National Assembly for Wales

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Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

26/09/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Bethan Sayed AM Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Carwyn Jones AM
David Melding AM
John Griffiths AM

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Gary Lulham Sin City
Sin City
Guto Brychan Clwb Ifor Bach
Clwb Ifor Bach
Samantha Dabb Le Pub
Le Pub
Terry Chinn Clwb Y Bont
Clwb Y Bont

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Martha Da Gama Howells Clerc
Clerk
Robin Wilkinson Ymchwilydd
Researcher

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 10:03.

The meeting began at 10:03.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Eitem 1 ar yr agenda: cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau. Rydym ni wedi cael ymddiheuriadau gan Delyth Jewell, ac rydym ni'n disgwyl efallai bod Mick Antoniw yn mynd i ddod yn hwyrach. Oes gan unrhyw un rhywbeth i'w ddatgan yma heddiw? Dim. 

Item 1 on the agenda is introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. We have received apologies from Delyth Jewell and we expect Mick Antoniw to arrive later. Any declarations of interest? No. 

2. Ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw yng Nghymru: Lleoliadau
2. Inquiry into live music in Wales: Venues

Felly, rydym ni'n symud ymlaen at eitem 2 ar yr agenda, sef ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw yng Nghymru, sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda pherchnogion neu reolwyr lleoliadau. Ac felly croeso i Guto Brychan, Clwb Ifor Bach, a hefyd i Terry Chinn, sydd yn dod o Glwb y Bont. Rydym ni eisoes wedi cael sesiwn gyda chi yn y Tramshed yn trafod rhai o'r materion pwysig. Byddwn ni'n cael cwestiynau ar sail themâu gwahanol gan Aelodau gwahanol, felly os mae'n iawn gyda chi, awn ni yn syth mewn i gwestiynau. Y cwestiwn cyntaf sydd gen i yw: allech chi roi rhyw fath o ddarlun bras ynglŷn â sut mae pethau wedi newid yn y sîn gerddoriaeth fyw? Ydy hi'n well neu'n waeth nag oedd hi nôl yn y dydd, neu ydy pethau wedi esblygu? Beth yw'ch barn chi ar hynny?

So, we move on to item 2 on the agenda, which is the inquiry into live music in Wales, and an evidence session with venue owners and managers. I therefore welcome Guto Brychan from Clwb Ifor Bach and Terry Chinn from Clwb y Bont. We've already had a session with you in the Tramshed discussing some of the important issues. We'll have themed questions from different Members. If it's okay with you, we'll go straight to questions. The first question comes from me, and that's to ask whether you can give us an overall view of how things have changed in the live music scene. Is it better or is it worse than it used to be back in the day, or have things evolved? What's your opinion on that? 

10:05

Mi wnaf fi ddechrau. Buaswn i'n dweud ei bod hi'n anoddach. Mae yna lai o lefydd, mae yna fwy o reolau ac mae yna fwy o gystadleuaeth hefyd o ran diddordebau pobl ifanc. Un o'r problemau pennaf dwi wedi ei weld—a dwi wedi bod yn gweithio yng Nghlwb Ifor Bach ers dros 25 mlynedd erbyn hyn—yw ei bod hi dipyn yn anoddach i bobl ifanc fynd i weld cerddoriaeth fyw mewn llefydd bach fel Clwb—grass-roots music venues—yn enwedig pobl 14 i 18 oed. Mae lot o hynny oherwydd newidiadau i reolau trwyddedu. Mae lot yn anoddach i bobl dan 18 i fynd i'r llefydd yma. A beth sy'n digwydd, i ryw raddau, wedyn, yw bod eu profiadau cerddoriaeth cyntaf nhw wedyn yn dueddol o fod yn y llefydd mawr fel Motorpoint neu arenas, ac wedyn maen nhw'n meddwl mai dyna'r profiad o fynd i weld cerddoriaeth fyw.

Os nad yw'r gynulleidfa'n dod i gefnogi'r bandiau ar ddechrau eu gyrfa mewn llefydd fel Clwb, yna does yna ddim bandiau yn mynd i fod yn chwarae mewn llefydd fel Motorpoint mewn pump i 10 mlynedd achos does yna ddim llwybr o gychwyn eu gyrfa i'r pinacl, mewn ffordd. Un o'r dadleuon mae'r Music Venue Trust wedi bod yn ei wneud yw y dylai canolfannau cerddoriaeth fyw gael eu gweld fel llefydd talent development. Dyna lle mae'r band yn dysgu eu crefft, dyna lle maen nhw'n datblygu eu cynulleidfa ac mae'n gam cyntaf ar y llwybr, gobeithio, i ymwybyddiaeth a gyrfa ym myd cerddoriaeth. 

O ran y nifer o leoliadau yng Nghymru, eto gallwn i enwi pump o lefydd sydd wedi cau yng Nghaerdydd dros y ddwy neu dair blynedd diwethaf. Mae yna hefyd llefydd yng Nghaerfyrddin a Phontypridd sydd wedi cau. Mae'n mynd yn gynyddol anodd i ffeindio llefydd i roi digwyddiadau ymlaen. Rydym ni'n trio trefnu teithiau o amgylch Cymru. Ar y cyfan, rydym ni'n gorfod iwsio theatrau pan rydym ni'n mynd y tu allan i Gaerdydd, achos does yna ddim llefydd yn debyg i Clwb mewn trefi eraill. Os nad ydyn ni'n defnyddio theatrau ac yn trefnu llefydd llai, yna mae'r costau o roi'r digwyddiad ymlaen yn mynd yn ddrud iawn, achos rydych chi'n gorfod llogi lleoliad, y PA—ac mae'r PA yn gost ddrud iawn—a diogelwch. Rydych chi'n gallu gwario cannoedd o bunnoedd cyn eich bod chi'n dod i dalu am y bandiau. Wedyn, pan does yna ddim cefnogaeth ar gael o ran nawdd ar gyfer y sector, rydych chi'n cymryd y risg eich hunan o roi'r digwyddiadau ymlaen. Mae hi'n gynyddol anodd. 

If I could start. I would say that it's more difficult. There are fewer venues and there are more rules, and there's more competition as well in terms of the interests of young people. One of the main problems I've seen—and I've been working in Clwb Ifor Bach for more than 25 years now—is that it's more difficult for young people to attend live music events in places like Clwb—grass-roots music venus. Particularly people aged from 14 to 18. And that's because of the licensing rule changes. It's more difficult for under-18s to go to these venues. What happens to a certain extent then is that their first music experience is in big venues such as the Motorpoint and arenas, and then they think that's the experience of going to live music events.

But if the audience doesn't come to support the bands at the outset of their careers in places like Clwb, then there won't be bands playing in the Motorpoint in five to 10 years, because there's no pathway from the start of their careers to the pinnacle. One of the arguments that the Music Venue Trust has been making is that live music venues should be seen as development venues, where the bands learn their skills and they develop their audiences and it's the first step on the pathway to awareness and a career in the music industry. 

In terms of the number of venues, again, in Wales, I can name five venues in Cardiff that have closed over the last two or three years. There are also places in Carmarthen and Pontypridd that have closed. It's becoming more difficult to find venues to put events on. We try to organise tours around Wales and, on the whole, we have to use theatres when we move outside Cardiff, because there are no venues like Clwb in other towns. If we don't use theatres but arrange smaller venues, then the costs go up and they become very expensive. You've got to book the venue, book the PA—which is very expensive—and security. You can spend hundreds of pounds before you even come to pay for the bands. When there's no support available in terms of sponsorship or funding for the sector, then you take the risk yourself of putting the event on. It is increasingly difficult. 

Fe wnawn ni ddod ymlaen at rai o'r themâu yna, ond diolch yn fawr iawn am y cyflwyniad hynny. Terry, a oes unrhyw beth gennych chi i'w ychwanegu?

We'll come on to some of those themes, but thank you for that introduction. Terry, do you have anything to add?

Well, not really, because we had a chat before we came in, so we did do a bit of a conference about the problems. Part of it is that I think it really is that we are, particularly in Pontypridd, in Clwb y Bont, a grass-roots music venue, and it's a bit like we're an endangered species. If we do go under—I hope we won't; we've been there for 40 years now, and we own the building, so we're much more comfortable off than other places. We would like to have someone champion the cause that we are a cultural centre. We're not simply a pub that puts bands on on a Friday or Saturday night. We have live music on Mondays. I could go through a list of what we do, but we have a choir on Monday, a community choir, and just by default of what we do, we say 'Yes' to a lot of people who want to play music, and we've actually filled in like a well-being agenda. Very directly, or indirectly, we actually fulfil that purpose. And also we incorporate live music in other events, with performances. Theatre companies come, and that is classed as live music, I would say, where we use things like that. 

There's a lot to say about what we do. I can't say that it's better or worse. I've been involved in music and events for a long time—over 30 years, now. I would say that there's a professionalism that is coming in to music. People are told it's an industry, the music industry, and that is right, to a certain level. There's an entry level to culture, which can be seen as a profession, but I think it's also about people playing music for the love of it. They've already got another job, and they come and play in our venue because we're small enough to accommodate them. But we have actually now, in our venue—because we've had a stable three years of good management, and we've cleared our finance difficulties that we had—we're actually now bringing in people like BBC Horizons artists, people like menter iaith are also sponsoring Welsh-language gigs, we're working with PYST, who are the promoters in the Welsh language, and the Young Promoters Network as well. So, we're actually making a lot of directions out into the professional areas, and also we work with professional gigging bands, but I think we should be looked at as very much a cultural centre in Pontypridd.

10:10

Grêt. Diolch am hynny. Mae'n rhoi rhyw fath o esboniad o'r sîn fel mae'n sefyll. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn gwneud rhyw fath o system o fapio'r lleoliadau ar hyn o bryd. Ydych chi yn rhan o hynny? Ydych chi'n meddwl ei bod yn mynd i fod o fudd, neu ydych chi'n credu bod yna waith gwahanol y dylai fod yn flaenoriaeth iddyn nhw?

Thank you very much for that. That gives us an explanation of the scene as it currently stands. The Welsh Government is undertaking some sort of mapping exercise of venues at the moment. Are you part of that? Do you believe it's going to be of benefit? Or do you believe that there's alternative work that should be a priority?

Mae'r mapio yn rhywbeth sydd angen digwydd. Roeddem ni'n rhan o'r cais efo'r Music Venue Trust i dendro am y mapio. Gwnaeth y Music Venue Trust ddim cael—. Dwi ddim wedi clywed dim byd gan y cwmni sydd i fod i wneud y mapio. Roeddwn i dan ddealltwriaeth bod hynny'n rhywbeth a oedd i fod i gael ei gwblhau yn eithaf buan. Ydy'r amserlen wedi cael ei—?

The mapping is something that needs to happen. We were part of the Music Venue Trust bid to tender for the mapping. Music Venue Trust didn't get that—. I haven't heard anything from the company that's doing the mapping. I was of the understanding that it was something that had been completed quite quickly. Has the timetable been—?

Dydyn ni ddim yn gwybod. Rydym ni'n gofyn.

We don't know. That's why we we're asking.

I feddwl ein bod ni'n rhedeg un o'r canolfannau sy'n cael ei adnabod fel un o'r rhai mwyaf blaenllaw o ran cynnig cerddoriaeth fyw yng Nghymru, dydyn ni ddim wedi clywed dim byd ganddyn nhw. So, dwi'n synnu ar hynny hyd yma. Ond o ran mapio, un o'r sialensau inni o ran trefnu teithiau rownd Cymru ydy ffeindio llefydd lle rydym ni'n gallu rhoi digwyddiadau ymlaen. Mae gweld beth ydy'r adnoddau sydd allan fanna, beth ydy'r gost o roi digwyddiadau ymlaen, lle mae angen cael offer ychwanegol i fedru rhoi digwyddiadau ymlaen, beth ydy'r gynulleidfa darged ar gyfer yr ardaloedd hynny, a pha mor rhwydd ydy o i'r gynulleidfa gyrraedd y lleoliadau yna—gwybodaeth gwerthfawr iawn i bobl sydd eisiau rhoi mwy o ddigwyddiadau ymlaen. Achos rydym ni yma yng Nghaerdydd yn ffodus; mae yna lot o lefydd i gymharu â phobman arall. Mae'n eithaf rhwydd i'w cyrraedd nhw. Pan oeddwn i'n byw yn Aberystwyth, doeddwn i ddim yn meddwl dim byd am fynd ar fws am ddwyawr i gig ym Mhorthmadog neu Fangor neu beth bynnag. Dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n elfen sydd wedi cael ei cholli erbyn hyn, achos does yna ddim digwyddiadau cweit mor rheolaidd yn digwydd mewn llefydd eraill o amgylch y wlad. Ond, ie, mae mapio yn syniad da, ond cael syniad o beth ydy'r pwynt, beth maen nhw'n gobeithio sy'n dod allan o'r mapio—byddai hynny'n dda i ddeall hefyd. 

