Writer, broadcaster, and BBC 6 Music presenter Stuart Maconie has spoken to Headliner about the upcoming 6 Music Festival, taking place across Cardiff from April 1-3, as well as some of his personal highlights from the station’s 20 years to date.
Returning for the first time since 2020, this year’s 6 Music Festival will feature live performances, DJ sets, ‘In Conversations’ and more across a variety of the city’s venues, including St David’s Hall, The Great Hall and Y Plas in Cardiff University Students’ Union and Tramshed.
The 2022 line-up includes Little Simz, Khruangbin, Father John Misty & members of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, IDLES, Bloc Party, Johnny Marr, Pixies, audiobooks, beabadoobee, Big Joanie, Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, Cat Power, Curtis Harding, David Holmes, Deyah, Elkka, Emma-Jean Thackray, Ezra Collective, Georgia Ruth, Green Gartside, Gruff Rhys, Gwenno, H. Hawkline, Ibeyi, Ibibio Sound Machine, Lucy Dacus, Mykki Blanco, Obonjayar, Orlando Weeks, OVERMONO, Porij, Self Esteem, Sherelle, Sports Team, The Bug Club, The Mysterines, Wet Leg and more, with some surprise guests still to be announced.
Samantha Moy, head of BBC Radio 6 Music, says: “After two years, it feels very special to say that the 6 Music Festival is back with a bang in Cardiff. This is a city which has always had a thriving music scene and I can’t wait to bring the 6 Music family, of both presenters and listeners, together for the magic of the 6 Music Festival.”
Earlier this month, 6 Music also celebrated its 20th anniversary, having become the most listened to digital radio station in the UK since its launch.
Here, Maconie tells us what he’s looking forward to about this year’s festival and why the role of radio in the streaming age is still as important as ever…
Congratulation on 20 years of 6 Music. How does it feel to reach such a milestone?
It’s remarkable. It had one major blip 10 years ago, but in some ways that has only made it stronger because, without getting into the ins and outs of its possible closure at the time, the outpouring of love for it and the focusing of the people within and without 6 Music clarified the mind about what it was. When it began, the idea was that all the BBC networks would have sister stations. So, Radio 1 would have 1Xtra for a more urban sound and Radio 4 would have ‘4Xtra’. The thinking was that Radio 2’s sister would not be ‘2Xtra’ but would be 6 Music. It was going to be the hipper end of the Radio 2 spectrum. But quickly, and especially after the threat of closure, it became apparent that it isn’t that and it shouldn’t be that.
Ultimately, it’s a station for people who continue to be excited and interested in music, new or old. I always say on my Freak Zone show that new music is just music you haven’t heard before. So while I appreciate the fact there is a very strong drive on finding new British music, which is great, I also think I’m doing my job if I turn people onto older music they might never have heard before, whether it’s Turkish psych or English folk or Japanese jazz.