John Howes has had a long involvement with traditional folk and roots-based music.

He has promoted music at various levels; organising clubs, concerts and festivals. He has played in a number of bands and represented Wales at Inter-Celtic Festivals in Brittany, Spain and Galicia as well as playing at many folk clubs and festivals in Britain, recording and appearing on TV and radio. 

An interest in song writing has led to a long time partnership with the Pontardawe based writer and poet Brian Smith which has produced a number of song and poetry-based performances, including, Vagabonds in the Earth a historical song/narrative review about the life and times of Elizabethan musicians, players and actors.

More recently, in 2009, he researched, wrote, directed and performed the music for TAN Dance’s stage production of Oyster Bay which told the story of the once famous Oyster Fishery of Swansea Bay, Mumbles and the Gower Coast. In 2011, together with fellow musician Huw Jones, underscored and played the music for the first act of Michael Sheen’s Port Talbot Passion. Currently they are working with the story teller, Owen Staton, developing a production of themed songs and stories.
For the last thirty years John Howes has lived on the Gwrhyd Mountain just northwest of Pontardawe in the upper Swansea Valley combining a career as artist, designer, lecturer, musician and farmer.


He was responsible for establishing and directing the Fine Art programme at what was Swansea Institute of Higher Education, now Swansea Metropolitan University.


He has always taken a keen interest in the promotion and development of the visual arts and has been involved with a number of initiatives involving artist groups and agencies nationally and internationally.


He has been a trustee with Cywaith Cymru . Artworks Wales, the national body for public art and residencies in Wales and a National Advisor with the Arts Council of Wales, serving on the Creative Wales Award team and Artists Taking the Lead for the recent Cultural Olympics. An executive member of the Friends of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. For many years he has been involved with Sculpture Cymru, an artist led association of sculptors in Wales, serving as Chair and recently managing two of its major sculpture exhibitions – Ironstone (2010) and Castle: Sculptural Responses (2012) at Kidwelly Castle, West Wales