To think that we are running a venue that is known as one of the most prominent in terms of live music in Wales, we haven't heard anything from them. So I'm surprised at that so far. But in terms of mapping, one of the challenges for us in terms of organising is finding venues where we can put events on, seeing what the resources are out there, and the costs of putting events on, where we need to have additional equipment to be able to put events on, what is the target audience for that area, and how easy is it for the audience to reach those venues—that's very valuable information for people who put events on. Because we in Cardiff are very fortunate. There are lots of venues compared to other places. It's quite easy to get to them. When I lived in Aberystwyth, I didn't think anything of getting a bus to go to a gig in Porthmadog or Bangor. I think that's an element that's been lost now, because there are no events happening so regularly in other places across the country. But, yes, mapping is a good idea, but getting an idea of what the point is, and what the intention and objectives are of that mapping exercise—that would also be good to understand. 

I don't know—. We'd need to know the context of it all, otherwise it's flags on maps, I suppose. It's the content of what that entails.

But you haven't been contacted yet to take part in it. 

That's what I was trying to get at. So, we can follow up with Government.

Jest cwestiwn olaf gen i, cyn symud ymlaen at yr Aelodau eraill, ar iechyd y system gwyliau—festivals—yng Nghymru, o ran cerddoriaeth yn benodol. Yn sicr, rydych chi'n trefnu gŵyl Sŵn, a dwi'n gwybod, Terry, rydych chi'n ymwneud â gwyliau sy'n digwydd yn y Cymoedd hefyd. Felly, ydych chi'n credu eu bod nhw'n gweithio? Ydych chi'n credu y gall mwy o bobl weithio gyda'i gilydd?

Just a final question from me before moving on to the other Members. It's with regard to the health of the festival sector in Wales in terms of music specifically. You organise the Sŵn festival and I know, Terry, you're involved in festivals in the Valleys as well. So, do you believe that they're working? Do you think that more people can collaborate on them?

Rydym ni'n trefnu gŵyl Sŵn fel Clwb Ifor Bach, a dwi hefyd yn gweithio i'r Eisteddfod yn trefnu Maes B, ac wedi bod yn ei wneud am 19 mlynedd. Mae wedi bod yn brofiad eithaf diddorol mynd i ardaloedd gwahanol o Gymru i gael gweld beth sydd yn cael ei gynnal yna, beth sy'n mynd ymlaen. Does yna ddim—. Dwi'n cael yr argraff bod lot o'r gwyliau cerddorol yn rhai eithaf cymunedol yng Nghymru. Does yna ddim cymaint sydd efo reach ehangach. Mae Green Man, yn amlwg; mi oedd Festival No. 6, ond mae hwnna wedi dod i ben erbyn hyn. Buasai'n ddiddorol gweld beth yw blaenoriaethau'r cyngor celfyddydau o ran ariannu gwyliau cerddorol. Ydy'r sector cerddoriaeth gyfoes yn cael yr un chwarae teg â'r sector clasurol neu'r sector jazz? Cwestiwn i'w holi, achos mae'n anodd. Dŷn ni'n buddsoddi dros £100,000 i mewn i ŵyl Sŵn, a dŷn ni hefyd yn rhoi ein staff ni o'r clwb i mewn in kind. Ond mae'n fuddsoddiad mawr i gwmni bach ar yr adeg yma o'r flwyddyn lle mae lot o arian yn mynd allan i baratoi ar ei chyfer, yn enwedig ar ôl tri mis o haf lle mae'n eithaf tawel. Mae'n cael effaith eithaf trwm ar y cash flow. Buasai gwybod bod yna fwy o gefnogaeth allan yna i'n galluogi ni i ddatblygu'r ŵyl yn rhywbeth y buaswn i'n ei groesawu, achos dŷn ni'n gweld ei bod yn ŵyl bwysig o ran rhoi cyfle i artistiaid newydd i berfformio mewn gŵyl broffesiynol a hefyd i berfformio efo artistiaid eraill sydd yn teithio a gweld sut mae'n gweithio i artistiaid sydd wedi mynd gam neu ddau ymhellach i fyny'r ysgol, mewn ffordd—sut mae'n gweithio iddyn nhw.

We organise Sŵn as Clwb Ifor Bach, and I also work for the Eisteddfod organising Maes B, and I've been doing that for 19 years. It's been an interesting experience going to different parts of Wales to see what is held there and what's going on. I get the impression that many of the music festivals are community festivals in Wales. There aren't so many with a national, broader reach. There's Green Man, obviously, and there was Festival No. 6, but that's finished now. It will be interesting to see what the priorities are for the arts council in terms of funding music festivals. Is the contemporary music sector getting as much fair play as the jazz or classical music sectors? That's a question to ask, because it's difficult. We invest more than £100,000 in Sŵn, and we contribute our staff to that, and it's a great investment for us as a small company at this time of year, when a lot of money goes out to prepare for it, particularly after the three months in the summer where it's quite quiet. It has a heavy impact on the cash flow. Knowing that there was more support out there to allow us to develop the festival would be something to be welcomed, because I feel that it's an important festival in terms of giving an opportunity to new artists to perform in a professional festival and also to perform with other artists who tour and to see how it works for artists who have gone a step further on the ladder of their career and how it works for them. 

10:15

Sori, jest i dorri i mewn, dŷch chi wedi dweud bod cwestiwn i'r cyngor celfyddydau o ran a yw'r arian yn mynd i gerddoriaeth gyfoes. Beth yw'ch barn chi? A ydyw'n mynd—?

Sorry to interrupt, but you've said that it's a question for the arts council as to whether the funding would be going to contemporary music, but what's your opinion on that? Is it going to contemporary music?

Dwi ddim yn gwybod digon am beth yw eu blaenoriaethau nhw o ran gwyliau cerddorol. Roeddwn i'n sôn yn benodol am y nawdd ar gyfer gwyliau cerddorol. Mae yna bot penodol ar gyfer hynny. Fy nealltwriaeth i ydy bod clasurol a jazz yn cael tipyn o flaenoriaeth. Dyw e ddim yn rhywbeth dwi wedi edrych ddigon i mewn iddo fe. Fel mae'n digwydd, dwi'n mynd i gyfarfod â'r cyngor celfyddydau mewn cwpwl o wythnosau, lle byddan nhw'n trafod beth yw'r blaenoriaethau yn dilyn ymgynghoriad diweddar. Cwestiwn rhethregol ydyw i ryw raddau, i gael ei roi allan yn fanna. 

I don't know enough about their priorities in terms of music festivals. I was speaking specifically about the funding for music festivals. There is a specific pot for that. My understanding is that jazz and classical music have more priority, but that's not something I've investigated a great deal. As it happens, I'm going to a meeting of the arts council in a couple of weeks, where they will be discussing their priorities, following the recent consultation. So, it was a rhetorical question, in a way.

Iawn. Dwi'n gorfod symud ymlaen oherwydd yr amser. So, Terry, a ydych chi eisiau ateb hynny'n glou?

Right. We have to move on now because of time pressures. Terry, do you just want to respond quickly?

Well, at our club itself, our venue, we can't really accommodate festivals. We're too small. But perhaps, if we were getting an expansion of the building—. We own our building, but we could double in size tomorrow if we had funding and we could then put on a lovely festival in Pontypridd. But, of course, people can make a festival in a tent; you don't need a physical building. And we can also make a cluster of small buildings to make a festival. 

It's something for the future. 

Ocê, symudwn ni ymlaen yn awr at gyngor a chymorth—John Griffiths.

Okay. Moving on to support and advice—John Griffiths. 

Could I just ask a brief follow-up question on that, Chair? A while ago, I was aware that the literature festival in Hay-on-Wye were asked to, and wanted to, help other festivals in Wales, using the experience and the expertise they've built up over many years and, indeed, the success they've had. And I think they were linked with Merthyr and the rock festival in Merthyr, but I'm not quite sure how well that worked and whether it's still continuing. Is that a good idea in terms of building festivals, linking in that way, do you think?

Ie, yn bendant. Fel mae'n digwydd, dŷn ni'n aelod o'r Association of Independent Festivals. Felly, dŷn ni'n mynd i'w digwyddiadau nhw i gael gweld beth yw'r problemau sy'n wynebu'r sector yn gyffredinol. Dŷn ni'n ŵyl eithaf gwahanol efo Sŵn, gan ein bod ni'n un ddinesig, yn hytrach nag un greenfield, ond dwi'n wastad o'r farn po fwyaf o drafod a pho fwyaf o ymgysylltu sydd rhwng pobl wahanol yn y diwydiant, y gorau dŷn ni'n dod i ddeall sut mae pethau'n gweithio, a'r gobaith ydy bod popeth yn tyfu o ganlyniad i hynny. 

Yes, certainly. As it happens, we're members of the Association of Independent Festivals. So, we go to their events to see what issues are facing the sector in general. We're quite a different festival at Sŵn, because we're urban rather than being a greenfield festival, but I'm always of the opinion that the more discussion, debate and engagement there is between different people in the industry then the better in terms of understanding how things work. And the hope is that everything grows as a result of that. 

Okay. I just have some questions about support and advice, and how adequate it is. In general, is there enough support and advice available to the music industry in Wales, do you think?

Yng Nghymru, o bosib na. Mi oeddwn i'n arfer gweithio i'r Welsh Music Foundation ac mi es i ymlaen i fod yn aelod o fwrdd y Welsh Music Foundation ar ôl symud ymlaen i weithio yn rhywle arall, ac mi oedd hynny'n rhywle lle'r oedd pobl yn gallu mynd i holi nid jest o ran y sector cerddoriaeth fyw ond y sector cerddoriaeth yn gyffredinol. Ers i hwnna ddod i ben, does yna ddim lle penodol i bobl sy'n gweithio yn y diwydiant cerddoriaeth i fynd am gyngor, ac mae hynny'n rhywbeth dwi'n gweld sydd wedi cael ei golli achos mae'n ei gwneud hi'n gynyddol anodd i bobl newydd sydd â diddordeb i weithio yn y diwydiant i ffeindio'u llwybr i mewn i'r diwydiant. Mae o'n rhan o'r rheswm dŷn ni'n trefnu cynhadledd fel rhan o wŷl Sŵn eleni—digwyddiad dau ddiwrnod sydd, gobeithio, yn mynd i roi lot o wybodaeth i bobl sydd efo diddordeb i weithio yn y diwydiant, o ran sut i gael i mewn iddo fo, pa sectorau penodol i ganolbwyntio arnyn nhw—a gobeithio fydd e jest yn ysgogi diddordeb pobl. Fel mae'n digwydd, dŷn ni wedi cael cefnogaeth gan Llywodraeth Cymru i roi'r digwyddiad yma ymlaen. Beth sydd ddim ar gael efallai ydy ffynhonnell drwy'r flwyddyn i allu codi'r ffôn neu anfon e-bost a mynd, 'Dwi angen edrych i mewn i hyn. Dwi ddim yn gwybod sut i ddygymod efo hyn. Allwch chi roi cyngor i mi?' Does yna nunlle penodol, dwi ddim yn meddwl, ar hyn o bryd sydd yn cynnig hynna.   

