Save Womanby St.

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Save Womanby Street! Writing those words brings a tear to my eye, I can’t believe it has come to this, where we have reached the stage where something has to be done to save the most important musical street in Wales. That is not an exaggeration, Womanby Street in Cardiff holds huge cultural worth, it has inspired and influenced so many of us, and is a street we need to protect not only for ourselves but for future generations.

The year began with the sad news that Dempseys, at the castle end of Womanby Street, was being sold off. This was a huge loss and a wasted opportunity by the brewery as Four Bars was the perfect space for live music and has seen many bands start their career including the likes of Alt J and The Vaccines. The very fact that Gareth Bale is involved in the development of this space (that is to become yet another generic sports bar no doubt selling the best burgers in Cardiff) makes it even harder to accept. Don’t get me wrong I love football and have nothing against Gareth Bale or burgers, but not in this area of Cardiff.

This news was swiftly followed by the closure of The Moon Club, soon to be replaced by The Bootlegger, which will hopefully continue to give the street the cultural home for live music it has nurtured for so many years. Further devastating news revealed that a hotel development is being planned for the J. D. Wetherspoon pub on the street and, if that wasn’t enough, this was followed by news of plans for apartments to be developed next to our beloved Clwb Ifor Bach.

In further heartbreaking developments, this week saw the closure of the wonderful Full Moon. A statement on their Facebook page read “We have given every ounce of blood, sweat, tears and money we have but following some difficult trading and the current air of uncertainty our creditors have lost confidence in our long term sustainability and taken action”.

Honestly, this cannot be allowed to happen, as if it does the future of live music and emerging talent in Cardiff is in serious danger. Nationwide we have seen so many independent venues close their doors due to residential developments with many others under threat like the Night and Day Cafe in Manchester. Sadly, the people who can afford such centrally-located apartments do not want to hear or be a part of the music culture that is evolving beneath them and, as evidence has shown, complaints are made and venues are forced to close down. This cannot continue.

As a nation we protect our National Trust properties, and independent venues should be given the same status. They offer us something different, a place to go and make friends, share experiences, watch all different types of music, sing, dance, fall in love, forget the troubles of this world we live in and be inspired to do something with our lives. The number of times I have walked out of venues on that street and into the night sky feeling that anything is possible are countless, and I know I am not alone. The atmosphere on Womanby Street during Sŵn Festival is one that cannot be created anywhere else in the city and means equally as much to me as Matthew Street and Carnaby Street did to those in Liverpool and London in the 60s.

The future of the street is in our hands and we can do something about it. A campaign has been launched called ‘Save Womanby Street’ and, with elections coming up, please lobby your MP to do something as planning laws can be changed. Whether you live locally or not, please get involved as it may be your town or city that is affected next. There is a petition circulating all social media sites so get involved and sign it, do not let there be a world without the Womanby Street we all know and love.


For more information on how you can help, visit the Save Womanby St. Facebook page.

Steve Tay

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