What is the Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians?

ABERTAWE FESTIVAL for YOUNG MUSICIANS is a member of  The British and International Federation of Festivals of Music, Dance and Drama, of which Her Majesty the Queen is Patron


The ‘AFYM’ exists to improve and widen music education, and to provide performance opportunities and support in general for young musicians across the region. It is run by an honorary committee and supported by a host of volunteer stewards.


AFYM is an annual event comprising of competitive and non-competitive classes in Piano, Strings, Woodwind and Ensemble sections. We hold a Primary Schools Day including school ensembles, recorder solos, as well as duet and group classes.


There are classes for all ages and all abilities. Informal workshops are held throughout the six days of the festival which is held in three glorious venues at the Guildhall, Grand Theatre, Swansea and All Souls Church, Tycoch.


BBC NOW run workshop days here at the festival and the lucky AFYM students have the opportunity to attend a BBC NOW concert for which the tickets are sponsored by the BBC NOW Education Department. The City and County of Swansea also help with the smooth running of the festival along with students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama who do placements with us during the festival as well as Swansea Metropoliton University.


When finances permit the AFYM offers Bursary Awards, either to individuals or to schools. Awards have been given to: Blaen y Maes Primary School to purchase instruments, Clase Primary School to buy guitars. To individual students to help with; The purchase of a piano stool, the purchase of a flute/alto flute, summer school fees,  as well as youth orchestra fees.



The AFYM was founded in 1993 by two local music teachers Nicky Excell and Penny Davies. They had a vision to improve and widen music education for all children, providing support and performance opportunities for these ever growing musicians. Featuring competitive and non-competitive classes for players of instruments both as soloists and ensembles, the first Festival took place in the Taliesin Arts Centre and involved 70 children. With adjudicators being drawn from the nation’s top performers and music educators the festival has grown in strength and numbers over the years with thousands of children participating in the AFYM. Performers are invited to come from all over South Wales, including Haverfordwest to Newport, Hereford to Peterborough and sometimes all the way from London. Since the festival has grown, so has the space in which it is performed in. We have made use of the Guildhall complex, using their stunning facilities at the Brangwyn Hall for numerous years and we are ever grateful to the City and County of Swansea for the continued use of such a beautiful building.


Each year the Festival hosts a Masterclass with one of our nation’s top performers offering all performers the chance to take up this wonderful opportunity to advance their skills. Workshops have included international saxophonist Gerard McChrystal delivering workshops for saxophone players culminating in a group performance in the Brangwyn Hall. Our reoccurring successful partnership with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales who hold string workshop during the festival.  We have had Harp Workshop with Valerie Aldrich-Smith, workshops with Paul Harris where participants had the opportunity to Paul Harris compositions with the composers own workshop feedback, Composition workshops with Pam Wedgwood and orchestral workshops with Peter Fielding,  and not forgetting woodwind workshops with Neil Crossley.


AFYM students have gone on to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College (London), Royal Northern College of Music, Yehudi Menhuin School, Purcell School, Chethams Music school, Wells Music School. Some have gone on to study abroad, notably in Hungary, and some have even gained orchestral positions. Our performers regularly gain prizes at the Eisteddfod, in the BBC Young Musician of the Year, The Texaco Young Musician of Wales, and in the Young Musician of Dyfed Competitions.

Three AFYM alumnae have held the post of Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales: Claire Jones (2007-11), Hannah Stone (2011 -15) and Anne Denholm (2015-19). Also Huw Morgan, an ex AFYM trumpet performer won the Royal Overseas League Competition.

2022 Festival Committee

Pam Wedgwood
Pam WedgwoodAFYM President
Penny Davies
Penny DaviesChairperson
Ann Brown
Ann BrownVice Chair
Helen Turbervill
Helen TurbervillVice Chair
Caroline Johnson
Caroline JohnsonTreasurer and Entries Secretary
Margaret Denholm
Margaret DenholmConcert Secretary
Sonia Gittoes
Sonia GittoesSponsorship Secretary
Michael Turbervill
Michael TurbervillPatrons Secretary
Dave Xerri
Dave XerriRota Secretary
Mike Johnson
Mike JohnsonWebsite Manager

The AFYM committee is enormously indebted to those members who have served the Festival in previous years and are now stepping down, in particular Phyll Barclay, Colin Fielder, David and Diane Workman, Carl Johnson – and Rhian Workman who is on maternity leave this year.  We thank them for making the Festival such a success.  It is with great pleasure that we are able to introduce new members to the 2022 Festival Committee: we welcome the talents, capability and competence of Helen and Michael Turbervill, Dave Xerri – and Mike Johnson who will manage the website.

Contact information for 2022 Festival Committee members:

PennyDavies@AFYM.org.uk   |   MargaretDenholm@AFYM.org.uk   |   AnnBrown@AFYM.org.uk   |   SoniaGittoes@AFYM.org.uk   |   CarolineJohnson@afym.org.uk   |   HelenTurbervill@AFYM.org.uk   |   MichaelTurbervill@AFYM.org.uk   |   DaveXerri@AFYM.org.uk   |   Admin@AFYM.org.uk