3pm Gates open
3.30pm Sweet Manics
3.50pm Jay Worley
4.10pm Tom Richards
4.50pm Sophie Evans
5.45pm Starboy Nathan
6.15pm Twenty Twenty
6.55pm Dione Bromfield
7.55pm The Wanted
To see the full line-up for the Sunday 24th July concert featuring Paul Potts, please
Due to the ‘ Big Weekend ‘ event taking place at the park over the weekend of July 23rd & 24tth , the parks opening times will be restricted between 8.30am and 10.30am on both days.
Christian Hanagan, Head of Strategy, Public Relations and Tourism at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “We are pleased to announce a support line up that once again proves Ponty’s Big Weekend – and Rhondda Cynon Taf – can attract world-class acts.
“The Saturday night event is shaping up to be a huge success, with a range of talented, contemporary artists to appeal to all ages and musical tastes.
“We are also busy working on the final line-up for the free, family Sunday event, which already has guests Paul Potts and our very own Sophie Evans confirmed.
“The Council and its partners, including promoters Orchard Entertainment Ltd and Costain, who are currently delivering a multi-million-pound regeneration of Pontypridd on our behalf, are delighted the weekend is once again shaping up to be a successful one.
“Thousands of people from across the UK are set to flock to Ponty’s Big Weekend to enjoy top-class musical acts as well as enjoy all that Pontypridd and the rest of the County Borough has to offer.”
Starboy Nathan is a British R&B singer, most famous for his Top 40 singles Come into My Room and Diamonds. Boy band Twenty Twenty are regular support for The Wanted, and have just released their album Small Talk.
Dionne Bromfield is a British Soul singer with a Motown style. She is the God Daughter of Amy Winehouse, and signed to Amy’s Lioness Records label. Dionne has appeared on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and hosts The Friday Download on CBBC. Her recent single Yeah Right is on her upcoming second album Good for the Soul.
Topping the bill on the Saturday night are The Wanted, the British-Irish pop boy band whose debut single All Time Low reached number one in the UK Singles Chart last summer. The song was nominated for Best British Single in this year’s Brit Awards, and with Gold Forever, the boys had the Official Comic Relief Single for Red Nose Day March 18.
If you haven’t already feasted your ears and eyes on the UK’s new boyband sensation, then you’re seriously missing out. Made up of five young (and undeniably attractive) lads, Jay McGuinness (20), Max George (21), Nathan Sykes (17), Siva Kaneswaran (21) and Tom Parker (22), The Wanted are already rivalling some of the biggest music acts around today.
In fact, their success has come so fast and huge that you’d be forgiven in thinking that perhaps they’d got here by winning a reality TV show or through supporting big artists on tour – in actual fact they have made their name the old fashioned way – through delivering a great record.
“Last year, we were doing pub gigs and never imagined we’d get to Number One,” smiles the very handsome Siva. His chiselled good looks bring out a beaming smile, showing just how proud he – and the rest of the band ¬- are with their new success. “We did this all off of our own back.”
So what is it about this band that has grabbed the nation’s attention? “Most boybands have very similar sounds,” explains Nathan. “We wanted to make ours different – not just from other groups, but each song unique too.” And combine that great music style with humble backgrounds and a down-to-earth approach and you can immediately see why people adore them.
It was last autumn that auditions began for this new band. Colin Barlow, President of Geffen Records [the man responsible for Take That’s spectacular comeback] was looking for five talented young lads who could create a huge buzz and shake up the charts. Together with the rest of his team they found the best men for the job – and they each have their own success stories to tell.
“Something or someone was looking out for me that day,” grins Bolton boy Tom (who insists his guitar is like his “best friend”). “I used to be in a choir and enjoyed singing. My mate took me to this – my first audition – and I got in!”
Whereas, Nathan (the youngest and the “cute one in the band” according to Tom) studied at the infamous Sylvia Young School and believes he was made to be on stage. “Singing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do – well that and being a footballer, but I was rubbish at that! But when I’m on stage, I feel really confident and comfortable.”
And then there’s Max – known as the cheeky one and according to Nathan (and many fans), “the heartthrob”. Max had already been a part of a band called Avenue and had made it to the Boot Camp stage of The X Factor. “I’ve wanted to be in a group for ages and I was only 16 when Avenue were on TV. From then on, I knew I wanted to sing.”
“I didn’t tell my family that I was going to this audition,” smiles a thoughtful Jay. His considerate nature comes through instantly – and it’s clear this chance to succeed means a lot to him. “I’d already been to a few auditions and I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Now they all know, they are really proud and just want me to be happy, safe and sorted.”
Finally, there’s Dublin-born Siva. A handsome model, whose twin brother actually auditioned for the band first but it was his modelling portfolio and cracking vocals that grabbed management’s attention. “Jay and I were the last two to get into the band,” he recalls. “They called up and asked me to audition. Now look at us – all good mates and living together.”
In less than a year, the boys have become closer than ever, have created their debut album and bagged themselves a number one single. “All Time Low was our baby and it did so well,” exclaims Jay. “Now I want everyone to hear what we’ve been working on since last December. I’m just so proud of it.”
