The grassroots music venue aims to expand and upgrade its current site; creating a contemporary, fully accessible space to increase engagement and broaden its activity in line with its charitable objectives. Fundraising launched to support the redevelopment.
A NEW planning application has been submitted to increase the size of Cardiff’s iconic Clwb Ifor Bach and transform the space into a brand-new, fully accessible multi-room venue. The venue has 18 months to raise the funds to turn its ambitions into reality.
The proposals submitted to Cardiff County Council this week will see Clwb take over the derelict building next door and join it with the existing premises on Womanby Street to expand its cultural offering and create more opportunities for people in Wales.
What do the plans include?
The redevelopment will allow Clwb to hold larger-scale performances and events, thanks to a new 500-capacity space that fills a long-standing gap in in the city’s current live music provision. It will also include a 200-capacity room to ensure continued support for emerging musicians during the early stages of their artistic development.
Celebrating 40 years in its Womanby Street home, the proposals submitted will keep Clwb’s character, charm and heritage while modernising and future proofing it for generations to come with a new identity crafted and designed by architects Nissen Richards Studio.
Plans mean the venue can expand the reach and impact of its charity objectives. Clwb took the natural step to becoming a Registered Charity in 2019 after decades of offering a steppingstone into the creative industry for many – both on and off stage. Committed to improving opportunities for younger audiences, Clwb supports aspiring technicians, promoters, performers, photographers, and more. Their work now goes beyond music event programming to audience, artist, skills and community development. The redevelopment will help take this to a bigger scale.
How can people support?
Today marks a key milestone with the submission of the planning application. However, there is still a long journey ahead to make this project a reality, especially considering how inflationary pressures have impacted the cost since the initial concept designs were announced in early 2019.
To make the new building and re-fit possible, Clwb is calling for its supporters to get behind the project and help make it a reality. It has 18 months to raise the necessary funding and will be exploring all potential avenues of support during this time to move the project forward.
Clwb Ifor Bach Chief Executive Guto Brychan said: “It’s been a long time since we released the concept designs for the redevelopment in early 2019 and finally being able to submit the planning application feels like a big step forward.
“This year we’re celebrating Clwb’s 40th birthday and want to remind people how long we’ve been here, and how important we are to the community and the cultural life of Cardiff.”
Since opening in 1983, the iconic music venue has helped Welsh artists like Stereophonics, Boy Azooga, Gwenno, Super Furry Animals and plenty more during the early stages of their careers. It has provided opportunities for thousands of upcoming artists to develop their craft in front of smaller audiences – with even global artists like Coldplay taking to the stage.
Pre-pandemic figures taken from UK Music estimate that live music brought 440,000 visitors to Wales in 2019, spending £143 million and directly supporting 1,843 jobs. Clwb Ifor Bach wants to continue attracting more artists and audiences from across Cardiff and beyond, to help boost the Welsh creative economy. The redevelopment also supports the vision of Cardiff Council’s ongoing strategy to place music at the heart of the city’s future as the UK’s first ‘Music City’.
Guto Brychan added: “We’d like to extend our gratitude to Cardiff Council for their help in securing the premises next door, which was a key factor in progressing the plans.
“There is still a long road ahead especially in terms of securing sufficient funding, but we’re confident that our plans to improve Clwb Ifor Bach for the artists and audiences of the future will be a cornerstone of the city’s live music infrastructure for years to come.
“The venue won’t just build on our heritage, it will contribute to our community, to the Welsh economy and to the fabric of Welsh life.
“And it will play a critical role in making Cardiff an internationally recognised music city, the capital of a country that’s synonymous with song. It’s time to give music in Wales a new home.”
Clwb Ifor Bach has spent the past 40 years contributing to the cultural wellbeing of audiences from Cardiff, Wales and beyond. It’s often through grassroots and independent music venues that many get their first experiences of watching live music or working in the arts and creative sectors. This redevelopment will allow the venue to continue to grow this impact.
The redevelopment relies on funding to ensure delivery of this incredible new venue that gives back. By contributing to this project, you can help Clwb continue to support Welsh culture, the Welsh language and the arts now and in the future.