In Wales, possibly not. I used to work for the Welsh Music Foundation and was then a member of the board of the foundation after moving on to work somewhere else, and that was a place where people could go to enquire not just in terms of the live music sector but the music sector in general. Since that has been wound up, there's no specific place for people who work in the music industry to go for advice, and that's something that I see as being lost, because it makes it increasingly difficult for people who have an interest in working in the industry to find their path into the industry. It's part of the reason why we organised a conference as part of Sŵn this year—a two-day event that will hopefully give a great deal of information to people who have an interest in working in the industry in terms of how to access industry, what specific sectors to focus on—and, hopefully, that will encourage interest. We've had support from the Welsh Government to hold that event. What isn't available, perhaps, is a year-long source, where you can pick up the phone or send an e-mail to say, 'I want to look into this. I don't know how to go about this. Can you give me some advice?' There's no specific place at the moment that offers that service. 

10:20

In RCT, we have the young promoters network, which is funded to support young people to get into the industry—very much aimed towards the industry, I think. They've been using our venue as one of a cluster; they go around and work in different venues in RCT. And I think they've been brilliant at promoting new bands—really, really supportive. They're a young team, and we also get the fallout from that, because people think you can come to the club and we're experts on everything. We're not actually geared up to it but, informally, we encourage people to do stuff in the club, and I always direct them to YPN if it's a young band, because they're geared up for it, really.   

Maen nhw'n dda iawn, yr young promoters network, ond, yn amlwg, maen nhw ond yn gweithredu mewn nifer gyfyngedig o ardaloedd—dwi'n meddwl yn y Cymoedd a Bro Morgannwg.   

Yes, they are very good, that network, but they operate only in a limited number of areas—I think the Valleys and in the Vale of Glamorgan.

So, byddai ehangu nhw ledled Cymru yn gam da ymlaen.  

So, expanding that provision across Wales would be a very good step forward. 

Okay. Moving on to the arts council, then, in terms of music venues, would you say that the arts council is a useful source of advice? 

Mae'n anodd. Dŷn ni wedi bod yn gweithio'n agos efo'r cyngor celfyddydau dros y cwpwl o flynyddoedd diwethaf, yn enwedig efo edrych i mewn i ailddatblygu Clwb Ifor Bach, ac mae cyngor y celfyddydau wedi bod yn gefnogol iawn o'n gwaith fanna. Fe wnaethon nhw roi nawdd i ni ar gyfer y cam cyntaf—yr astudiaeth ddichonoldeb—a hefyd dŷn ni wedi cael nawdd pellach ganddyn nhw nawr ar gyfer paratoi cyflwyno'r cais cynllunio, ac maen nhw wedi bod yn grêt ar yr ochr hynny. 

Dŷn ni hefyd wedi cael nawdd ganddyn nhw ar gyfer prosiectau penodol. Mae yna un daith y byddwn ni'n ei gwneud ym mis Hydref efo Blodau Papur—taith sy'n mynd â ni i bump lleoliad gwahanol o amgylch Cymru. Ond beth sydd ddim yna ar hyn o bryd—. Mae hyn yn dod i gwestiwn ehangach, dwi'n meddwl, ac mae'n rhywbeth dwi wedi ei ddodi yn fy ymateb i i'r ymgynghoriad, o ran sut mae canolfannau cerddoriaeth fyw yn cael eu gweld. Y broblem fawr sydd gennym ni o'r ochr drwyddedu, yr ochr nawdd, yr ochr cyngor y celfyddydau, o bosibl hefyd, ydy dydyn ni ddim yn cael ein gweld fel canolfannau celfyddydol yn yr un ffordd ag mae lleoedd megis Chapter neu Neuadd Dewi Sant yn cael eu gweld. Mae hynny â goblygiadau mawr i ni o ran yr ochr drwyddedu, achos mae yna reolau fwy caeth o ran nifer y bobl diogelwch mae'n rhaid i ni eu darparu, ac mae hynna yn cael effaith, yn amlwg, o ran costau trefnu digwyddiadau.

Mae hefyd yn cael effaith o ran ein gallu ni i gael nawdd craidd i gynnal rhaglen o ddigwyddiadau. Dwi'n meddwl bod yna dal perception o leoedd grass-roots fel commercial entities. Ond y gwirionedd amdani, yn ein hachos ni a Chlwb y Bont, yw ein bod ni'n fudiadau nid-er-elw, a dyw e ddim yn sector rwyt ti'n mynd iddo i wneud arian; mae'n gynyddol anodd i gynnal y lleoedd yma ac, yn draddodiadol, mae'r rhan fwyaf o'r lleoedd yma wedi bod yn gweithredu heb unrhyw nawdd rheolaidd i gefnogi yr hyn maen nhw'n ei wneud.         

It's difficult to say. We have been working closely with the arts council for a number of years, particularly as we're looking into redeveloping Clwb Ifor Bach, and the arts council has been very supportive of that work. They gave us some funding for the first stage—the feasibility study—and we are receiving further support with regard to preparing the planning application, and they have been great on that side of things. 

We've also received support from them for specific projects. There's one tour that we're doing in October with Blodau Papur, which will take us to five different venues around Wales. But what isn't there at the moment—. This comes to a wider question, I think, and it's something that I have put forward in my response to the inquiry, in terms of how live music venues are viewed. The problem that we have in terms of the licensing, the funding and the arts council side of things as well is that we're not seen as arts centres or cultural centres in the same way as places like Chapter or St David's Hall are seen. That has implications for us in terms of licensing, because there are more stringent rules in terms of safety and security that we have to adhere to, and that has an impact on us in terms of costs for organising events.

It also has an impact in terms of our ability to draw down core funding to hold a programme of events. I think there's still a perception of grass-roots venues as commercial entities. But the truth is that, in the case of Clwb y Bont and us, we're not-for-profit organisations. It's not a sector that you go into to make a lot of money; it's increasingly difficult to support and maintain these venues and, traditionally, the majority of these places have operated without any regular funding to support what they do.    

10:25

No, I don't think I will. I'll pass on that.

You mentioned, Guto, some of the funding issues, so if we move on to funding and the funding that the arts council provides, what would you say about the adequacy of that funding and any changes that need to be made—the way they fund by art form and the way they would fund music in terms of venues or artists, and the way that the funding is distributed?

Could I just say something quickly about that? I've just reminded myself that we actually do get support from the arts council with the Night Out circuit, which is a pot of money, which allows us to bring in BBC Horizons artists and we bring people down from north Wales, because we could never afford to bring an artist down from Bangor—just the transport costs would wipe out any fees for them. So, the arts council do support us regularly now, particularly to bring Welsh language artists from other parts of Wales down, which has been a really great help. We can now programme in people coming in about four or five times a year. It's really good.

Un peth sy'n werth ei nodi yn fan hyn, yn amlwg, yw ein bod ni'n gallu gwneud cais i'r cyngor celfyddydau, a Chlwb y Bont, gan fod y ddau ohonom ni'n fudiadau nid-er-elw. Mae'r mwyafrif o leoliadau cerddoriaeth fyw ddim yn dod o dan y diffiniad hwnnw gan eu bod nhw'n commercial businesses, gyda rhai yn ei ffeindio'n anodd iawn i weithredu o ran yr incwm sydd ar gael.

Mae gennym ni ddeialog cryf efo'r cyngor celfyddydau ac maen nhw'n gefnogol o brosiectau penodol pan fyddwn ni'n mynd atyn nhw efo syniadau. Mae yna gefnogaeth, yn amlwg, ar gyfer digwyddiadau trwy'r iaith Gymraeg ac mae yna anogaeth i roi mwy o ddigwyddiadau trwy'r iaith Gymraeg ymlaen, nid jest yng Nghaerdydd, ond trwy Gymru gyfan.

Y cwestiwn efallai ar gyfer y dyfodol: a ddylai llefydd fel Clwb cael eu hystyried fel revenue-funded organisations fel y byddai arian craidd yn dod atom ni i gefnogi ein rhaglen waith trwy gydol y flwyddyn, yn hytrach na'n bod ni'n gorfod mynd i drafod syniadau penodol i gael nawdd? Mae hwnnw'n gwestiwn. Dŷn ni yn cefnogi artistiaid newydd, a'r gwirionedd amdani i ni yw ein bod ni wedi rhoi bron i 100 o gigs ymlaen eleni—bandiau newydd o Gymru a thu hwnt—ac mae 40 ohonyn nhw wedi colli arian i ni, ond dŷn ni'n gwneud hynna yn y gobaith, y tro nesaf y byddan nhw'n dod i chwarae yng Nghaerdydd neu'r tro ar ôl hynny, y byddwn ni'n digolledu'r arian achos bydd cynulleidfa fwy yn dod. Ond, o'r 40 yna, efallai mai dim ond pump fydd yn cyrraedd cynulleidfa ddigonol i ddod â'r incwm yna yn ôl i mewn. Felly, mae yna risg fawr. Dŷn ni'n gorfod edrych ar y digwyddiadau yma fel cyfanwaith rownd y flwyddyn achos dŷn ni yn gwybod y bydd hyd at 40 y cant yn colli arian i ni, ond mae'n rhaid i ni dderbyn hwnna, ond ni sydd yn cymryd y golled. Pan fyddwch chi'n colli £4,000 neu £5,000 ar gig, mae'n gallu bod yn anodd. So, dyna'r peth.

Petasai yna raglen i gefnogi a buddsoddi mewn artistiaid newydd ac i weld rhyw ffordd o greu talent development, yna buasai hwnna'n rhywbeth y buaswn i'n ei groesawu. A phetasai modd gwneud hynny fel math o raglen ariannol flynyddol, buasai'n gwneud ein gwaith ni lot yn haws.

One thing that is worth noting here is that, clearly, we can make a bid to the arts council, and Clwb y Bont, because we are not-for-profit organisations. The majority of live music venues don't come under that definition as they are commercial businesses, with some finding it very difficult to operate in terms of the income that's available to them. 

We have good dialogue with the arts council and they're very supportive when we approach them with specific projects. When we go to them with ideas, there's support for events through the medium of Welsh and there's encouragement to hold more events through the medium of Welsh, not only in Cardiff, but throughout the rest of Wales.

The question for the future is whether venues such as Clwb should be considered as revenue-funded organisations so that there is core funding coming to us to support a work programme throughout the year, rather than having to go to discuss specific ideas for support. That's a question to be put. We do support new artists, and the truth is that we have put on over 100 gigs this year—new bands from Wales and beyond—and 40 of them have led to a loss for us, but we've done that in the hope that, the next time they come to Cardiff or the time after that, we will make up that loss because a larger audience will come. So, of that 40, perhaps only five will reach a sufficient audience to bring that income back into us. So, there is a lot of risk associated with this. We have to look at these events in a totality throughout the year, because up to 40 per cent of them will lead to a loss. We have to accept that, but we are the ones who are taking that hit, and when you're losing £4,000 or £5,000 on a gig, then it can be quite difficult. So, that's how it is.

If there were a programme to support and invest in new artists and to create a way forward in terms of talent development, then that's something we would welcome. And if that could be done in terms of an annual funding programme, that would make our work much easier.

I think that's fine, unless Terry wanted to add anything.

No, it's just the idea of having a cushion against loss—that would be excellent. It's about expanding that thing that the arts council are doing with the Night Out scheme. The artist is guaranteed to get paid, and it's not an embarrassment that we have to face that loss. Our losses are much smaller than Clwb Ifor Bach's for a gig—

A hefyd rwy’n teimlo buasem ni'n gallu bod yn fwy dewr o ran ein rhaglen a gwneud pethau dŷn ni'n gwybod sydd ddim yn mynd i fod yn fasnachol, ond efo amcanion eraill o ran datblygu cynulleidfa neu roi cyfle i sector o gynulleidfa sydd ddim yn cael digwyddiadau wedi'u trefnu iddyn nhw'n aml—ein bod ni'n gallu gwneud mwy o bethau felly, achos dŷn ni'n gwybod nad ŷm ni'n gorfod rhoi digwyddiadau ymlaen am resymau ariannol yn unig. Mae hwnnw'n rhywbeth sydd wastad y tu cefn i ni pan fyddwn ni'n trefnu pethau ar hyn o bryd.

