News broke yesterday morning that, as things stand, Cardiff music venue Gwdihŵ is to close at the end of January, after the landlord’s decision not to renew the venue’s lease. The news led to a campaign across social media to save the venue and the other businesses on Guildford Crescent.
Later it emerged that the landlords had taken this decision because they want to demolish the entire block including other businesses on Guildford terrace, one of the last remaining historic parts of Cardiff town centre, and redevelop the land.
The owners of Gwdihŵ are looking for help to find a new home for the venue in 2019 and are urging anyone who might be able to offer a space or contribute in any way to get in touch with them.
The news comes after last year’s Save Womanby Street campaign, which helped secure the venues in the city’s music quarter. Plus the setting up of a much vaunted Sound Diplomacy music strategy process that has yet to announce its report or establish a Cardiff Music board.
Starting life a decade ago this past November as a Welsh language venue, Gwdihŵ is one of Cardiff’s most colourful independent venues, this compact little place has been home to various genres of music and events. From DJs, funk nights, disco and world music, to spoken word and open mic nights including one I was involved with called Making Minds, Giving Voices. Its also been the starting point for promoters, sound engineers and artists as diverse as Estrons, Afrocluster, Boy Azooga . It is also a reasonable venue that has played host to artists on tours, just this year I have seen acts like Chroma and Siobhan Wilson at the venue.
The venue issued a statement:
“We’d like to thank everyone who’s made Gwdihŵ such an incredibly special place to be over the past 10 years. From all the promoters who’ve put on such magical shows and vibrant club nights, to the talented musicians who’ve graced our colourful little stage.
“Finally, a massive thank you to all our staff and customers past and present. Truly, the best thing about Gwdihŵ is how much of a family it is and we are so lucky to have had such friendly and supportive people be a part of the family.
“However, this isn’t the end for us. We’re looking to carry the Gwdihŵ name into 2019 so we urge anyone who might be able to offer a space or contribute in any way to get in touch via social media or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We hope to see as many of you as possible over the next few weeks before we close to celebrate the past 10 years so come down and party with us one last time on Guildford Crescent. Thanks for all the Gwd times!”
Here’s what the campaign to save Gwdihŵ put together by Daniel Minty said: “For over a decade, Gwdihŵ has been the colourful cornerstone of our Cardiff music scene where those have come to fall in love with their next favourite band and possibly at times – each other. It’s a venue that advocates the freedom to perform, to promote and nurture (regardless of genre) and has had the best intentions for the creative community in, its heart.”
However, Gwdihŵ also sits amongst other family-run businesses on Guildford Crescent that face closure if the landlord does not renew the lease they include:
– Thai House – an independent family run business running for over 33 years, priding themselves as the first Thai restaurant, in the UK, outside of London.
– Madeira Restaurante, a family run independent Portuguese restaurant running for 20 years.
“But it’s not due to a failing of their business model or even lack of support and success from you. It’s due to the word of their landlord after declining to renew the lease of the buildings and land where these businesses operate.
We cannot stress to you how vital it is that we act NOW and urge the landlord of Guildford Crescent to recognise and understand the cultural and artistic significance of these spaces over any other monetary gain to be had in other business ventures. We ask the landlord, to grant these existing businesses new leases and avoid the loss of 70+ jobs.”
An accompanying petition has already garnered over ten thousand signatures at time of writing, add your name here: