By Sam Cotter
Cardiff residents, at the start of the new year, were issued with an unwelcomed statement from those at Gwdihŵ that they would be closing their doors for good at the end of January. Gwdihŵ the distinctive and decorated music venue, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in November and had become a foundation for the Cardiff music scene to be expressed and enjoyed, is now teetering towards its last days. The imminent closure has been a blow to the family community that surrounds Guildford Crescent and Gwdihŵ. It has highlighted a development in the last 5 years of small music venues and businesses being closed, destroyed and rebuilt for the purpose of financial gain. With no advancement on Gwdihŵ receiving a new lease and accompanying restaurants the Thai House and the Madeira closed for business, the community of Cardiff have stood up and expressed strong opposition.
The Save Gwdihŵ and Guildford Crescent petition has amassed 20,000+ signatures, various events have hosted one-off nights, and more than 2,000 people took part in a protest march earlier this month. The engagement from the community to protect what makes Cardiff special has been emotionally charged and empowering and has opened up a conversation with locals, students and visitors about the meaning of Gwdihŵ to them. Music, to most, has played a pivotal role in their lives and Gwdihŵ, more so, has represented a place for punters of all ages to dance, listen and share life-stories within the colourful walls.
Cardiff has been threatened before, Clwb Ifor Bach, The Moon, and Fuel Rock Club at the start of 2018 had been propositioned into a re-development which would have led to their closure. An area of vibrant city nightlife where, like Gwdihŵ, the community has become enlightened, enthralled and enthused by the wealth of music on display. The Womanby street campaign to stop the demolition and redevelopment wa a success and showed the power of what community has but also the importance the community holds for such venues.
It is, sadly, desperate times for Gwdihŵ and those at Guildford Crescent. With days slowly counting down and no change in the right direction, it could be time to say goodbye for good. I hope that by the 31st that is not the case. For music to survive in the capital, for bands to earn recognition, for the DJs to get their first experience and for the people of Cardiff to discover new and exciting talent; Cardiff must respect the culture and heritage of what makes the city thrive.