I also feel that we could be braver in terms of our programme and do things that we know aren't going to be commercial, but that have other objectives in terms of developing an audience or providing an opportunity for a certain sector of an audience that doesn't have events organised for them very often—that we could do more of those things in the knowledge that we don't have to put the events on for commercial reasons only. That's something that we are always conscious of when we organise these events.

Rŷn ni wedi clywed rhywbeth tebyg gan y sector theatr a'r sector cerddoriaeth glasurol, sef fod pobl yn rhoi pethau ymlaen maen nhw'n gwybod eu bod nhw'n mynd i gael y cynulleidfaoedd ar eu cyfer nhw, yn hytrach na chymryd risg ar bethau mwy unigryw fyddai ddim yn dod â'r arian i mewn. So, diddorol. David Melding.

We heard something similar from the theatre sector and the classical music sector, in that people put events on knowing that they are going to attract those audiences, rather than perhaps taking the risk on those more unique events that perhaps won't bring in the funds. So, interesting. David Melding.

10:30

Thanks, Chair. I'd just like to ask a question on the planning side, and by planning I mean zoning and what developments sit side by side. I think it was quite helpful that the agent of change principle was introduced, but I just wonder how it's working in practice and whether it's enough or do you still have concerns, really, about the situation where there's more residential use in city centres designed sometimes for people who are perhaps not well suited to that more urban environment in terms of a busier city centre and noise and the like.

Yn amlwg, mae'r agent of change yn rhywbeth a ddaeth mewn yn dilyn ymgyrch Save Womanby Street dair blynedd yn ôl, pan oedd yna nifer o geisiadau i adeiladau hotel ac adeiladau flats yn yr adeilad drws nesaf i Clwb. Mae'n rhywbeth dŷn ni'n ei groesawu, yn amlwg, ond fy nealltwriaeth i ydy—. Ydy e yn y planning—? Ydy e'n ganllaw ar hyn o bryd, neu a ydy o'n gyfraith? Achos fy nealltwriaeth i yw ei fod e'n dal—fod y planning laws ond yn cael eu hadnewyddu bob rhyw bump i 10 mlynedd. So, ar hyn o bryd mae jest yn ganllaw, so mae yna dal bach o hyblygrwydd i ddatblygwyr ddod rownd y rheol. Ond, ie, mae'n rhywbeth, yn bendant, i'w groesawu.

Mae'r costau i lefydd fel Clwb neu Clwb y Bont o ran gorfod dygymod â rheoliadau sain sy'n cael eu gosod arnom ni yn aml yn mynd i fod yn ormod i fedru parhau fel busnes. Mae'n gallu costio degau o filoedd o bunnau. Rhan o'r rheswm dŷn ni'n edrych ar ailddatblygu Clwb ar hyn o bryd ydy, i ryw raddau, i wneud futureproofing o'r adeilad so ein bod ni'n sicrhau bod dim sŵn yn dod allan o'r Clwb; petai datblygiad yn digwydd yn yr ardal yn y dyfodol, ein bod ni wedi gwneud digon i fedru sicrhau dyw ein digwyddiadau ni ddim yn mynd i gael effaith ar unrhyw beth sy'n dod mewn i'r ardal.

Mae zoning yn rhywbeth buasai'n edrych yn haws. Fy nealltwriaeth i hefyd yw mai un o'r pethau gafodd ei drafod, ac mae'n debyg ei fod yn dal yn rhywbeth mae Cyngor Caerdydd yn edrych arno, ydy creu ardal fwy ddiwylliannol o fewn y ddinas, so bod ardaloedd penodol lle mae digwyddiadau cerddoriaeth fyw yn digwydd, wedyn ardaloedd efallai mwy penodol ar gyfer fflatiau a ballu. So, mae zoning yn rhywbeth i'w groesawu, ac mae'n rhywbeth sydd wedi gweithio'n dda mewn llawer o ddinasoedd eraill, dwi'n meddwl. Yng Nghanada, yn Montreal, mae'n rhywbeth sydd wedi dod mewn yn dilyn trafodaeth efo Sound Diplomacy, sef, yn amlwg, y cwmni y mae Cyngor Caerdydd wedi bod yn defnyddio i greu cynllun cerddoriaeth ar gyfer y ddinas. 

Clearly, the agent of change is something that came in following the Save Womanby Street campaign three years ago, when there were a number of applications to build a hotel and flats in the next-door building to Clwb. It's something that we welcome, obviously, but my understanding is—. Is it in the planning—? Is it guidance, or is it law? My understanding is that the planning laws are still—they are only being renewed every five to 10 years. So, at the moment it's guidance, so there is still some flexibility for developers to get around the rule. But, yes, it's something to be welcomed, definitely.

The costs for places such as Clwb or Clwb y Bont in terms of trying to cope with the sound regulations that are imposed on us often are going to be a challenge to continue as a business. It can cost tens of thousands of pounds. Part of the reason that we are looking at redeveloping Clwb now is to futureproof the building so that we can ensure that no sound escapes, and that, if a development happens in the area in the future, we've done enough to ensure that our events aren't going to have an impact on anything that comes into the area.

Zoning is something that that would appear to be easier. My understanding is that one of the things that was discussed, and I know that this is something that Cardiff Council is looking at, is the creation of a cultural area within the city so that there are specific areas where live music events happen, and then specific areas for flats and so forth. So, zoning is something to be welcomed, and it is something that has worked very well in many other cities, I think. In Canada, in Montreal, it's something that's come in following a discussion with Sound Diplomacy, which is the company that Cardiff Council has been using to create a music plan for the city.

I think the problem with soundproofing doesn't only happen in the city, mind. Because we're in our own little lane just off the main street, and, as I say, we've got a courtyard, we own our own building, and we're very lucky that the estate agents at the top of the lane have never complained about the sound, because they're never there in the offices. But, one day, if they do actually turn those into flats, those offices, because of the agent of change law—or just rules or guidance—it's up to them to make sure that they've worked on their building rather than ours to futureproof it sort of thing. That's part of the reason why we'd like to develop the upper floors of our buildings, because we can actually make it more soundproof, because at the moment the sound does tend to go through the roof. But no-one complains because we're actually out of the way. 

I think people have—. There have always been some people who have chosen to live in city centres, town centres, where there's a night economy, and they've made a choice. Some mix, I think, is quite reasonable, but there's a kind of natural level to it, because most people might want a more predictable quiet, which is fine if that's what they want. But students, younger professionals, and to some extent the hotel business, I suppose—. So, that kind of balance existed for a long time, I think it's fair to say, isn't it? And then 10, 20 years ago, we were suddenly hit by a development going in, getting planning permission, and then afterwards saying, 'Oh, by the way, there's a lot of noise here; I really want something done about it.' That's what we need to guard against. I think the cultural quarters and safeguarding those is—. It could, in part, be that, but it also offers some protection, doesn't it, that we don't turn our city areas, particularly Cardiff, I think, Ponty maybe as well, into highly commercial, fairly narrow range, which don't have—I don't want to say scruffier clubs or something, but there is a certain ambience, isn't there, about music venues, which people like, and it doesn't look the same as a gigantic chain store or a swish chain restaurant or something. So, is that what you think, in terms of the cultural safeguarding, that we might be looking at? 

10:35

Ie, yn bendant, achos y llefydd annibynnol, unigryw sy'n creu y ddinas. Dŷn ni ddim eisiau creu sefyllfa lle—

Certainly, because the independent places, the unique places, are what creates the city. And we don't want to create a situation—

'Patina' would have been a better word than 'scruffy'; I do apologise. 

I'll take 'scruffy'. [Laughter.] 

Mae pawb yn gwybod am Glwb Ifor Bach; mae pawb efo profiadau maen nhw wedi eu cael yno dros y 30 mlynedd diwethaf, ac mae o'n lle mae pobl yn adnabod am Gaerdydd. Petasai Caerdydd yn troi mewn i ddinas lle mae'r un chain restaurants a'r un chain clubs â phob dinas arall, beth sy'n ei wneud e'n unigryw? A dyna, dwi'n meddwl, pam mae pobl wedi bod mor passionate am y sefyllfa efo Womanby Street, sefyllfa Gwdihw—maen nhw'n teimlo taw'r llefydd yma, y canolfannau celfyddydol yma, sydd yn creu enaid y ddinas, ac mae nhw'n teimlo'n gryf, a dwi'n cytuno, fod angen amddiffyn nhw gymaint ag ydyn ni'n gallu, achos beth yw Caerdydd, neu beth yw Pontypridd, oni bai yn y llefydd mae pobl yn cysylltu â ac yn adnabod am y trefi a'r dinasoedd yna?

Everyone knows about Clwb Ifor Bach, and everyone has experiences that they've had there over the last 30 years, and it is a place that people know Cardiff for. If Cardiff were to turn into a city where you had the same chain restaurants and clubs as any other city, what makes it unique? And that's why I think people have been so passionate about the Womanby Street and Gwdihw situations—they feel that these places, these arts centres, do create the soul of the city, and they feel very strongly, and I agree, that we need to protect them as much as we can, because what is Cardiff, or what is Pontypridd, unless in these places that people know about in terms of these cities and towns?

I remember that, years ago, there was a big movement in Cardiff about the 18-hour city, and the town was being encouraged to put more housing back into the city centre. And I think people were forgetting the fact that there would be then a lot of noise, social things going on, music. And part of that is the buzz of living in the city, and what do you do about that? What happens now is that music venues tend to have live music until 11 a.m., which—. They have their own curfews. We could actually play music—we do play music—until 1 a.m. because we can; we don't have any neighbours to disturb, yet. But most bands are gobsmacked if you say, 'Yes, you can play until midnight', because they're just not used to it. 

And the other thing is that, with the Music Venue Trust, we had a lot of information from them about the European perspective, and, as I understand it, small towns like Pontypridd, which is a university town, are actually subsidised to keep their students within the town after they've left their courses. So, what you do is—it's such an attractive thing to have live music venues in a place like Pontypridd, because they don't have to come down to Cardiff to hear live music. And, last night, we had our first LGBT group there, and that was the first time we've actually had students in doing their own event, but also we had a lot of students coming in this year; I don't know why it's this year, it might be a change in the weather or something, but they're coming in from—. They're foreign students, and they said, 'We don't want to go to Weatherspoons; (a) there's no music, but also there's no atmosphere', and they want to support us because they believe in the ethos of what we're doing. So, we're going in the right direction, I think, with keeping our uniqueness, and we're negotiating how we can keep the peace in the town. We don't want to upset our neighbours.

You didn't want me to do licensing, did you? Is that—?

No, Carwyn's doing licensing and we'll come back to you for business rates. Carwyn Jones. 

Diolch, Gadeirydd. Dyw'r system drwyddedu ddim wedi cael ei datganoli eto. Fe ddaw e, mae'n siŵr, mewn amser, ond bydd e'n ddiddorol i ni i gyd wybod beth yw'r problemau ynglŷn â'r system drwyddedu presennol. Mi wnaethoch chi sôn, Guto, yn gynharach ynglŷn â'r gwahaniaeth rhwng canolfannau sy'n cael eu sefydlu fel canolfannau celfyddyd a chanolfannau sy'n cael eu hystyried fel clybiau nos, os caf i ddweud hynny. Fe wnaethoch chi sôn wrthyf i fod eisiau mwy o bobl ynglŷn â diogelwch ac yn y blaen. A allwch chi roi rhai enghreifftiau i ni o beth yw'r pethau ychwanegol mae'n rhaid i chi eu gwneud o'i gymharu ag, er enghraifft, Chapter?

Thank you, Chair. The new licensing system has not been devolved yet. We want to address this issue in time, but it's interesting for us to see what the problems are in terms of the licensing system at present. You mentioned, Guto, earlier the difference between arts centres and centres that are considered to be nightclubs, if I can use that term. You mentioned the fact that you need more security officers and so forth. Could you give us some examples of those additional things that you have to do, compared with, for example, Chapter?

