Future Yard

To most outsiders Birkenhead is a place to go through or round on the way to somewhere else - which makes the ambition to fashion the town into a 'musical playground' for a new high profile festival this August bank holiday even more impressive.

The omens for the event, Future Yard, are exceptional; if you are looking for a compelling musical smorgasboard in a novel setting, its first edition has everything covered.

There's an eclectic set of venues commandeered for the weekend - including the Victorian magnificence of Birkenhead Town Hall, the grounds of the 850-year-old Birkenhead Priory, and the Bloom Building.

There is a masterfully curated programme - from the headliners Bill Ryder-Jones, Anna Calvi and Stella Donnelly, down to the detail of the lowest names on the bill.

And there is an aim and ethos holding the whole thing together - energising a town through music - so every element has the feel of having been sympathetically crafted.

Wales' strength in wierded melancholic pop, electronica, experimental music and psychedelia fits well with the event's sensibility, and there is a strong Welsh contingent crossing the border to perform - Gintis, Meilir, Audiobooks, Ani Glass and HMS Morris join Donnelly (who is originally from Morriston but was raised in Australia) in the final line up.

The rest of the stage time is finely balanced between international, national and local acts - offering two days of sonic exploration and immersion as Birkenhead finds the creative kinetic spirit to redefine itself as a place to be, not to pass-on-by.