Half a million 'music tourists' flocked to Wales last year

Sir Tom Jones and Stereophonics played two night at the Principality Stadium in June last year alongside fellow Welsh acts Feeder, Gruff Rhys and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Credit: PA Images

More than half a million fans came to Wales to see some of their favourite artists in 2022.

A new report from UK Music also reveals around 30,000 people travelled here from outside of the UK.

Wales has attracted some of the world's biggest stars with Welsh favourites Stereophonics headlining two nights at the iconic Principality Stadium. Sir Tom Jones joined Kelly Jones and co. for a rendition of their cover of Randy Newman's 'Mama Told Me Not to Come'.

Beyoncé kicked off a packed summer schedule at the Principality Stadium with two nights from her Renaissance tour Credit: Live Nation

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “Music is one of our great assets – not only is it vital to the economic success in Wales, but it also generates huge amounts of soft power and helps promote Wales across the globe."

While it'll be some time before we see the similar figures released for 2023, Wales has already welcomed some of the biggest stars in the world this year.

In May, Beyoncé brought her 'Renaissance World Tour' to the Principality Stadium with fans labelling her performance "mind-blowing".

It was Coldplay's turn in June, with fans praising Chris Martin and his band's two-night gig for showing 'respect for Welsh culture'.

Later in the month, fans defied pleas from stadium bosses as they camped out overnight to queue to see Harry Styles perform in Cardiff for the first time since leaving One Direction.

Lucie Bailey, 18, from Devon went to all the UK dates of the tour and has spent around £7,000 on tickets and travel. Speaking to ITV Wales while in the queue in Cardiff, Lucie said: "His concerts make you feel so safe and it's a place you can actually be yourself…there is no judgement, everyone is always really lovely.”

But it wasn't just UK-based fans who were eager to see 'Harry's House' as punters from the Netherlands and the United States also set up tents to be among the first into the Principality Stadium.

Next summer is already shaping up to be an exciting time for music fans in the Welsh capital as Taylor Swift brings her much-anticipated 'Eras' tour.

Taylor Swift is bringing emo-royalty Paramore along on her 'Eras' tour which stops off in Cardiff

Foo Fighters are also set to bring their live show to Cardiff next year.

While the Welsh capital has already pulled in some of the biggest names in music this year, other parts of Wales have had their share, like Wrexham hosting rock legends Kings of Leon for two nights at Racecourse Ground in May.

But not everyone has benefitted from the bumper crowd. ITV Wales has been told the 'grassroots ecosystem is collapsing'.

That comes from Aled Owens, Wales Coordinator for the Music Venue Trust who says "Every week, one grassroots music venue is closing across the UK. The tours are being cancelled and artists can’t afford to play.  The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining."

He added: "We need a financial contribution from every ticket for every major event to be making its way back into our communities to ensure that live music is accessible to everyone.

"There are clear signs that the success at the top of the industry is in stark contrast to the incredibly challenging conditions in the talent pipeline – particularly grassroots artists and venues."

Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, believes the report show how important it is that government at local, Welsh, and UK level, supports artists, venues and the music industry.

He said: “It’s not just Cardiff that benefits; there are venues and festivals across the land, including the much-loved Green Man Festival in mid-Wales.

Foo Fighters tickets were in so in demand that some fans received a message saying none were available minutes after they went on sale Credit: PA Images

“Over half a million music tourists come to Wales each year with 30,000 travelling from overseas. Welsh music tourism generates £218m annually for the economy, sustaining 2,470 in a variety of occupations.

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