Words by Rachel Shuttleworth
If there is one thing people can say about Cardiff, is that it is a city that champions live music and the communities that surround it. On the 2nd November Daniel Minty launched his Gig Map of Cardiff, which is an ingenious idea that does justice to Cardiff’s status as a live music venue. The bottom floor of Clwb ifor Bach was packed with members of the live music community in Cardiff and supporters of grass root venues, and even though I barely knew anyone there (aside from Ewan from the Save Womanby Street campaign), I quickly met many supporters that I can now call my friends. That in itself shows how inclusive this community is to newcomers and to anyone who appreciates live music.
The whole event started off with an incredibly moving tribute to Dempseys, which closed down at the beginning of this year, and it really put it into perspective how important it is to keep live music venues going. It showed that real life people were behind these venues, and communities like the one that turned up to this launch are responsible for Cardiff’s music identity. It was poignant, and I thought it showed how much Womanby Street and Cardiff in general has progressed since its sudden closure. Daniel Minty then came onto the stage to introduce Mike Dennis who performed a song dedicated to Womanby Street from his new record ‘Junction 29’. It was a mesmerising performance and you can sense his dedication towards the street as he looped his violin. Then Jo Stevens MP came up and made an impassioned speech on what the live music community have accomplished in the past few months, and said that places like Womanby isn’t just a live music hub, but it is a ‘way of life’, which couldn’t be more true. Jon Fox from the Music Venue Trust then took to the stage to talk about how Womanby Street has not just been successful, but is now being used as an example throughout the UK, and how live music venues should be protected and respected for being so ingrained in UK culture. Ewan Moor from SWS also joined the inspiration line up and gave a fantastic speech, where he emphasised what has happened in the past few months, saying that Minty is a prime example of what a community could do, and he said that every member of this community was responsible for the recent success with the Save Womanby Street campaign. He mentioned the speech Minty made at the Save Womanby Street march on City Hall earlier this year (which I would definitely recommend you watch).
Then before the unveiling of the full map, there was a guest performance by Chroma, who Minty emphasised went from playing at The Full Moon to playing at Reading Festival recently. Their unplugged set was amazing, and they performed 2 Welsh songs, and even though I don’t have a very good understanding of Welsh, I felt every word they sang. It goes to show how much these venues mean to bands, especially those who go from smaller venues to festivals and larger venues throughout the UK.
Finally, Daniel Minty came on and unveiled the map. He made a speech on why he made the map, and it was because he wanted people from outside Cardiff who are visiting to know what Cardiff is all about, and to champion the city’s abundance of live music venues and its independent music scene. He also announced that on the 14th December Sound Diplomacy will be coming to Cardiff to ensure that live music venues in Cardiff will be protected and be allowed to thrive, which is a fantastic ending to an already fantastic night. The curtain was taken off, and a large version of the map was unveiled. All I can say is that it took me a couple of minutes to register what I was seeing. I had no idea there were that many venues in Cardiff. And it made me realise how important Cardiff is for live music.
In conclusion, this Gig Map Launch was an unbelievable night, it was a true testament to the live music community in Cardiff, and Daniel Minty is an innovator in the protection of live music not just in Cardiff, but throughout the UK. He is an inspiration.