The live music venues on Womanby Street, Cardiff are under threat. I didn’t realise until today that we are on such thin ice here. I thought it would have been nipped in the bud really quickly owing to it being so ridiculous. But no, property developers have actually put in planning applications to build flats and hotels right next to my beloved Clwb Ifor Bach and other live music venues. This comes straight off the back of Dempseys closing (which I blogged about last month). I could pretty much copy + paste most of what I wrote there regarding any messing with Womanby Street being bad news for culture, art and music. It would also bad for the health and wellbeing of people as Womanby Street is fun as f*ck and always has been since forever. The street is full of independent, alternative venues in a city full of tedious chain bars. Once again, this feels such a Cardiffy thing to happen and it echoes the closure of The Point in Cardiff Bay in 2009. One noise complaint and boom, it’s all over.
I’m not anti ‘progress’ and this isn’t some kind of nostalgia trip from when Womanby street used to be thriving. It is thriving now, in real time. Clwb Ifor Bach is irreplaceable. I try to look at things in a balanced way but I struggle to reason with building a hotel or posh flats on a street with so many venues. Womanby Street should be designated for conservation due to its significant cultural value. Much like the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - Womanby Street should be made an Area of Outstanding Natural Noise (AONN). Loud music is good noise, people enjoying themselves of an evening is good noise. It is appropriate to the street. Although my AONB comparison is slightly tongue in cheek, fortunately, people are actually putting pressure on The Welsh Assembly via a petition to make the street ‘an area of cultural significance for music’. Unbelievably, it isn’t the case yet that it is the responsibility of the developer to soundproof their new development, even if they move in next to a noisy night club. Apparently these already exist in London so fingers crossed Wales will see sense and do the same. Sign the petition here.
It is energising to see people are rallying together and I have huge respect & appreciation to whoever is behind the @savewomanbyst campaign on Twitter & Facebook.
I've got a Farm Hand gig on 22nd April (celebrating Record Store Day) in Outpost - a new coffee & vinyl venture in Castle Emporium on Womanby Street. Come along and get fired up with me.