With the season of music festivals fast approaching, Wales Millennium Centre kicks off the season with their annual folk festival Calan Mai.  Across four days, this festival offers up live music from some of the best folk artists from Wales and beyond, sessions and dancing for the bank holiday weekend 1 – 4 May 2015.

Celebrations begin on the Friday night [1 May] with a folk music session at The Old Market Tavern in Cardiff City Centre.  Bring your instrument, grab yourself a drink, sit back and enjoy the music (free and open to all).

Saturday [2 May] sees the free performance stage get underway at Wales Millennium Centre with Welsh artists Gareth Bonello, Gwyneth Glyn, Richard James and the Rag Foundation.  Families can try their hand at making an instrument and join the dancing in the Twmpath Dawns (the Welsh equivalent of the Gaelic Ceilidh). A highlight for Sunday [3 May] will be Patagonian folk singer René Griffiths who showcases music from our South American compatriots, celebrating 150 years of the Welsh settlement across the Atlantic. Joining Rene will be Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, Dylan Fowler, Edward Jay, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, Robin Huw Bowen and Triawd.

Amongst a packed weekend of free activities, workshops and performances, witness six of the finest young folk musicians from Wales and England come together to explore and celebrate the shared history and culture of the two nations inBeyond the Marches: The Folk Songs of Wales and England [Sunday 3 May]  at BBC Hoddinott Hall . A joint commission between trac: Music Traditions Wales and the English Folk Dance and Song Society, funded by PRSf, Beyond the Marches will feature Welsh artists Elan Rhys (from Plu), Patrick Rimes (from Calan) and Georgia Ruth Williams with rising English stars Archie Churchill-Moss, David Gibb and Lucy Ward. These six artists will collaborate on new interpretations of traditional music, woven together in their own unique styles.

In Wales, Calan Mai (or Calan Haf) is known as the first day of May. According to the Celtic calendar it is considered to be the start of summer and historically was an important time for celebration and festivities in Wales.

Ahead of Calan Mai, Wales Millennium Centre welcomes BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards to Wales for the very first time. To mark this special event the Centre’s has teamed up with BBC Horizons to present some of the most exciting acts on the Welsh folk scene before and after the prestigious awards.

Calan Mai Folk Festival runs from 1-4 May 2015, with events at The Old Market Tavern, BBC Hoddinott Hall and Wales Millennium Centre. Calan Mai can be watched live online from 2-4 May via wmc.org.uk/connected.

Beyond the Marches: The Folk Songs of Wales and England is at the BBC Hoddinott Hall on Sunday 3 May 2015. Tickets £11.50 – £13.50. Age Guide: 5+ (No Under 2s).

Wales Millennium Centre and BBC Horizons present a program of free performances on the Glanfa Stage on 22 April as part of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.