One thing that South Wales is passionate about is music. Since I first moved here almost fifteen years ago, I’ve been fortunate to attend many gigs, concerts and impromtu jams. There are fantastic live music venues all over the place, from hidden corners of the city to country lanes in the valleys. They all have their own legends to tell, about now famous bands that were discovered playing in a back room and rock stars who still choose to hang out in a local pub when they’re in Wales.
A handy 20 minute walk from where I currently live in Cardiff is the Royal Oak pub on Broadway. Sunday night at the Royal Oak is Open Mic Night, when this traditional British boozer plays host to a talented bunch of singers and musicians consisting of all ages and different musical tastes.
Not only a great live music venue, the Royal Oak is also famous for it’s boxing gym on one of the upper floors. Whereas most pubs and clubs cover their walls with photos of musicians who have played there, the Oak is wallpapered with images of iconic boxers who trained above the bar whilst the locals supped their pints below.
What I love most about the Royal Oak is the atmosphere. You make friends from when you first walk in the door, and before you know it you’re singing along with everyone else. You might even find yourself with a tambourine in your hand.
For those of you that want to see some of Cardiff’s musical talent in action, but are unable to make it to South Wales, check out the video below which was shot in another local pub, The Roath Park: