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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Big names at free city festival
The Big Weekend
Organisers expect around 250,000 revellers to attend the Big Weekend
Rising Welsh music stars The Automatic and homecoming "Cool Cymru" queen Cerys Matthews will play the UK's biggest free outdoor festival this weekend.

The three-day Big Weekend in Cardiff will also feature performances from Welsh bands The Alarm and The Crimea.

Described as "one of the strongest line-ups for years", organisers expect around 250,000 over three days at the festival site at the civic centre.

Beginning on Friday, the Big Weekend also features an enormous fairground.

This year's music line-up has a stronger Welsh flavour than previous years with Welsh bands and artists playing every night.

'National following'

"We have had Welsh bands concentrated into just one night in the past," said a Cardiff Festival spokesman.

"But this year we've been able to spread them around because some, like Cerys Matthews, are well-established international artists in their own right.

"It's not always been possible to do this sort of thing in the past because in-demand bands have very busy diaries.

"But we're absolutely delighted to have secured The Alarm for our Friday night headlining slot, The Crimea and The Automatic for Saturday and Cerys for Sunday."

The Automatic
7.30-8.10pm The Selector
8.35-9.15pm Katrina (of Katrina and the Waves)
9.40-10.40pm The Alarm
2-4pm - The Poppies, Daisy Blue and Alongcameman
4.30-5.15pm - Cord
5.45-6.30pm - The Crimea
7-7.45pm - The Infadels
8.15-9pm - The Automatic
9.30-10.30pm Kubb
2-2.40pm - Unkle Bob
3.05-3.50pm - Mukka
4.20-5pm - Foy Vance
5.30-6.20pm - Los Pacaminos
6.50-7.40pm - Terri Walker
8.10-9.10pm - Stereo MCs
9.40-10.40pm - Cerys Matthews

NME favourites The Automatic, who are originally from Cowbridge, were booked as Saturday's second headliners to the band Kubb back in May.

They have since found chart success with both their single Monster and their debut album Not Accepted Anywhere.

"It has worked out really well for the Big Weekend, " said the spokesman.

"The Automatic have a large local, and now a national following, and this will give music fans the opportunity to see one of the bands of the moment play in an excellent open air setting, completely free."

Cerys Matthews' performance is the latest date in a UK tour that is receiving rave reviews.

Her new single Open Roads is released the day after the Big Weekend, and an album, Never Said Goodbye follows later in the month.

Councillor Nigel Howells, Cardiff council's executive member for sport, leisure and culture said: "This year's Admiral Cardiff Big Weekend has one of the strongest line-ups for years.

"The many local fans of Cerys Matthews will have the opportunity to see the international star return to play live in the open air, and the programme is full of quality and home grown talent."

The Big Weekend is the traditional finale to the six-week long Cardiff Festival.

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