Thursday, December 13, 2018

Goodbye Gwdihw?

The fight to keep Cardiff's best independent venues alive might have been centred largely on Womanby Street in the last couple of years, but yesterday's unwelcome revelation that Gwdihw is facing closure was a sharp and painful reminder that the challenges and threats are ubiquitous.

Their landlords Rapports have refused to renew their lease, which will mean they have to vacate the premises on Guildford Crescent at the end of January. The reason? The whole block is set to be demolished to make way for yet more student flats. What makes it all the worse is that the council has proposed protecting it with Conservation Area status - and so Rapports seem determined to begin the demolition process before the necessary protections can be put in place.

While I've not frequented it as often as I would have liked, Gwdihw has been the location of some memorable evenings - from a mini-festival organised by friends in 2010, when Craig Bellamy and Nobby Solano turned up in the bar for the after-party, to a riotous medieval-themed 40th birthday party last year, to a couple of great gigs in the last 12 months or so (Shopping and Baby Bushka).

A petition to save Guildford Crescent has been started (you can add your name here) and the campaign has been backed by countless local bands including Boy Azooga and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, as well as MP Jo Stevens, an enthusiastic supporter of the ultimately victorious Save Womanby Street campaign. Even if the eviction does go ahead, though, it might still not be the end for Gwdihw, who are actively seeking out alternative premises. Here's hoping that it doesn't come to that - but that, if it does, the phoenix (well, owl) can rise from the flames.

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