“Something’s Happening” were the words that summed up the occasion. An ineffable feeling that could not be expressed in any specific terms, but only sensed in the moment. Well over a thousand people crammed into the Tramshed to listen to a veritable feast of artists singing under the banners #yesismore and #gellirgwell – urging people to talk Welsh independence.
And talk they did; from the moment you stepped off the street and into this momentary island of humdrum anarchy it was impossible not to get swept away by a feeling of excitement, and the tantalizing thought of what might be. And what was most striking was the range of the voices, accents and imagary; this was not Welsh independence as you might imagine it.
It’s hard to conceive of a night that could pull together the creative talents of Los Blancos, GLC, Boy Azooga, Astroid Boys, Gwenno, Gruff Rhys, Cian Ciaran and Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon, as well as poets Patrick Jones, Ali Zay and Evrah Rose, and for it to happen in the cause of IndyWales was of course replete with symbolism – for it is this sort of co-operation, this sort of creativity, this sort of pooling of talents that we need to think in terms of, if we are to take Wales in the right direction.
The discussion had actually began well in advance of the night itself, and the sense that something was happening was felt in the clamour for tickets beforehand. There was even talk that Charlotte Church’s mum could not get hold of a ticket.
There is a need, of course, not to get carried away with the events of the night. After all, it’s an open question the extent to which all those in the audience were there to really support, or even think about Welsh independence – and how many will have left thinking that it’s time for them to consider it for real.
However, there’s no getting away from how powerful it is to see icons like Charlotte Church stand and deliver on how vital it is for us to question the political structures that are binding us in more and more destructive ways.
For these are the people who place a mirror before us and help to define the reflection that we see. In them we see our hopes and dreams and it is in them that our perception of ourselves is perpetually reformed.
This is all the more powerful in an age where the majority of politicians have become morally bankrupt and have ceased to play that role in any way; we see distant figures revolving in their own orbit dettached from the realities of our day to day lives. Moreover, we see a class of people who no longer seem to be able to offer us answers in any convincing or powerful ways.
And that is why, as much as political change, we need a cultural shift, where it those who still have the power and boldness to imagine a different reality – our singers, our poets, our writers – that help to lead the way.
Last night, standing in thrall of our leading musicians, amongst a hoard of people who one would never have suspected might come together for a night like this, it was difficult not to feel that the change is on the way.