What is trac?
trac is Wales’ Folk Development organisation; it works to promote and develop the music and dance traditions of Wales, both within Wales and beyond.
Its focus is on celebrating Wales’ music and dance traditions, developing our performers from beginners to the international stage, stimulating interest, and making sure our traditional arts remain a relevant, core part of our vibrant cultural life and identity.
Why was it formed?
trac was formed out of a need to draw attention to, and provide a development focus for, Wales’ folk music and dance traditions, so that they might be supported and nurtured on a par with other classical and contemporary music and cultural genres. It was founded in 1997 by a group of folk musicians and supporters who shared a belief in the importance and value of our traditional culture, an awareness of its continuing relevance to the present, and a passion for sharing what music traditions have to offer.
What does it do?
trac generates opportunities and projects to educate and drive participation and familiarisation with Wales’ music traditions across communities and abilities. It also works to develop skill and talent and works to facilitate and introduce the very best exponents of the tradition on international platforms. In addition, trac actively advocates on behalf of the Tradition with public bodies and other organisations.
You’ll find trac’s team and projects in schools, community settings, on festival fields and at international showcase events, helping to ensure that the traditional arts of Wales continue to enrich lives regardless of age, background, race or language.
Who is it for?
trac works with those engaged with folk music, to develop the folk musicians and audiences of the future. We enjoy working with musicians, singers, dancers and audiences alike. If you’re interested in our folk arts, whatever your age or stage we have something to share with you. Take a look at our website which is rich in resources and information: www.trac.wales
How is it funded?
trac is mostly core funded by the Arts Council of Wales, granted annually and predicated on an agreed business plan. Our projects are often funded by the National Lottery, again applied for annually through ACW. In addition, as a registered charity, we fundraise for our projects and activities. This support comes in the form of partnerships that we create with like-minded organisations and from trusts and foundations. We also generate modest revenue streams from residential courses and workshops that we organise.
How can trac help me?
How we can help you depends on whether you’re a practitioner or a fan of Wales’ folk traditions, or indeed someone looking for information about this cultural sector, but we certainly have something to share with you. As a practitioner, we will have a range of resources, activities and training that you’ll find useful, ranging from music and skills to research and music business intelligence. As someone who simply enjoys folk music, we provide information about events, taster sessions, and interesting insights into the lives and work of our leading performers.
Our website is a great starting point. On it you’ll find a diary of folk events in Wales, films and information about our traditions, tradition bearers and leading exponents, forthcoming opportunities for professional artists, workshops and residential courses for those wanting to hone their skills and find a community of like minded folk enthusiasts. There’s also a tune a month to learn and lots more besides. See www.trac.wales for details.
Why does trac still need to exist?
Wales’ traditional arts are a foundation stone in our nation’s identity. Our music, song, cerdd dant, dance, and storytelling carry and express our distinctive history, languages, culture and way of life. These creative forms are an integral part of our culture, the values and emotions they express bind us together.
At trac, we’re passionate about renewing and reinvigorating these forms of expression, both to inspire our younger generations and honour the craft of our tradition bearers. Without support and stimulation, these more traditional forms loose out investment and focus to classical and contemporary forms of music making, and are in danger of becoming museum pieces rather than a living folk tradition which informs our contemporary culture and sense of identity.
Our folk music and dance traditions continue to delight and intrigue both at home and abroad. At trac, we advocate on behalf of the sector with Government and core agencies to keep our folk culture firmly on the agenda alongside other forms. We also support amateur and professional musicians as well as audiences regardless of age, language and race and across borders, to access, celebrate and share in the very best representation of our folk music culture and ensure it remains at the core of Wales’ cultural heart and soul.
How does it differ from Community Music Wales, Welsh Folk Song Society etc.?
trac engages and works in partnership on projects with many organisations involved in music making from amateur to professional levels, and with the range of specialist interest groups and societies which are part of the fabric of Wales’ folk scene. However, our focus is broader in terms of the folk arts and in terms of skill and career development of musicians and performers, and we have a strategic development role for the folk traditions of Wales as a whole, for which we are funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
While we are advocates of safeguarding the traditional folk forms, we also have a clear view to the future and actively encourage our young and emerging performers to develop the traditional forms to ensure that ours remains a living folk tradition.
Does trac offer grants to musicians?
We offer support, guidance and know how, but not direct funding. For showcase events, trac will select suitable performers and bid for funding to enable travel and presentation costs, but we do not give grants directly to performers. Likewise, our training programmes and residential courses are subsidised to ensure that they remain accessible.
The Arts Council has a number of grant schemes which may be of interest. Here’s a link to information: www.arts.wales/funding