And it was this obvious passion and determination that produced their self titled album, a 13 track CD. The boys began recording the album last December in London. They travelled to Copenhagen and Sweden to complete their work. “We’ve been really creative,” says Jay. “There’s a bit of rock, a dab of dance, some Indie, a little bit of R&B and some openly poppy pop.” There’s something for everyone. And it’s not just teen girls who will enjoy the lads’ music, the press have been behind The Wanted since they hit the radio playlists back in June, predicting big success for the boys. So far, so good.
But don’t just assume that this will be an album full of regular pop songs. The entire Wanted team have worked hard to make it different. So what has influenced this mix of new sounds? “This album comes from the heart from all of us,” explains Siva. We wanted heavy beats and ballads; edginess and pop; addictive and mellow. We’ve brought our own musical influences in – our favourite artists have helped us make this album.”
“I’m a huge Oasis and Stereophonics fan,” asserts Tom. “That’s why I love slightly rockier vibes on the tracks such as Say It On The Radio and the American vibes on Replace Your Heart.” Siva continues, “Max is a huge Elvis fan, so he’s brought a bit of that grandeur into it and Jay’s Indie favourites have been a huge part of us finding our own sound too.”
But it’s not just influences that have helped make this a fantastic album. A whole host of top music professionals signed up to work on it too. In fact Songwriter/Producer Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue) worked on a few songs – and he loved The Wanted so much that he has invited them to perform at his next high-profile bash.
“Working with Guy has been an absolute privilege,” beams Nathan. “He usually has some amazing acts playing at his parties, so being asked is such an honour”.
On top of that, the lads have welcomed the likes of Taio Cruz (who co-wrote Made), Cathy Dennis (who penned Replace Your Heart) and top writers and producer, Wayne Hector (JLS, Nadine Coyle) and Steve Mac (Westlife, Leona Lewis) to help them with their debut.
“We also became good friends Chris Young who produced Behind Bars,” adds Nathan. It’s a strong rock-pop track with an unmissable string intro, which all five band members have written themselves. “This one is a special one for us,” remarks Nathan proudly. “Chris did some great work on the backing and we have sole writing credits.”
“We really hope people love the album as much as we do,” muses Max. He might be the cheeky one but his soft side comes out when asked which track is his personal favourite. “It has to be Golden,” he replies. It’s got a lot of piano in there and the lyrics are all about the ups and downs of life and relationships.” He adds quietly, “I seem a bit soppy, don’t I?”
Jay, who prides himself as the dancer of the group, has something altogether different at the top of his list. “Say It On The Radio is the most dancey track,” he grins. “It’s proper funk, I love it.”
Tom, however, doesn’t need to think twice about his first choice. Let’s Get Ugly - as it’s “quite naughty in a subtle way,” he beams. So, Max isn’t the only cheeky one in the band then.
The fact is these fantastic boys are going to have a very busy year ahead. “I remember seeing stars out and about as a child and I’d go home and tell everyone who I’d seen,” tells a thoughtful Jay. “Now people do that when they see us. It’s incredible.”
And there’s no doubt The Wanted are in huge demand already – but they haven’t forgotten what got them here in the first place.
“It’s about our fans and our music,” explains Siva, diplomatically. We’re making a mark with our music and our fans are genuine, honest and it’s unbelievable, some of them even shake when they meet us. The fans mean so much.”
“The parties and the free drinks are also pretty good,” laughs Max. “But the buzz when you walk out on stage is different to anything you could imagine”.
“I just can’t believe this is happening to us,” considers Jay.
While Tom continues, “The fact is we’re just five normal lads who have been picked out of a regular background. We’re so lucky, it’s ridiculous.”
“It’s amazing. And our music will show off a whole different side to us,” finalises Nathan. “Oh and you know the warbling at the end of the tracks? That’s me. I’m good at that bit. Have a listen!”
2010 is most definitely the year of The Wanted. Nathan’s right, have a listen.
In the British music industry, Dionne Bromfield is working in a playing field of approximately one: herself.
British stars of her age – 13 on the release of her well-received debut covers set, freshly turned 15 with the presentation of her audacious second, self-written suite – are expected to dress angelically and sing choral numbers that have stood up to centuries of market research and recreate them, prompting a tear from wowed grandparents. They aren’t supposed to be channelling Lauryn Hill or Jazmine Sullivan, crafting perfectly adjudged, timeless soul melodies and lyrics to the gentle thunder of a hip-hop beat.
If America has a strict lineage of street soul superstars inaugurated from their infancy, from baby MJ right through to Willow Smith, the UK has none. ‘I don’t feel any pressure,’ says Dionne, sitting in her immaculately pressed red school blazer, hair tied back, satchel by her feet in her North London management office, ‘I just do what I do. I love this record so much. I loved the first one but that was a stepping stone. This is my baby. It comes directly from me.’
