MIR: Nocturne CF24

Lantern in hand I set off on a nocturnal arty-walk around the darkened streets of Cardiff in a celebration of local art and the night.


The big finish to this year’s community based arts festival ‘Made in Roath’ was the night-time art walk: ‘Nocturne in CF24’. The night can be eerie, beautiful and cosy, Nocturne would celebrate all those things about the night.


The brochure for this years Made in Roath describes the walk as: “a night-time art trail of sound and light based art-works, interventions and nocturnal happenings. Exploring the streets, alleys and green spaces of Roath and seeking out sights off the beaten track.”


Off the beaten track? Sounds perfect for Offbeat.

My lantern


I arrived to meet up with the nocturnal art-lovers of Roath outside the Globe. When I arrived I was handed a jam jar with a tea-light in it; a lamp to help guide me around the pokey alleys of Roath.


I was also given a badge to wear with a bird on it, a tie-in to the stuffed birds in the National Museum Wales which became a central part of this year’s festival.


As we set off with our bird badges, lit up by ghostly candlelight we looked distinctly like a cult moving thorough the streets of Cardiff.


Eventually we arrived in an alley on the back of Partridge Lane. At the far end of the alleyway a ghostly light could be glimpsed through the winter night. As we ventured into the alley we all stopped. The back-street had been divided up by criss-crosses of white tape. We stopped in front of the first one.


Still unsure of what the eerie figure was at the end of the alley we stood waiting. Then we heard a child’s voice echoing through the night. Quickly someone realised that the voice was coming from a tin can hanging off the edge of the wall. They picked up the can and spoke to the child at the other end of the line.


waiting in an alley, lit by candlelight

It soon became clear that we could walk down the alley. Slowly we began stepping over the white tape until we reached the far end. The figure at the end became clear to us.


Suspended across the lane was a little-girl. She just hung there and did not move. We were all simultaneously impressed with how still the little girl managed stay and on edge as to what might happen. It certainly looked very creepy.


One by one people dared to walk past the girl and she still did not move. We pressed on to the next installation.


A space inbetween

Around the corner we found a small gate in the side of the wall next to a church. Through this was an artist’s ongoing ‘workshop/installation.’


The work was ‘A Space in Between’ by David Shepard. The first thing that struck me was how hidden the work seemed. At first we were told by the artist as part of his work he moves objects to and from various spaces in the city to create constantly shifting and changing installations.


The work David had on display at Nocturne CF24 was a series of dust-bins in which he was burning expendable parts of his work; this is a part of his process.


Next to the vividly smoking and flaming dust-bins David was projecting a film onto the wall. The light from the projector illuminated the smoke rising from the dust-bins which looked incredible under the cover of darkness.


Whilst we waited to move onto the next location glow-sticks were handed out and people set to work making absurd hats, glowing chains and luminous flowers.


The next piece we arrived at was an intervention by local artists and residents at the MacintoshCommunityGardens.


We arrived outside the fence to the gardens and stood trying to peer through the bushes to see what was going on. All we could hear was the sounds of children laughing and birds tweeting.


Soon the word got round that this was an aural-intervention and everyone quietened down to listen.


The sounds of children playing and birds singing took on a haunting quality in the dark, being so used to hearing those sounds during the day.


Once we had moved on we arrived at the next location; outside the derelict ‘Spin Bowling Alley’ on City Road. There was a brief pause whilst candles were re-lit, glow-sticks played with and people chatted, getting to know one-another.


From across the road came a group of people all in dark clothing, they came and stood in front of the bowling alley and lined up. Then they began to sing.

Cor Cyfoes singing outside Spin Bowling Alley


The group were the Cardiff based choral society Cor Cyfoes. The choir performed ‘Sleep’ by Eric Whitacre as a requiem for the lost buildings of Cardiff.


The performance was absolutely stunning. The busy traffic, city lights and graffiti covered building added to the choirs beautiful performance.


After the Choir had finished the official walk was over but there was still plenty to see. I headed to St Martins Church on Albany Road to see some more of Cor Cyfoes.


The warmth of the Church was very inviting after the cold streets and I was greeted warmly by the vicar.


The choir performed Sleep again which sounded completely different with the Churches acoustics, then they performed the entirety of Gabriel Faure’s 1888 work ‘Requiem’ it was simply incredible.


Nocturne CF24 was an absolutely amazing event, I saw some back-alleys of Roath I had never strayed into before, some work by some fascinating artists and met some lovely people.


My night-time exploration into arty back-streets of Cardiff was a fantastic celebration of Cardiff, art and the night.


My full Made in Roath gallery can be found by clicking on this link.


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