the stage with UKG heavyweight Local and North Wales’ Sage Todz.
With a view of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph, Adwaith and Cardiff rapper Mace the Great will warm up rugby fans with performances at the official Rugby Village on Place de la Concorde, in Paris.
In Paris and Lyon Rugby Villages, Osian Meilir’s contemporary dance performance Qwerin – a Welsh folk dance group which takes inspiration from Queer club culture – will entertain fans with showstopping performances. Sensational 2023 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, Jessica Robinson and Hafod Wennog Urdd Gobaith Cymru youth choir of 16 to 24-year-olds will also sing in Lyon as Wales play Australia.
The World Cup coincides with Wales in France, a year-long celebration of cultural, business and sporting events designed to strengthen existing links and forge new connections between the two countries.
Three Ministerial visits will bolster a programme of activity thanks to a collaborative effort between the Welsh Government, Food and Drink Wales, Cymraeg2050, Wales Arts International, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, S4C, the National Centre for Learning Welsh, Hybu Cig Cymru, Cardiff Council, and Clwb Ifor Bach.
With France and Wales sharing sister Celtic languages, Brezhoneg and Cymraeg, a tutor from the National Centre for Learning Welsh will provide Welsh language ‘taster’ sessions, while Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s ambassadors will introduce the vibrant Welsh language and culture through song and play to the children and young people of Nantes and Lyon.
In French gastro capital Lyon, an event to showcase Wales’ best food and drink produce delivered in partnership with Hybu Cig Cymru will follow Wales’ penultimate group match against Australia, before the competition heats up for the quarter finals.
France is now the number one importer of Welsh food and drink goods, valued at £150m. There are more than 80 French-owned businesses in Wales employing more than 10,000 people.
This cultural activity sits alongside business and political engagements to engage some of Wales’s major inward investors, strengthen economic collaboration in the decarbonisation and green energy spheres and undertake policy discussions on sustainability.
Looking forward to the tournament, First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Wales and France have a shared love of rugby, culture and history which are just some of the things we have in common as nations.
“We also share excellent business relations, which will only be strengthened by our collaborative touring showcase.
“”From music to our best Welsh food, we’ll be celebrating Wales both on and off the pitch during the tournament, and I welcome travelling fans and the people of France to enjoy our show-stopping itinerary.”
Deputy Minister for Arts Sport and Tourism Dawn Bowden said:
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with partners to deliver such an exciting showcase for Wales at the Rugby World Cup. This is an excellent platform for us to emphasise the valued connections between Wales and France and to also showcase our culture to the rest of the world – while we also wish our team every success in their efforts on the pitch. Pob lwc!”
Urdd CEO Siân Lewis said:
“Through our young ambassadors we will introduce the Welsh language and culture to audiences in Lyon, and through sport and play with the youth of Lorient and Nantes. We had an excellent response to our ‘Chwarae yn Gymraeg’ sessions in Doha and Dubai as part of Wales’ campaign during the 2022 World Cup, and again in Dublin as part of this year’s St David’s Day celebrations. We are proud to help support the Welsh Government’s work in raising Wales’ profile world-wide.”
Chair of Arts Council of Wales Maggie Russell said:
“Big sporting events like the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics offer exciting stages for artists from Wales to present their work to new audiences and to nurture new relationships with counterparts in France – and of course to raise the profile and the spirit of the Wales in France. Artists are great ambassadors for Wales and collectively we will promote our shared values of equality, diversity, language and inclusivity with our partners in France.”
Adam Williams, Head of Music, Clwb Ifor Bach said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Welsh Government, Cardiff Council and Nantes venue Stereolux to showcase some of the best emerging talent across Wales and France on October 7th. The event will be Clwb Ifor Bach’s first outside of the UK and represents the exciting beginning of our activity between the twinned cities.”
Geraint Evans S4C Director of Content and Publishing Strategy said:
“S4C will be broadcasting every Wales game live from the Rugby World Cup.
“For in-depth well-informed coverage of the tournament, by a passionate team which will have Wales at its heart, then S4C is the channel to watch.
“We’re looking forward to supporting Wales throughout the campaign.”
To keep up to date with Wales’ off-pitch offering in France throughout the Rugby World Cup tournament, please head to social media and follow #WalesinFrance.