Dionne Bromfield came to the attention of the world’s media when she became the first signing to family friend and mentor Amy Winehouse’s record label Lioness. ‘Everyone told me I could sing from about the age of ten. My mum was always telling me. But I was so shy I didn’t believe them. And the more that people told me, the more I went into the background and the less likely I was to sing. But I was at home once and Amy was round and heard me and she said ‘girl, it’s true. You can.’ And that started something off in me. I started getting just that bit more confident.’
The head of her record label had suggested a second set of cover versions to establish Dionne before letting her cut loose with her own song-writing. ‘After the writing sessions had gone so well, it felt like the wrong thing to do.’ So she told him, too. And here we are. The first song that earmarked the sound of the record was the tornado-like blast of big soul emotion on The Sweetest Thing, one of many highlights on the record. ‘We knew we had my sound.’ It is a sound that fits perfectly into the catalogue of a new British soul tradition, of artists like Plan B and Paloma Faith that have contemporised their Motown leanings, freshly minting them for a brand new generation, yet harks back somewhere to the commercial Midas touch of peak-era Gabrielle.
Hailing from Essex and Cambridge, Twenty Twenty are lead singer and guitarist Sam Halliday, his brother bassist Jack Halliday and drummer Sonny Watson-Lang. The band formed in early 2009 after Sonny agreed to play drums with the Halliday brothers.
Since then the trio have steadily created an incredible buzz prior to their major label signing. Honing their craft playing live shows with the likes of JLS, McFly, Selena Gomez and The Sugababes and touring the UK on their own headline sold-out tours throughout 2010, they amassed a huge fan base along the way.
Now with major label support, Twenty Twenty released their new single ‘Love To Life’ on 3rd April followed by a mini album. Written by the band and produced by Julian Emery (McFly, Simple Plan, Lissie), ‘Love To Life’ is an infectious cocktail of rock and pop featuring an indelible melody, an anthemic sing-along chorus and soaring guitar riffs, while the lyrics reveal the excitement of feeling love for the first time. With a debut album scheduled for later this year and their own headline tour on the horizon, 2011 looks like being a very busy time for this talented trio.
Hot on the heels of smash-hit single, Diamonds, UK R&B star Starboy Nathan returns with another banger, Hangover, featuring top UK rapper, Wretch 32.
Hangover is an upbeat, R&B anthem, which fuses Starboy Nathan’s smooth vocals with a serious baseline and the signature lyrical word-play of Mr Wretch 32 – making this THE feel good song of the season.
Spending two years in the US writing and recording, his hard work is paying off. Since bursting back on the scene earlier this year with Diamonds, Starboy Nathan has been wowing audiences with his exciting live performances on tour as the main support act with super bands such as JLS, The Wanted and N-Dubz.
A self-confessed Twitter addict, Starboy has become a social media sensation and has seen his followers on Twitter and Facebook explode in the past six months, with his tweets regularly becoming the subject of a trending topic.
Starboy Nathan’s second album ‘3D-Determination, Dedication and Desire’ is the perfect display case for Starboy Nathan’s impressive singing and songwriting abilities and demonstrates just how much he has grown as an artist.
Hawthron High School product Tom Richards hails from Pontypridd. The talented singer who at just 17 years old has already featured on the X Factor where he made it to the judges’ houses. Since then Tom has been inundated with professional performance requests.
Tom as he started performing when he was chosen to play the lead role of Oliver in 2005 in a school production. From then he went on to play numerous lead roles in musicals such as Calamity Jane, Grease and Evita. Tom has also won a number of competitions including;
Senior 20th Century Song in the South Glamorgan Music Festival in 2009 and 2010 and South Glamorgan Music Festival’s Overall winner for Songs from the Shows.
Jay 18 from Rhydyfelin, Pontypridd first appeared on X Factor 2008 when he was just 15 where he reached the Bootcamp stage at the O2 Arena London, Even though Jay got accepted in final stage of Bootcamp, unfortunately Jay was told he was to young to progress at that time. Jay went on to enter Britain’s Got Talent where he impressed all the judges with his swing performance on Kings of Leon ‘Use Somebody’. Jay got as far as the semi finals and received huge plaudits from judges Simon Cowell, Michael McIntyre and David Hasslhoff.
Jay continued in TV, Film & Theatre, staring in Casualty, Dr Who, a staring role in a feature Film 'Viva Le France', Guest presenter on S4C's GwaithCatref, Retro, and Stwnch which are all popular welsh speaking children’s TV programmes. Jay is now preparing for the summer where he is leaving home for 6 weeks to be with the prestigious National Youth Theatre of Wales where he will perform in a 3 night theatre production which tours in September at Aberystwyth University, Mold Theatre and Chapter Theatre Cardiff.
From the heart of the valleys, Sweet Manics is a female fronted pop/rock band influenced by the likes of Kelly Clarkson. Robyn & Rachel, backed by either live band or backing tracks, provide attitude as well as strong vocals for a range of original songs and well known covers. In recent years the girls have taken part in the Make it Music project from which the music video for revenge pop anthem All That You Wanted was born. Dedicated to making their music heard, Sweet Manics make regular appearances around their hometown of the Rhondda and Cardiff and recently supported Scottish artist Sandi Thom at Ponty’s own Muni Arts Centre.