Due to the fact that the Millennium Music Hall in Cardiff is closing so it can move to a new location I will not be reviewing the GWAR/Clutch gig that happens there Tuesday the 14th of June 2011. The gig has now been moved twice, once to the Walkabout bar (!) and now to the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd. This is all well and good but I am unprepared to travel to Pontypridd just to see a band that should have been playing in my town. (It's a selfish reason I know but hey this is my blog)
This brings me onto what I wanted to highlight in this particular blog entry, Cardiff (and Wales in general) has far too few legitimate concert venues. I have always known this but it was highlighted particularly to me when I saw Journey in Birmingham. Both the NIA and the LG Arena are huge venues and both are a short distance apart, they also have a HMV academy and a symphony hall as well as numerous other small venues around the city. Cardiff now have at the most 6 venues and these vary in size from very small e.g. Globe, Clwb, Solus to larger Uni, St David’s Hall, CIA and then the enormous Stadium. The MMH did a good job filling this hole between the mid-size venues but now we are going to have to wait again which means we are stuck with places that are far too small for big bands and larger arenas that are also small. The CIA (I refuse to call it the Motorpoint Arena) has a standing capacity of 7500 which although big is dwarfed by the NIA in Birmingham which has a seated capacity of 12,700. So with the stadium mostly used for what it is supposed to be used for i.e. sport. The only large arena we have isn't really that large.
I realise that part of the problem is the size of Cardiff itself, but surely we could find somewhere on the outskirts of Cardiff to build a large purpose built entertainment arena, perhaps attached to an exhibition centre like the NEC or the Expo centre in London. The ideal candidate for this would have been where the current Ikea Cardiff sits however obviously home furnishings do more business. This upsets me as music is a glorious thing that I feel strongly about, whereas sport, religion, politics etc. can cause rivalries music is a brother/sisterhood and brings people closer. So we are letting a whole generation down by not supplying adequate places for musicians to perform. Some have by passed Wales altogether because of this very reason.
I know some of you might be thinking, "Why don't you travel to the gig if you love music so much?" Well there is that argument although, this just adds extra cost, travel, hotel, etc. onto what is already an expensive hobby to have (Ticket prices are saved for another time) travelling to gigs only really works if you drive, and then this lessens some of the 'social' atmosphere or if you are there for more than one day e.g. a festival. I realise that most of what I'm saying will never be heard but I need to say it. Cardiff and Wales need more and bigger music venues; I mean we're the land of song for God sake! We need them now before all we have is shopping and silence.
With love from a Muso