10:40

Y broblem bennaf ydy yn ein trwydded ni, sy'n nodi'n glir faint o bobl ddiogelwch dŷn ni angen eu cael yn unol â nifer y bobl sy'n dod mewn i'r adeilad. Dwi'n meddwl bod y canllawiau ar gyfer night-time economy venues, fel buasen nhw'n eu galw nhw, yn dipyn mwy llym na beth buasai yn ei le ar gyfer canolfannau celfyddydol.

So, er enghraifft, mae ein gigs ni yn Clwb yn dal 250 o bobl i fyny grisiau; yn unol â'r rheolau trwyddedu buasai angen pedwar o bobl diogelwch arnom ni, so mae hynny'n £250 yn ychwanegol at y gig, cyn sôn am dalu bandiau a dim byd arall. Pe buasech chi'n cael gig yn Neuadd Dewi Sant i bron i 1,000 o bobl, neu dros 1,000 o bobl, maen nhw ond angen cwpwl o bobl diogelwch i edrych ar ôl pobl yn dod mewn ac i sicrhau eu bod nhw'n dod allan. So, mae yna bedwar ymlaen am y noson yn y fanna. Wel, mae yna gost eto—£250—iddyn nhw, ond mae gyda nhw gynulleidfa o 1,000 o bobl ac mae gennym ni gynulleidfa o chwarter hynny. A dwi jest—.

Dwi'n meddwl ei fod e achos—. Y ddadl dŷn ni'n ei chael ydy, 'Wel, mae'n rhaid ichi gael y bobl diogelwch yma achos bod chi'n gwerthu alcohol'. Wel, eto, mae'r canolfannau celfyddydol eraill yn gwerthu alcohol. Dwi jest yn teimlo ein bod ni'n cael ein gweld—fod angen split yn y diffiniad, mewn ffordd, fel bod y digwyddiadau sy'n cael eu cynnal tan 11 p.m. efallai'n cael eu gweld fel rhai celfyddydol, os maen nhw'n gerddoriaeth byw, comedi neu beth bynnag, ac, ar ôl 11 p.m.—achos mi ydym ni ar agor ar ôl 11 p.m.; tan 4 o'r gloch y bore ar y penwythnosau—bod y rhai yna wedyn yn dod o fewn o dan sector y night-time economy. Buasai'n ei wneud lot yn haws o ran y costau o roi digwyddiad ymlaen.

Hefyd, rhowch y gallu i ni wneud y risk assessment o ran faint o ddiogelwch—achos mae yna rhai gigs dŷn ni'n eu rhoi ymlaen, ie, mae angen tri o bobl diogelwch, achos mae'r gynulleidfa'n eithaf bywiog, ond gallwn ni gael 250 o bobl yna ar gyfer gig gwerin a buasen ni'n dal yn gorfod rhoi'r un nifer o bobl diogelwch ymlaen, a dŷn nhw ddim cweit mor fywiog efallai fel cynulleidfa. [Chwerthin.] Beth sy'n ei wneud o'n waeth ydy, mewn gig comedi, does yna ddim rheidrwydd arnom ni i gael pobl diogelwch ymlaen o gwbl, so—. Dŷn ni dal yn gwerthu alcohol i'r gynulleidfa yna, ond mae'r rheolau'n wahanol.

Dwi'n meddwl bod yna elfen o risg wastad yn mynd i fod o roi digwyddiad ymlaen. Dŷn ni'n brofiadol iawn yn gwybod pa fath o gynulleidfa sy'n dod i ddigwyddiadau gwahanol, a dŷn ni'n ymateb i'r risg yna. Dylai fod yn fater i ni weithio hynny allan ar gyfer digwyddiadau cerddoriaeth fyw, yn hytrach efallai na bod rheol gadarn o ran trwyddedu sydd yn costio degau o filoedd o bunnau i ni bob blwyddyn.

Pwynt ychwanegol ydy mae hefyd—. Mae'r rheolau trwyddedu wedi'i wneud o'n anodd iawn dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf inni gynnal digwyddiadau i bobl dan 18. Mi oeddem ni'n arfer gwneud gigs 14-plus, so unwaith roeddet ti'n troi'n 14 mi allet ti ddod i gig ar ben dy hun heb dy riant. Dŷn ni nawr wedi gorfod newid i 16 a dŷn ni ond yn gallu eu gwneud nhw yng nghanol yr wythnos, dim ar y penwythnos, oherwydd yr adborth dŷn ni wedi'i gael gan yr adran drwyddedu. Eto, y ddadl sy'n cael ei rhoi ydy: 'Wel, dŷch chi'n gwerthu alcohol ac mae yna bobl dan 18 yna—dŷch chi angen rheoli hynny'. Ond, eto, dos di i unrhyw ganolfan gelfyddydol sy'n rhoi gigs ymlaen, ac mae yna alcohol ar werth yn y fanna. So, dwi jest ddim yn gweld—naill ai nid oes dim cysondeb, neu dyw grass-roots music venues ddim yn cael eu gweld yn yr un modd â llefydd celfyddydol eraill.

Dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n un o'r pethau mwyaf buaswn i'n edrych i'w gael allan o'r ymgynghoriad yma: sut mae llefydd fath â Clwb yn cael eu diffinio gan yr awdurdodau, gan y bobl sy'n gyfrifol am nawdd neu beth bynnag. Achos dŷn ni yn gyfrifol am roi lle i ddatblygu talentau'r dyfodol o ran cerddoriaeth fyw, dŷn ni yn gyfrifol am roi lle cymunedol i bobl ddod i weld cerddoriaeth fyw, a dŷn ni nid er elw. Dŷn ni'n gwmni buddiant cymunedol, so dŷn ni'n gwneud hyn dros y gymuned yng Nghaerdydd, ond eto mae lot o'r rheoliadau sydd yn ein hamgylchynu ni yn rhai sydd yn eu lle ar gyfer clybiau nos fel Pryzm neu beth bynnag. Dwi jest yn teimlo, wel, mae'n ddigon anodd inni fel ag y mae—beth am ei wneud o bach yn haws, er mwyn inni allu rhoi mwy o ddigwyddiadau ymlaen, a chefnogi mwy o artistiaid, a rhoi mwy o gyfleoedd i bobl ddod i'w gweld nhw'n chwarae.

The main problem is that our licence notes clearly how many security staff we need according to the number of people who can come into the building. I think that the guidance for the night-time economy venues, as they're called, is slightly more stringent than the guidance in place for arts centres.

So, an example for you: our gigs in Clwb hold 250 people upstairs; according to the licensing rules we'd need four security staff, so that's a cost of £250 in addition, without mentioning paying for the band and so on. If you had a gig in St David's Hall for almost 1,000 people, or over 1,000 people, they only need a couple of security people to look after the people entering the building and to make sure that they exit safely. So, there are four people on there. There's a cost there of, again, £250, but they have an audience of 1,000 people there and we have an audience of 250. And I just—.

I think it's because—. So, the argument that we get is, 'Well, you have to have these security people there because you're selling alcohol'. Well, again, the other arts centres sell alcohol. So, I just feel that we're seen as—or, rather, that we need a split in the definition, so that the events that are held until 11 o'clock are perhaps seen as artistic or cultural, if they're comedy, live music and so on, but after 11 p.m.—because we are open after 11 p.m.; until 4 a.m. on weekends—they're part of the night-time economy sector. That split would make it much easier in terms of the cost of putting on events.

Also, give us the ability to undertake the risk assessment in terms of how many security staff we need—because there are some gigs where, yes, we do need three security staff, because they're quite a lively audience. But we can have 250 there for a folk music event and we'd still have to have all of those security staff, and the audience for that might not be quite as lively. [Laughter.] What makes it worse is, for a comedy event, we don't have to have any security staff at all, so—. We're still selling alcohol to that audience, but the rules are different again for that.

So, there is an element of risk always associated with holding an event, but we're very experienced in knowing what kind of audience tends to come to different events, and we respond to that risk. It should be a matter for us to work that out for live music events, rather than it being a hard-and-fast rule in our licence that costs tens of thousands of pounds for us every year.

An additional point is that—. The licensing rules have made it very difficult over the past years to hold events for those under 18 years of age. So, we used to have 14-plus gigs. So, once you'd turned 14, you could come to a gig without your parent or guardian. We've now had to change that to 16, and we can only hold those events during the week, rather than at the weekends, because of the feedback that we've had from the licensing department. Again, the argument that's put forward is, 'You're selling alcohol and people under 18 are there—you need to manage that'. But, again, if you go to any arts centre that puts on gigs, there is alcohol available there too. So, either there's no consistency or grass-roots music venues aren't seen in the same way as other arts venues.

I think that that's one of the major issues that I would look to get out of this inquiry: how places like Clwb are being defined by the authorities, by funding organisations and so on. Because we are responsible for providing a venue to develop talent for the future, in terms of live music, we're responsible for giving a community space for people to come to see live music, and we're not for profit. So, we are a community benefit group, so we do this for the community in Cardiff, but many of the regulations surrounding us are the same regulations as for places nightclubs like Pryzm and so on. I just feel that it's hard enough for us as it is, so please make it a little bit easier for us, so that we can hold more events, and support more artists, and provide more opportunities for people to come and see them play.

10:45

Mae hwnna'n ddiddorol. Mae hwnna'n rhywbeth i'w ystyried yn fwy manwl, dwi'n credu, mewn amser. Cwestiwn bach arall: ynglŷn â Deddf Cerddoriaeth Fyw 2012, ydy hynny wedi gwneud pethau'n waeth neu'n well i chi'ch dau? 

That's interesting and something to be considered in more detail, I think, in time. One other little question: in terms of the Live Music Act 2012, has that made things worse or better for both of you?

Mae'n bosib ei fod e'n neud e'n anoddach, achos cyn y Ddeddf cerddoriaeth fyw, os oedden ni'n rhedeg rhywbeth fel clwb aelodau—ni oedd yr unig le oedd ar agor ar ôl 11.00 y.h. yn Womanby Street. Nawr, mae pobman ar agor, sydd wedi ei wneud yn anoddach. Ond y broblem ydy, buaswn i'n dweud, gan fod tafarndai a ballu'n gallu rhoi bandiau ymlaen, ac, yn aml, yn gwneud hynny er mwyn dod â chynulleidfa mewn, a ddim yn codi ar y drws, mae o wedi gwneud i bobl feddwl bod dim angen talu i fynd i weld bandiau'n perfformio. Beth sy'n od ydy, dydy pobl ddim yn cwyno am dalu £40 i fynd i weld band yn Motorpoint, ond os wyt ti'n gofyn iddyn nhw dalu £8 neu £9 punt i ddod i weld band yn Clwb, 'Wel, mae hwnna bach yn ddrud, dyw e ddim?' Dwi ddim yn gwybod os mai oherwydd bod y lefel y production dŷn ni yn gallu cynnig ddim i'r un lefel a beth fuaset ti'n ei gael yn Motorpoint, neu fod pobl jest yn llai parod i fuddsoddi mewn artistiaid newydd. Neu, ydy e achos eu bod nhw'n gyfarwydd â gweld bandiau yn perfformio mewn tafarndai lle dŷn nhw ddim yn gorfod talu ac yn meddwl, 'Wel, pam dwi'n gorfod talu i fynd i'w gweld nhw fanna?'

Possibly it's made it harder, because before the live music Act, if we ran something like a members club—we were the only place that was open after 11.00 p.m. on Womanby Street. Now, everybody's open, which has made it harder for us. But the problem, I would say, is that because pubs and so on can hold live music events, and, quite often, do that in order to bring an audience in, and they don't charge on the door, it's made people think that they don't have to pay to go to see bands performing. What's odd is that people don't complain about paying £40 to go and see a band in the Motorpoint arena, but if you ask them to pay £8 or £9 to go and see a band in Clwb, they think, 'Well, that's a little bit expensive, isn't it?' I don't know whether that's because of the level of production that we can provide, and that's not at the same level as you'd have in the Motorpoint, or that people are just less willing to invest in new artists. Or whether it's because they're familiar with seeing bands performing in pubs where they don't have to pay anything and think, 'Well, why do I have to pay to go to see them there?'

