As the South-Wales economy becomes increasingly dependent on Cardiff and the sprawling Cardiff ‘City Region’ concept, towns in the Valleys face an uncertain future.

With a rapidly improving infrastructure in place to accelerate the Cardiff commute and the 2014 EUROSTATS declaring the Valleys one of the top 5 poorest performing economic regions in Europe, rarely in a proud, robust and often self-sustaining history has the area felt so fragile and so perilously close to losing its unique identity and rich history.

Back for its fourth year, Velvet Coalmine aims to inject inspiration into the Blackwood area and its schools via the arts and provide a platform for our voices to be heard and our stories to be told without censorship and without agenda. It allows local artists to perform alongside more established stars and encourages expression and creativity for all ages across a variety of art-forms.