Review: X Music Festival, Cardiff 2016


On June 3rd and 4th, X Music Festival, or ‘X Fest’ as it is known amongst the locals, infused the usually-serene Bute Park with an epic party atmosphere. While it’s not that local to Abergavenny, X Music Festival were kind enough to invite me, so I popped down to Cardiff to check it out.

Bringing some of the biggest dance acts into Cardiff, the festival, in its second year, claims to be the biggest music event in Wales. Some of the headline acts included Annie Mac, Craig David’s TS5, Stormzy, Flume, and Snakehips, so dance music fans will know that their claim is fairly substantiated!


One of the first things I noticed was that the festival had introduced a cashless system for the event – issuing all festival-goers with a wristband, which could be topped up with cash or card. There was a small charge with the initial top up, which perhaps could be absorbed in the ticket price future events, seeing as all outlets only accepted the wristbands as payment. However, it definitely did save time while buying food and drink, and having your purse attached to your wrist means you’re less likely to lose your change while you’re twerking in the main tent.


While there was plenty going on in the ’X Main Arena’, as well as the ‘Big Top: Lunacy’ tent and the ‘Outdoor Stage: Faux Pas’, the VIP woods made for a nice, shady getaway from the crowd, and there were some decent tunes being spun by the DJs in there. Overall the vibe was much more chilled in VIP, with giant bean bags, a cocktail bar (however, all cocktails were also available around the non-VIP areas of the festival), upgraded loos, and a BBQ foodtruck, amongst other stuff.

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I was much too scared to go on any of the fairground rides that were there over the weekend, although headliner Flume was spotted on one.

There was a fair bit of choice with the food available, even though I went for the classic festival (and post-night-out) meal of cheese and chips. The ‘festival prices’ made me wince a bit too, but it wasn’t too eye-watering. The wristbands saved time at the bars & food outlets, so queues were never too long.

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As for music, I only really wanted to see Flume and Annie Mac, which I did, and both were pretty fantastic. Flume was probably the highlight of the weekend, with his edgy-but-crowdpleasing smooth electro. I’ve been a fan for a long time and he did not disappoint.

Annie Mac’s staging and lighting was particularly great – the tent completely lit up, both figuratively and literally.

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I caught a particularly good dance set on the outdoor stage as I was leaving on Friday night. I actually stopped to have a dance – whoever it was (Rich Tea? Kideko?), it was real blistering electronica that got the small crowd pumped up.

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Saturday was cloudier, but no less hyped. Stormzy and Snakehips took the main stage, as different as they are (grime and slinky dancepop, respectively). An excellent time was had in VIP thanks to the (again, unidentifiable) DJs (possibly Bump n Grind?) who played classic hip hop and RnB bangers as the sun went down.

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If you’re a dance music fan living in South Wales, X Music Festival is a pretty good weekend. They definitely got lucky with the weather, and the lineup rivals bigger, older festivals. It is usually scheduled for early June, so keep an eye on their social media for more information in the coming months.


About Author

Author for Abergavenny Now. I’m an English Language graduate, a music lover and arts enthusiast. Excellent at pub quizzes and karaoke.

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