So, mewn ffordd, yn y dyddiau pan oedd stop tap am 11.00 y.h., yn Womanby Street roedd yr Horse and Groom, y Dog and Duck—yn un arall oedd ar agor ar ôl 11.00y.h.—ac wedyn Clwb. Mae e fel petasech chi'n dweud bod pobl nawr yn meddwl, 'Wel, pam oes eisiau talu £8 neu £9 i fynd mewn i gael cwpwl o beints ar ôl 11.00y.h., os ŷn ni'n gallu mynd i rywle arall a'i gael e am ddim a ddim gorfod talu?' 

So, in a way, in the days when stop tap was at 11 o'clock, in Womanby Street there was the Horse and Groom, the Dog and Duck—another one that was open after 11.00 p.m.—and then Clwb. It's as if you're saying that people now think, 'Well, why do I need to pay £8 or £9 to go and have a couple of pints after 11,00 p.m., if we can go somewhere else and get it for nothing and don't have to pay anything?'

Wel, mae e fwy o ran cerddoriaeth fyw, achos un o'r pethau roedd y live music Act yn ei wneud oedd ei wneud o lot yn haws i dafarndai—unrhyw le—i roi bandiau ymlaen heb eu bod nhw'n gorfod cael trwydded benodol i wneud hynny. So, dwi'n meddwl, os oedd y lle yn dal llai na 200 neu 300, neu rywbeth felly, doedd dim angen premises licence neu rywbeth ychwanegol—dwi ddim yn cofio'r manylion. Ac wedyn mi oedd yna gyfnod, ac mae'n dal i ddigwydd, lle'r oedd tafarndai'n gweld hwn fel opsiwn—'Wel, os wnawn ni roi ryw covers band ymlaen yn y gornel, gwneith o ddod â phobl mewn, gwnawn ni wneud pres ar y bar, ond gwnawn ni ddim codi ar y drws er mwyn cael y gynulleidfa mewn.' Wel, dŷn ni ddim yn gallu fforddio dweud hynny, achos os nad ŷn ni'n codi ar y drws, dŷn ni ddim yn gallu talu'r staff, dŷn ni ddim yn gallu talu'r bandiau—dyw incwm y bar ddim yn ddigonol.

Elfen arall oedd yr elfen agor yn hwyr. Roedd rhaid inni weithio'n galetach i gyfiawnhau perswadio pobl i ddod i Clwb, ar ôl 11.00 p.m., pan oedden nhw'n gallu aros yn y City Arms tan 2 o'r gloch y bore, so roedd angen rhoi—. Ond o ran y gerddoriaeth fyw, na, dyna'r broblem. Mae wedi'i wneud e'n haws rhoi bandiau ymlaen, ond mae wedi'i wneud o'n anodd, efallai, i lefydd arbenigol sy'n rhoi cerddoriaeth ymlaen, o bosib.

Well, it's more in terms of live music, because one of the things that the live music Act has done is made it much easier for pubs or any venue to put bands on without them having to have a specific licence to do so. So, I think, if a place held fewer than 200 or 300 people, or something like that, you didn't need a premises licence or something in addition—I don't remember the details. And then there was a period, and it still happens now, where pubs saw this as an option—'Well, if we put a covers band on in the corner, it will bring people in, it will make money on the bar, and we won't charge on the door in order to attract that audience.' Well, we can't afford to do that, because if we don't charge on the door, we can't pay the staff, we can't pay the bands—the bar income is insufficient.

Another element was that element of opening late. We had to work harder to justify and persuade people to come to Clwb after 11.00, when they could stay in the City Arms until 2.00 a.m., so there was a need to put—. But in terms of live music, no, that's the problem. It's made it's easier to put bands on, but it's made it harder, perhaps, for the specialist places that put bands on.

We've got a balance to have in our club. We're such a small venue, we can't charge every night to come and see some of the artists that we have. Most of the artists in the week don't get paid to perform. They're coming in because they're in the jazz society or the folk society or whatever, and some of the bands that we have on the weekend also are doing it for the love of it, I think. Even though they're, I would say, professional, they're not making money out of it. So, we have to take a hit sometimes where we can't charge on the door, where we know that if we do, we won't be getting anyone through the door, because it's a new band and nobody knows them. We're not giving them something that they know and love. We have to take that hit sometimes. It is just a big risk every weekend.

Ac mae o'n mynd nôl i'r pwynt a wnaethpwyd yn gynharach: petasai yna revenue funding ar gael i lefydd sy'n rhoi rhaglen o gerddoriaeth fyw ymlaen, mae e'n golygu gallem ni gymryd fwy o risg. Ond buasai'n golygu hefyd y buasem ni'n gallu sybsideiddio rhai o'r digwyddiadau lle dŷn ni'n teimlo bod angen bach o incentive i gael cynulleidfa mewn i wylio artistiaid newydd. So, mae'n hwyluso'r broses, felly. 

And it goes back to the point that was made earlier that if there was revenue funding available for locations that do provide a live music programme, it means that we could take more risk. But it would also mean that we could subsidise some of the events where we feel that there is a little incentive needed to attract an audience to see new artists. So, it does facilitate the process.

Dof i nôl at hwnna yn nes ymlaen, os gallaf i. Jest un peth arall ynglŷn â thrwyddedu—un o'r pethau gafodd ei godi, yn ystod y digwyddiad gawson ni'n anffurfiol yn y Tramshed yn ddiweddar, oedd y mater o broffilio hiliol, ynglŷn â digwyddiadau oedd yn cael eu nodi fel digwyddiadau risg uchel. Ydy hwn yn rhywbeth sydd wedi effeithio arnoch chi o gwbl? Ydych chi wedi'i weld e o gwbl, ac os ŷch chi wedi, beth oedd yr effaith?

I'll come on to that later, if I may. Just one more thing in terms of licensing—one of the things that arose, in the informal event that we had in the Tramshed recently, was the issue of racial profiling, in terms of events that were designated as high risk. Is that something that has affected you at all? Have you seen it at all, and if you have, what was the impact?

10:50

Mae hwnna’n gwestiwn anodd ei ateb ar hyn o bryd. Rŷn ni'n dal mewn perthynas â swyddogion trwyddedu Caerdydd. Efallai y buasai’n rhywbeth y buaswn i’n—. Mae e’n rhywbeth dwi’n gwybod sydd wedi cael ei godi yn yr ymgynghoriad a wnaethpwyd gan Sound Diplomacy, a dwi’n cymryd ei fod e’n rhywbeth sydd yn cael ei drafod. Gaf fi ei adael o fanna, ar hyn o bryd?

That's a difficult question to ask. We're still in discussions with the licensing officials at Cardiff Council. That might be something that—. Well, it is something that I know has been raised in the consultation held by Sound Diplomacy, and I take it that that's something that's still being discussed. Can I leave it there for now?

We do get profiling on different gigs, and there are gigs happening, coming up, that we're planning with the university—there may be questions coming up about some of the gigs that we're bringing in the future. It's something that I really can't talk about, really, at the moment.

Not yet, but we take a risk assessment on every gig we do, and we are taking advice on some of the gigs that we're bringing in as we're trying new things out. So, we want to make sure they're successful.

Ie, wel, mae’n amlwg bod yna ryw stori yna sydd ddim yn mynd i gael ei ddweud heddiw, ond efallai, Gadeirydd—. Mae’n amlwg bod yna—efallai fod yna dystiolaeth yna. Os oes unrhyw ffordd i gael y dystiolaeth yna mewn ffordd sydd yn rhoi hyder i’n tystion heddiw, efallai bydd hwnna’n rhywbeth y gallwn ni ei ystyried yn nes ymlaen.

Yes, well, it's clear that there is a story there that we're not going to uncover today, but perhaps, Chair—. It's clear—perhaps there is evidence there. If we could have that evidence that gives our witnesses confidence today, perhaps that's something we could consider later on.

Ie. Fe wnawn ni edrych mewn i’r peth. Gwnaethon ni ei glywed e yn y Tramshed, felly mae’n dystiolaeth sydd wedi cael ei chlywed, ond dwi’n cydnabod eich bod mewn trafodaethau ar hyn y bryd, felly mae’n sensitif, ond fe wnawn ni edrych mewn i’r peth.

Dŷn ni angen symud ymlaen achos dŷn ni wedi mynd dros amser, ond dŷn ni’n aros am y tystion eraill. Mae yna gwestiynau pwysig, dwi’n credu, ar ardrethu busnes, so mae David Melding yn mynd i’w gofyn nhw.

Yes, we'll look into it. We heard about it in the Tramshed, so it is evidence that has been heard, but we recognise that you are in discussions at the moment, so it's very sensitive, but we'll look into this issue further.

We need to move on because we've gone over time, but we're waiting for the next witnesses. We do have important questions on business rates, so David Melding's going to ask those.

Yes. I think there was a gentle decline in the multiplier for business rates from 2010 to 2017; obviously there was the change in 2017. So, where are you now with business rates and how big a cost is it for you? And in terms of the planning of your cultural activities, how much does it restrict what you can do, in effect?

Dyw e ddim wedi cynyddu cymaint ag yr oeddwn i’n ei ragweld yn yr asesiad diwethaf. Dwi’n ymwybodol o rai llefydd lle mae’r cynnydd wedi bod yn aruthrol ac wedi cael effaith andwyol ar eu gallu nhw i fedru parhau fel busnes. Mae e’n swm nid ansylweddol ond, am ba bynnag reswm, dyw e ddim wedi newid llawer dros y 10 mlynedd diwethaf.

Dŷn ni yn y broses, fel mae’n digwydd, o wneud cais i lunio elusen i edrych ar ôl ochr gelfyddydol ein gweithgaredd ni yng Nghlwb Ifor Bach. Pe bai’r cais yna’n llwyddiannus, yn amlwg mi fydd, gobeithio, y trethi lleol yn rhywbeth y byddwn ni’n gallu delio â nhw. Achos mae lot o ganolfannau cerddoriaeth fyw, erbyn hyn, yn gwmnïau buddiant cymunedol, ond am wahanol resymau, does dim llawer ohonyn nhw wedi ffurfio fel elusen. Dwi’n ymwybodol o un ym Manceinion, ond mae’n bosibl taw ni, os byddwn ni’n llwyddiannus, fydd un o’r rhai cyntaf eraill i wneud hynny. A dwi’n meddwl, o edrych ar y trafferthion mae’r sector wedi’u cael, a pha mor anodd mae wedi bod i’r sector, a’r ffaith bod nawdd yn anodd cael gafael arno, dylai, efallai, edrych ar yr opsiwn i ffurfio elusen fod yn rhywbeth buasai mwy o leoliadau yn ei wneud er mwyn agor mwy o ddrysau i nawdd posibl i fedru eu cynorthwyo nhw efo’u rhaglen. Ond hefyd, mae’n amlwg mae ganddo oblygiadau o ran trethi lleol wedyn hefyd.

It hasn't increased as much as I foresaw in the last assessment. I'm aware of some places where the increase has been enormous and has had a detrimental impact on their efforts to continue as a business. It's not an unsubstantial sum but, for whatever reason, it hasn't changed much for us over the last 10 years.

We're in the process, as it happens, of making a bid to have a charity to look after the arts activities at Clwb Ifor Bach, and if that bid was successful, then the local tax rates would be something we'd hopefully be able to deal with there. Many live music venues are, by now, community-benefit organisations, but for different reasons, they're not set up as charities. I know that there's one in Manchester, but if we're successful with our bid, we might be one of the other first ones to do that. But in looking at the difficulties that the sector's had and how difficult it's been for the sector, and the fact that funding is difficult to obtain, looking at the option of forming a charity is something that more locations should look at in order to open more funding doors to support them with their programmes. But evidently, it then has implications in terms of local taxation as well.

There are obviously various schemes of relief; they're usually based on turnover, not profit. I suspect your turnover is too large for most of the schemes available. Is that right?

