Save Womanby Street! Gentrification is killing our clubs.

If you haven’t heard, Womanby Street is under serious threat after unfair planning laws and noise complaints have endangered one of Cardiff’s most musical and creative hubs. The beloved Full Moon Club was closed last month after money troubles and planning regulations forced its untimely demise, this wasn’t the first casualty, the Moon club and Dempseys pub have also been closed recently. But, in the words of the late Carrie Fisher, there is hope! Various Cardiff based creative organisations and campaigners have been working together to petition these threats, and to ask Cardiff council to protect Womanby Street as an important cultural hub and so it should be!

Lucky for us The Full Moon club has since been reopened under new ownership of the non profit organisation Creative Republic of Cardiff, with new name The Moon Club.

Everything about Womanby Street plays a part in defining Cardiff’s culture and it would be a tragedy if threats of planning laws and a proposed hotel opening in the street compromised its contribution to the city. 

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Source: Paul Scott Thomas Photography

A proposed residential development next to Clwb Ifor Bach is also on the cards, concerns are continuing to grow that higher financial promise will be put before the cultural significance of the street, in an age of gentrification that’s nothing new and don’t we know it. The temporary closure of Fabric in London echoes the plight of Womanby Street, as councils tried to drive the club underground in an attempt to clean up the city, they claimed drug related deaths and inadequate security were the reasons why the club was shutdown but most think differently. Even prominent figures from all over the music and cultural industries couldn’t stop its closure, editor of Mixmag magazine, Duncan Dick made comparisons to the closure of The Arches club in Glasgow that has since begun to be developed into a luxury hotel, when talking to The Guardian about Fabric’s closure he had this to say:

“Clubs find themselves in a perfect storm of gentrification and development, although clubs offer massive cultural benefits to the area, are what makes a city, give a city its character, property is king.”

Let’s keep in mind here that this is London he is talking about and Cardiff is a lot less at risk at the moment, but the same threats apply. Cultural contributions that do not fit the ideal of the contemporary creative city are marginalised in order to produce a more attractive ideal of the creative city, Hartley’s analysis explains this in how that which exists outside the perception of the creative city is considered dull and backwards. However big, the corporate elites are swiftly making a move and are endangering the existence of music and creative culture in Cardiff. When considering the fact that an entire street of culturally and creatively diverse locally run music spaces that supports a plethora of local talent is being threatened by a Wetherspoons hotel, it brings fun attention to the threats of gentrification. Whilst many other creative and cultural industries such as theatre, literature and media are thriving in the modern sphere of the creative city, music venues seem to be continually at risk of closure or remodelling in order to fit the city’s expectations.

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Source: Wales Online

But the Cardiff community spirit will not give in! The #Savewomanbystreet campaign has already gained plenty of support, with hundreds turning up for their marches, and over £13,000 raised in order to successfully reopen the Full Moon club. If your interested in helping the cause, sign the petition which will be delivered to the Welsh Assembly, urging them to stop the Wetherspoons hotel form opening and endangering live music throughout Cardiff.

Save Womanby Street!

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