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FOCUS Wales heads to Wrexham with Spiritualized, The Mysterines and more

FOCUS Wales, the annual music festival and conference held in Wrexham, has announced its first wave of live acts for 2024, including Spiritualized, The Mysterines and Benefits.

This year’s event will be the 14th edition of the festival, and it will take place from May 9 to 11, and over 70 live acts have now been confirmed to appear. Tickets are available here.

Other names on the bill include Deerhoof, Skinny Pelembe, Snapped Ankles, Melin Melyn, Flamingods, The Royston Club and Adwaith.

FOCUS Wales claims to showcase more Welsh artists than any other regular event, and is sponsored by Creative Wales, a Welsh government agency that supports creative industries in Wales. Alongside the festival, it also hosts an extensive music industry conference, with organisations including PRS For Music, PRS Foundation, the British Council and the Musicians Union scheduled to participate.

Spiritualized’s most recent release was ‘Everything Was Beautiful’ in 2022, their ninth studio album. In a four-star review, NME wrote: “Etched from a series of early demos in 2014, Pierce’s latest symphonic offering finds the Spiritualized frontman experimenting with 16 different instruments alongside 30 musicians, including his daughter Poppy, long-time collaborator John Coxon, string, brass sections and choirs. The result is a densely orchestrated record that is as solid as it is sprawling.”

The Mysterines’ 2022 album ‘Reeling’ was named as one of the best debuts of 2022. In another four-star review, NME said: “After meeting the four-piece on home soil in early 2020, NME touted The Mysterines as a band “poised to be the nation’s next favourite rock gang”. ‘Reeling’ is an album that sees them grab that title – but it doesn’t sound like they ever had any other plan.”

Benefits, meanwhile, shared a powerful statement last November on the subject of the ongoing Israel-Palestine war. “History, and how it’s told, can play tricks. The situations and circumstances right now in Gaza, Yemen, the Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria (and everywhere else there’s conflict on the planet) are all different but the outcome of death, and specifically of non military death, is seemingly inevitable and eternal,” they wrote.

They continued: “Yet now we sit and watch innocent young bodies being dragged from obliterated buildings or lying bloodied on the floors of their homes on our flatscreen TVs. We switch over if it gets too much. We are lucky that we can look away and get some distance. Newsfeed ebbs and flows relentlessly, life shattering occurrences go up and down in importance depending on who’s in charge of the ranking. Who do you blame? Netanyahu? Hamas? Putin? Colonialism? Empire? Oil? Religion? Media? Western foreign policy? Where will peace come from.”

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