Yes. I think so, yes.

I'm happy to say that our finance person is happy with our rates, surprisingly. When I brought it up, he said, 'We’re comfortable with it.' I think it’s because of our small turnover and where we are.

10:55

Are there any other schemes around the UK, perhaps in England, where you don’t have to go through the route of becoming a charity—that they identify cultural, perhaps particularly smaller cultural organisations or businesses, one-offs if they’re not part of a chain or anything?

Dwi'n ymwybodol bod y Music Venue Trust yn trio codi San Steffan i gael rate relief ar gyfer canolfannau cerddoriaeth fyw. Roedd o'n rhywbeth a oedd wedi cael tipyn o gefnogaeth, ond dwi'n meddwl oherwydd pethau eraill sy'n mynd ymlaen yna ar hyn o bryd ei fod e wedi mynd ar y back burner.

I'm aware of the Music Venue Trust trying to raise the issue in Westminster of having rate relief for live music venues. It was something that had a lot of support, but I think that because of the other events that are happening there now it has fallen by the wayside.

I can't possibly think what you're referring to. [Laughter.] That's all I've got.

Ocê, jest cwestiwn clou nawr i orffen ynglŷn â datblygu dawn. Dŷn ni wedi cyffwrdd tipyn bach arno fe. Carwyn Jones.

Okay, just a quick question to finish in terms of talent development. We have touched on it a bit. Carwyn Jones.

Rŷn ni wedi, ac roeddwn i'n moyn jest mynd yn ôl i'r pwynt yna y gwnaethon ni ei ddechrau yn gynharach, sef y ffrwd o dalent. Yn gyntaf, cyn ein bod ni'n symud ymlaen i'r syniad o gael rhyw fath o gyllido refeniw, ydy'r ffrwd yn dal i fod yna? Ydy e dal yn llifo yn y ffordd y dylai, neu ydy pethau wedi newid?

Yes, we have, and I just want to go back to that point that we started to make earlier, namely the talent stream or pipeline. First of all, before we move on to this idea of having some kind of revenue funding, is the pipeline still there? Is it still flowing in the way that it should, or have things changed?

Ydy. Dim ond yn yr wythnos diwethaf yma—. Sam Fender, artist y gwnaeth Sŵn roi ymlaen yn 10 Feet Tall 18 mis yn ôl—mae tocynnau wedi mynd ar werth ar gyfer gig yn y Motorpoint y bore yma. So, mewn 18 mis mae e wedi mynd o leoliad a oedd yn dal 100 o bobl i leoliad sy'n dal 7,000. Ac mae yna esiamplau di-ri fel hynny o artistiaid sy'n dod trwyddo.

Dwi wastad yn dweud, dŷn ni'n cael bandiau ar y ffordd i fyny, a dŷn ni'n eu cael nhw ar y ffordd nôl i lawr. Coldplay llynedd—gwnaeth Coldplay chwarae yn Clwb yn 2002. Pan wnaethon nhw wneud dwy gig yn y stadiwm llynedd, gwnaethon nhw ddweud nad ydyn nhw wedi bod yng Nghaerdydd ers iddyn nhw chwarae Clwb 15 mlynedd yn ôl, a rhan o hynny ydy bod yna ddiffyg isadeiledd yn y ddinas i'w cael nhw pan maen nhw'n chwarae i 1,000 o bobl, 2,000 o bobl, 5,000 neu 10,000. Ond galla i restru degau o artistiaid sydd wedi dechrau gan deithio o amgylch llefydd megis Clwb, sydd bellach erbyn hyn yn perfformio mewn arenas neu'n 'headline-io' festivals. A dwi'n meddwl bod ystadegau diweddar yn dweud bod 60 y cant o'r arena-level artists wedi dechrau eu gyrfa mewn canolfannau megis Clwb. A dyna'r pwynt—heb lefydd fel ni, dyw bandiau ddim yn cychwyn. Dyna le maen nhw'n datblygu eu crefft, gweld beth sy'n gweithio, ond hefyd dyna le maen nhw'n datblygu cynulleidfa. Os ydyn nhw'n mynd ar daith yn gwneud 10 dyddiad rownd Prydain, yn chwarae i 200 o bobl yr un, ac wedyn pan maen nhw'n dod i'r gwyliau yn yr haf, mae 200 o bobl o'r lleoliadau yna i gyd, ac wedyn mae 2,000 o bobl yn eu gwylio nhw. Wedyn mae'n datblygu ac yn adeiladu, ac os oes ganddyn nhw'r ymroddiad a'r caneuon, yna maen nhw'n gallu gwneud gyrfa allan ohono fo.

Yes. Just in this last week—. Sam Fender, an artist that Sŵn put on at 10 Feet Tall 18 months ago—tickets have gone on sale for a gig at the Motorpoint this morning. So, in 18 months he's gone from a 100-person local venue to a 7,000-person venue. And there are other examples of that, of artists who come through.

I always say that we have bands on the way up, and we have them on the way back down. Coldplay last year—they played in Clwb in 2002. When they did two gigs in the stadium last year, they said they hadn't been in Cardiff since they played in Clwb 15 years ago, and part of that has been the lack of infrastructure in the city to have them when they play to 1,000 people, 2,000, 5,000 or 10,000. I can list dozens of artists that have started off touring in places like Clwb, which are now headlining in big festivals or performing in major arenas. And I think the latest statistics said that 60 per cent of the arena-level artists started in venues such as Clwb. And that's the point—without places like us, bands don't start off. That's where they develop their skills and see what works, but also that's where they develop their audience. If they go on tour, 10 dates around Britain, playing to 200 people each time, then when it comes to the summer festivals, those 200 people attend, and then that's 2,000 people watching them. So, it develops and builds, and if they have the commitment and the songs, then they can make a career out of that.

Felly, dim problem ynglŷn â bwydo ar hyn o bryd. Ocê.

Nawr, y syniad hyn o gyllido refeniw—un o'r pethau roeddwn ni'n ei ystyried pan oeddwn i'n Weinidog a oedd yn gyfrifol am yr iaith Gymraeg, er enghraifft, oedd a fyddai'n beth synhwyrol i gael rhwydwaith o fannau sydd yn cael eu cyllido gan y Llywodraeth, neu mewn ffordd arall, er mwyn hybu cerddoriaeth yn Gymraeg. Nawr, nid jest cerddoriaeth Cymraeg sy'n bwysig, rwy'n deall hynny, ond roedd hyn yn cael ei ystyried â chefndir yr iaith Gymraeg. [Torri ar draws.] Mae rhywun yn cytuno'n barod—dwi'n falch iawn o hynny. [Chwerthin.] Mae'n anodd iawn clywed cerddoriaeth yn Gymraeg os dŷch chi ddim yn cynllunio ymlaen llaw a'n gwybod lle i fynd. Yn Iwerddon, mae yna gerddoriaeth, wrth gwrs, a phobl jest yn troi lan ac yn chwarae, mewn tafarn ar y gornel, felly does dim modd dianc, os ŷch chi'n moyn dweud fel yna, rhag cerddoriaeth Wyddelig—mae'n rhan hanfodol o fywyd yna. A fyddai e'n gweithio petasai ni'n cael rhwydwaith o glybiau, mannau, beth bynnag, ar draws Cymru—a byddai'n rhaid ystyried ym mha ffordd bydden nhw’n cael eu cyllido, ai system tendro fyddai fe neu beth bynnag. Ond petasen ni'n cael rhwydwaith fel yna, lle byddai clybiau yn cael arian er mwyn o leiaf cael rhai bandiau lleol er mwyn sicrhau bod talent yn cael ei ddatblygu yn Gymraeg ac yn Saesneg—hefyd, wrth gwrs, byddai hwnna'n helpu gyda'r ystyriaeth o ba fath o venue yw'r clybiau, sef venue sydd yn datblygu talent ac nid rhywbeth sydd yn cael ei ystyried fel clwb nos, os gallaf i ei roi fe fel yna. A fyddai hwnna yn rhywbeth a allai weithio, ydych chi'n credu?

So, no problem in terms of that pipeline at the moment. Okay.

Now, with regard to revenue funding, one of the things that we were considering when I was a Minister responsible for the Welsh language, for example, was whether it would be sensible to have a network of venues that are funded by the Government, or in another way, to promote music through the medium of Welsh. Now, I understand it's not just Welsh-medium music that's important, but, obviously, it was in the context of the Welsh language. [Interruption.] Someone agrees with me already—I'm very pleased to hear that. [Laughter.] It's very difficult to hear or listen to Welsh language music if you don't plan ahead of time and know where to go. Very often in Ireland, somebody just turns up in a pub and plays in the corner, so you cannot escape from that Irish music, if I can say it like that—it's a vital part of everyday life there. Would it work if we then had a network of clubs or venues, whatever, across Wales—and we'd have to consider in what way they were funded, and whether it would be a tender process and so on. But if we had a network like that, where clubs received funding in order to put on at least a few local bands in order to ensure that talent is developed in the Welsh language and English—that would also help with consideration of what kind of venues the clubs would be, namely clubs that develop talent and not just nightclubs. Would that be something that could work, do you think?

11:00

Mae'n anodd. Dwi ddim yn sicr os oes, tu hwnt i'r prif ddinasoedd, digon o gynulleidfa i gynnal rhywle trwy gydol y flwyddyn. Mae yna lefydd—Aberystwyth, Aberteifi—ond ystafelloedd cefn tafarnau ydy'r rhai yna yn aml. Efallai bod yna fwy o le i annog pobl sydd wrthi'n darparu'n barod i wneud mwy a rhoi cefnogaeth iddyn nhw, achos mae yna esiamplau dŷn ni wedi eu gweld yn ddiweddar o lefydd, yng Nghaerfyrddin neu ble bynnag, lle maen nhw wedi ei ffeindio fe'n anodd iawn i wneud iddo fo weithio, i'w wneud o'n ariannol hyfyw. Rhan o'r broblem—. Dŷn ni, er enghraifft—rhan o'r rheswm dŷn ni'n rhoi nosweithiau clwb ymlaen yw dyw'r gerddoriaeth fyw ei hunan ddim yn ddigon i gynnal y busnes. Mae angen y club nights hefyd i wneud iddo fo weithio'n ariannol—

It's difficult. I'm not sure whether, beyond the main cities, there are sufficient audiences to maintain a venue throughout the year. There are places—Aberystwyth, Ceredigion and so forth—but they're backrooms in pubs mostly. Maybe there's more scope to encourage people who are already providing events to do more and to support them, because there are examples that we've seen recently of places, in Carmarthen and so forth, where they've found it very difficult to make it work, to make it financially viable. Part of the problem—. Part of the reason why we put club nights on is that live music isn't sufficient to maintain the business. We need the club nights as well to make it work financially—

Sori, jest i ychwanegu un peth, beth dwi'n sôn amdano yw system lle bydd yna gyllido refeniw ar gael. Rwy'n deall am y problemau—

Sorry, just to add one thing, what I'm talking about is a system where there would be revenue funding available. I understand about the other problems—

[Anhyglyw.]—newydd felly, bod y cyllido—. Ie, petasai yna refeniw yna, dwi'n meddwl bod yna ddigon o lefydd allan yna fuasai'n croesawu'r gallu i wneud hynny, a hefyd hyrwyddwyr mewn rhai ardaloedd lle mae yna ddiffyg lleoliadau rheolaidd—fod yna fodd i gefnogi hyrwyddwyr sydd yn hyrwyddo yn yr ardal yna i'w wneud o'n haws iddyn nhw i roi rhaglen ymlaen, ac wedyn maen nhw'n gallu ei wneud o mewn mwy nac un lle. So, efallai ei fod o ddim yn gorfod bod yn adeiladau yn unig, ond ei fod e'n unigolion gweithgar hefyd neu—.

So, the new idea is that there would be funding—. Well, yes, if there was revenue there, I think that there are plenty of places out there that would welcome the ability to do that, and also promoters in some areas where there is a lack of regular venues—that it would be possible to support promoters who promote in those areas to make it easier for them to put on programmes and then they can do it in more than one place. So, it doesn't have to be perhaps just centred on buildings, but also individuals—.

