Today Clwb Ifor Bach announced its plans to take one of Wales’ most recognisable venues and make it bigger.
The historic Womanby Street music venue is carrying out a feasibility study, which proposes expansion into the derelict building adjacent to the current site.
The expansion will create a new 800 capacity venue fit for the 21st century and the plans showcase an impressive building, fitting of its historic Womanby Street location.
The plans, designed by architects Nissen Richards Studio famed for London’s Printworks, will be revealed to the public on Tuesday 5th February at an open consultation at Clwb Ifor Bach from 10am to 6pm. People can also view the proposals and give feedback via an online survey available on Clwb’s website.
Guto Brychan, Clwb Ifor Bach Chief Executive said: “In 2018, we put on 450 events and worked with 997 artists alone. But we could have an even bigger impact if we addressed some of the capacity issues holding us back.
“Cardiff can cater for bands who pull crowds of 80, 8,000 and 80,000 but there are too many gaps in between. We want to host more events and entertain more people, whilst continuing to champion Welsh culture and language in all its forms.
“It’s been incredibly sad to see the closures of much loved, independent venues in Cardiff and surrounding areas such Buffalo, Gwdihw and Muni Arts. Their closure which has rocked grassroots music in the city has made it all the more important that we try and secure our future and the future of grassroots music in Wales.
“Having a larger venue also ensures that Clwb will be able to develop its role as a sector leader in Wales through the development of grassroots talent, skills development and community engagement for the sustainability and growth of the music sector. This means the building will not only future proof Clwb but also the wider music sector in Cardiff and Wales.
“We are a little while away from this venture becoming a reality, but we look forward to seeing the reaction to our initial plans in the coming weeks and months.”
For 35 years, Clwb Ifor Bach has brought the world’s artists to Wales – and Welsh artists to the world. Bands like Super Furry Animals and Stereophonics started small there and went on to make it big everywhere. It has given young people a place to go out, a space to learn their craft and develop a career in music.
Plans for the redevelopment have been made possible through Cardiff Council agreeing to acquire the building next door and leasing it to Clwb on a long term basis.
Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “Music venues continue to add significantly to the cultural offering in the city. Not only do these venues attract visitors, retain jobs and create unique venues for people to visit and enjoy, they often have historical significance.
“Clwb Ifor Bach began its life as home to the Welsh language in Cardiff and is now a thriving venue where many Welsh musicians and bands start their career. The Council will continue to work with all those involved to assist the owners of Clwb with their plans for expansion, so we can safeguard the live music scene in Womanby Street.
“Looking at the bigger picture, we look forward to announcing Cardiff’s Music Strategy in the spring, with a series of recommendations from world renowned, Sound Diplomacy, on how the council and its partners can support the creative sector in the future.”
The Arts Council of Wales has provided funding and advice to enable Clwb to carry out a feasibility study and to work with a specialist team to create concept designs and a business plan for the re-development.
To see Clwb’s proposals visit Clwb Ifor Bach on Tuesday 5th February, 10am-6pm or go online https://clwb.net/public-consultation/