Friday, January 04, 2019

Buffalo bites the dust

Gwdihw in Cardiff, the Parrot in Carmarthen, the Muni in Pontypridd - and now Buffalo back in Cardiff. Just three days into 2019, yet another of South Wales' grassroots music venues has announced that it's shut down, citing a "massive increase" in business rates in particular.

I won't pretend to have been a regular at Buffalo - in fact, I haven't been since moving back to the city at the very end of 2016 - though back in the day I did see a handful of decent gigs there, as well as attend a great night with members of Los Campesinos! on the decks. But since opening in 2005 it's clearly been a vital platform for local acts and DJs (as well as an early staging post for such high-profile artists as Adele and James Blake), and an important venue for the Swn Festival.

Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens, a vocal supporter of the campaign to save Gwdihw, has mourned the loss, commenting "we all need to play our part in supporting and raising the profile of our venues". The organisers of Save Gwdihw & Guildford Crescent went further, insisting that Cardiff Council, having "pledged to protect Cardiff's live music scene", must be "held to account". In this instance, could a workable solution have been found whereby the damaging impact or scale of the business rate increase was reduced? As is so often the case, what's needed is a little less conversation and a little more action.

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