A packed September of high profile events supported by the Welsh Government, which aim to raise Wales’ profile as a premier destination for sporting and cultural events, will kick off on 2-4 September with the inaugural ‘Merthyr Rock’.
Merthyr Rock is funded under the Welsh Government's Major Events Strategy, and marks the culmination of Love the Valleys, Love The Summer, a packed programme of Valleys Heart and Soul events. The team responsible for Hay Festivals will work with the local community to bring an international-standard festival to Merthyr Tydfil.
Merthyr Rock is a new event which aims to grow to become a new signature event that will help to raise Wales’ international profile, attract large audiences from home and abroad and inspire and engage the local community. It will be an event that is affordable for all, involving all parts of the community and giving a boost to the local economy. Ocean Colour Scene will headline the event on Saturday 3 September with The Blackout headlining on Sunday evening. For more information visit www.hayfestival.com/merthyrrock
During the same weekend, the Red Bull Speed Jam will take place in Cardiff Bay where crowds of up to 25,000 are expected. The event involves a weekend of high-impact, high-profile displays including the Red Bull Formula 1 car and driver, Mark Webber, DanIel Ricciardo in the Red Bull Nascar, plus the amazing aerial acrobats of the Red Bull matadors, and a special motorbike display from world renowned stunt rider Chris Pfeiffer. The Event also plays host to the semi final and finals of Red Bull Kart Fight, a nationwide competition to find the UK’s best amateur karter. The Speed Jam is a red Bull signature event and was attracted to Wales in competition with Birmingham. More information on www.redbull.co.uk/cs/Satellite/en_UK/Speed-Jam/001242996821914
Pembrokeshire will play host to IRONMAN on 11 September. The event, which forms part of a well established global series, will help to raise the international profile of Wales and Pembrokeshire as a major events destination and as a great place to visit. The event will provide a huge boost for the local tourism industry and a high profile platform for encouraging healthier lifestyles. More information available on www.ironmanwales.com
After the successful return of The Tour of Britain last year, the event returns to Wales this year. Stage Four of The Tour of Britain cycle race, aptly named the castle-to-castle stage, will be starting at Powis Castle, Welshpool on Wednesday 14 September and will travel the length of the county before finishing outside Caerphilly Castle. More information on the route available on www.tourofbritain.com
Another sporting first will take place in North Wales from 23-25 September with the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Running Championships. This will be the highest profile international athletics event staged in Wales since the athletics component of the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.
The event will be hosted in three spectacular North West Wales locations - Llandudno, Llanberis (Snowdon) and Newborough Forest, Anglesey. The combined events of mountain races (Up & Down), ultra-distance races (24 hour endurance event) and trail running (50+km off road) for both men and women will produce a long weekend international festival of running. More information on www.cumbriacommonwealthchampionships.org/CommonwealthChampionshipsNorthWales2011.htm
First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said: “These events show the calibre of events that Wales is capable of hosting and are examples of how the nation is really making its mark as an outstanding destination for a wide range of major international events. The Welsh Government’s Major Events Strategy is enabling us to develop a sustainable portfolio of world class events which will raise international recognition and reputation of Wales and provide high quality experiences for Welsh audiences and spectators ”