Ond rhyw fath o gronfa sydd yn hybu a datblygu talent sydd ar hyn o bryd ddim yn cael y cyfle yna. Dŷn ni'n gweld bod yna lot o arian yn mynd i mewn i opera, er enghraifft—dŷn ni'n gallu gweld hynny—ac i gerdd clasurol. Jest, i fi, dwi ddim yn gweld bod yr un peth ar gael i gategorïau eraill o gerdd.

But some kind of fund that promotes and develops talent that is at present not receiving that opportunity. We see that a lot of money is going into the world of opera and so on, and to classical music, but, for me, I don't see that anything similar is available for other categories of music.

Beth sydd yna—mae yna lot o gefnogaeth i'r artistiaid, boed y cynllun Gorwelion, neu mae yna gwpwl o bethau nawdd eraill mae artistiaid yn gallu mynd ar eu hôl. Beth sydd ddim yna ar hyn o bryd ydy unrhyw beth ar gyfer y diwydiant cerddoriaeth gyfoes. I ryw raddau, mae'r artistiaid yn mynd a dod, ond, os oes yna fodd o gefnogi'r is-adeiledd sy'n sefyll tu ôl i'r artistiaid, yna mae yna fwy o strwythur wedyn i gefnogi'r artistiaid am gyfnod hirach, gobeithio.

What's there is that there's a lot of support for the artists—whether it's the Gorwelion/Horizon scheme, or there are the forms of support that artists can pursue. But what's not there at present is anything for the contemporary music industry. To a certain extent, the artists come and go, but, if there's a way to support the infrastructure behind those artists, there's more structure then to support those artists for longer, hopefully.

So, mae arian ar gael ichi fel artist, ond mae'n rhaid ichi chwarae ar yr hewl.

So, there is funding for you as an artist, but you have to play out on the street.

Ocê, un peth arall te, jest ynglŷn â mannau ymarfer: beth yw'r sefyllfa yng Nghymru ynglŷn â hynny?

Okay. One other thing, just with regard to rehearsal spaces: what's the situation in Wales in that regard?

Dwi'n gwybod yng Nghaerdydd, mae o'n dda, ond rwyt ti'n—

I know that in Cardiff it's good, but you—

Well, we actually offer space in our building as rehearsal space to young bands, and experienced bands; when people think that we're closed, we're actually open.

Also, I've been involved in Cardiff with the Cathays Community Centre, which is Soundscene studios, which is an independent building, community run, and that really is part of the infrastructure of Cardiff's music scene, because it's where you get the cheapest studios; they're in town, easy access, and, again, people go there to support the ethos of that being—it's a non-commercial building, in a way, but they manage to pay their way. They used to do a lot of gigs there, but because of the idea that people are living next door to them—it's elderly accommodation—they've cut down the number of gigs that they do there, but the rehearsal studios are actually put to one side of the building, away from the accommodation.

Does dim amser gyda ni am fwy. Dŷn ni wedi mynd lot dros amser, ond os oes unrhyw sylwadau ychwanegol, yn enwedig am efallai y diffyg pobl yn astudio cerddoriaeth, byddai diddordeb—os oes pwt ychwanegol rydych chi'n gallu ei roi inni fel pwyllgor, byddai hwnna'n helpu. Dyw e ddim yn direct ichi. 

We have no time for further questions. We've gone way over time, but if there are any additional comments that you have, particularly perhaps with regard to a lack of people studying music, we'd be very interested in those views, if you could send in a short passage on that. It's not direct to you.

11:05

Na, ddim cymaint. Dŷn ni'n tueddu i ddelio efo artists sy'n dilyn llwybr llai confensiynol o ran eu cerddoriaeth.

No, not so much. We tend to deal with artists who follow a less conventional path in terms of their music.

Ocê. Wel, os dyw e ddim yn berthnasol, paid â phoeni; paid ag ysgrifennu unrhyw beth atom ni, felly. Diolch ichi am ddod mewn i roi tystiolaeth, a dŷn ni'n edrych ymlaen at gydweithio gyda chi ar yr adroddiad yma. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Fe wnawn ni gymryd seibiant o ddwy funud nawr, Aelodau. Diolch.

Okay. If it's not relevant, please don't feel that you have to write anything. Thank you for coming in to give evidence. We look forward to collaborating with you on this report. Thank you very much.

We'll take a short break of two minutes now, Members. Thank you.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 11:05 ac 11:13.

The meeting adjourned between 11:05 and 11:13.

11:10
3. Ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw yng Nghymru: Lleoliadau
3. Inquiry into live music in Wales: Venues

Diolch, a chroeso nôl i'r pwyllgor. Rydym ni'n symud ymlaen nawr at eitem 3, ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw yng Nghymru, sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda pherchnogion a phobl sy'n rheoli lleoliadau ar draws Cymru. Croeso i Samantha Dabb, sydd yn gweithio yn Le Public Space yng Nghasnewydd, ac wedyn i Gary Lulham, Clwb Sin City Abertawe. Felly, diolch ichi am ddod atom. Rydym ni'n mynd i gael cwestiynau ar sail themâu gwahanol gan Aelodau Cynulliad, felly awn ni yn syth mewn i gwestiynau, os yw hwnna'n iawn gyda chi. Y cwestiwn cyntaf gen i yw: beth ydych chi'n credu sydd wedi newid o ran y sîn gerddoriaeth? Ydy hi wedi gwella? Ydych chi wedi ei gweld hi yn esblygu? Ydych chi wedi gweld newidiadau sydd ddim mor bositif? Beth yw'ch barn gyffredinol?

Thank you and welcome back to committee. We move on to item 3, the music industry in Wales, and an evidence session with venue owners and those who manage venues across Wales. Welcome to Samantha Dabb, who works at Le Public Space in Newport, and then Gary Lulham, from Sin City Club in Swansea. So, thank you very much for joining us today. We're going to have themed questions from Assembly Members, so we'll go straight to questions, if that's okay with you, and the first question is from me: what are your views on what's changed in the music scene? Has it improved? Has it evolved? Have you seen changes that aren't quite as positive? What's your general view?

I think, speaking for Newport, personally, getting rid of our university really affected the live music scene in Newport, and I also think across the whole of Wales there's a big dip in attendance at gigs. 

Attendance at gigs in more grass-roots places, as opposed to the Motorpoints of the world.

Yes, definitely. I think a basic lack of investment and funding into grass-roots music has led to some of the venues being a little bit run down, so people aren't attending them, and that's a massive problem for us, that—. I don't know, I could go on for hours, but I think one of the big things is that theatres and dance studios and places like that don't pay business rates, so why do music venues? And then, if we had the money that we're spending out on business rates to invest back into our venues, they'd be slightly nicer places to be. And then we could encourage the growth of grass-roots music and Welsh artists. 

11:15

Okay. We'll come on to business rates later, but the general point is you think that it's got worse, not better. 

Yes, definitely. Over the last 10 years, we've definitely seen a massive dip in attendance. 

Okay. And the venues, the type of venues that are available.

Yes, the venues are closing left, right and centre.

And those that do still exist have to spend so much money just to stay open and to try to compete with all the massive chains that come in with their flash toilets and their flash this and their flash that.

Okay. Sorry, David, did you have something you wanted to say there?

We've seen very much the same sort of thing. In the last—. Certainly for Swansea, in the last couple of years, it's actually started to get a little bit better, for different reasons. But, since I started doing this in 2005, immediately—almost immediately, from 2005 through to 2015—there was a huge decline in gig ticket sales and gig attendance, and therefore, as a result, gigs being put on. People just stopped promoting gigs—for the most part, anyway; there were obviously a dedicated few that carried on, but the number of gigs that were going on and the amount of live music that was happening throughout the city declined massively. It has started to come back a little bit in Swansea, for various reasons, and we are starting to see a slight improvement, but, yes, as a general trend, since the year 2000 through to now, a huge decline in gigs and gig tickets. 

Rŷn ni wedi cyffwrdd â lleoliadau, a dwi'n gwybod bod lleoliad newydd eithaf mawr yn mynd i gael ei greu ym Mae Caerdydd. A ydych chi'n credu mai dyna yw'r ateb, neu ydych chi'n credu bod angen mwy o arian a buddsoddiad mewn llefydd llai fel eu bod nhw'n gallu bod yn ysbrydoliaeth i bobl allu chwarae yn y llefydd mawr yna sy'n bodoli hefyd? Beth yw'ch barn chi ar hynny?

We have touched on venues, and I know that there is a new major venue being created in Cardiff Bay. Do you think that that's the answer? Do you think that we need more investment and funding for the smaller venues so that they can inspire other people to play, then, later in their careers in those larger venues? What's your opinion on that?

Yes, I think it works as a pipeline, in the same way that any industry does. You start off in a small place in a small industry and you slowly get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger—the way any business works and the way the—. One of the things that we've spoken about very often is that we're the research and development section of live music. So, your acts like the big names of the world, the Ed Sheeran—there was a time, 2007 through to 2011, when he was playing venues like ours and he learned how to gig and he learned how to hone his sound and learned how to hone his set, and the management and touring crew and his merchandising team all learned how to engage and connect with the audience in that environment. And then they took a step up and they moved on to slightly bigger venues, then they moved up to bigger venues again, then they started playing arenas and places like the Motorpoint Arena, then they go up again and soon enough they're playing stadiums and festival headline slots and whatnot. But it all starts back in venues like Sam's that are 100 capacity, where, on a Thursday night, people are trying things out. They've never heard of Ed Sheeran at that point, they're just paying their £3 to go along and see, hopefully, a great musician and get up close to the stars of tomorrow—to a certain extent. Other times, it doesn't work that way and you're just paying to see a great band who are happy playing venues like that and they don't necessarily want to go on to rule the world. They just want to play great music to people who enjoy it. 

I think you can see, in festival line-ups for the last five years, compared to festival line-ups 15 years ago, the way that music venues and things like that have been closing down has had a massive impact, because the diversity of festival headliners 15 years ago was so much more, for want of a better word. But now you look—. I've got nothing against Coldplay, but they're headlining every festival. I've got nothing against Ed Sheeran, but he's headlining every festival, because there's a serious lack of investment into grass-roots talent, and I think that's a massive thing. It's across the whole of the UK. It's not a Welsh thing at all; it's across the whole of the UK. There is a huge lack of investment into grass-roots music.

Further to that point, as Sam says, if you do look at festival line-ups for the last 10 years, the number of DJs that are now playing and the amount of dance music that's being played just by DJs, rather than having bands on, because the bands aren't necessarily there, or haven't got to a point where they're being recognised as being there. You end up with DJ after DJ after DJ after DJ. 

11:20

The one question I didn't ask in the last session was about whether the YouTube generation are able to develop their talent that way, so instead of finding a gig space to practice they would already be uploaded on SoundCloud, or whatever, so that they don't feel they need to get the grass roots done; they can just skip that bit and go to the bigger venues.

It's not possible to skip that bit, because I think if you try to do your first live gig in front of 5,000 people instead of 100 people, you're just not going to do it; you're going to take one look at it and go, 'I can't do that.' 

That would be a fairly terrible gig.

I was in a band for a long time, and you do the smaller gigs. They get you ready for the bigger gigs, and if anybody who's got this massive YouTube career thinks they can suddenly walk on stage in front of 5,000 people, they just won't do it. I did it myself; we got offered a gig and it was four times our normal crowd and I literally stood at the side of the stage shaking for 20 minutes, and everyone was like, 'Sam, get on.' 'No, I can't.' We did it in the end, but, yes, you need grass roots; you need your 100-cap venues and your 200-cap venues, and you need to work that ladder. 

Yes, I'd echo that exact point. I think any band that tries to jump straight into a gig of 500 to 1,000 people would come off pretty badly; they would have to pretty talented. That would be crazy. I'd love to see it. But what you said about the YouTube generation, even people that you see having great success on the digital media, they're still playing, they'll still come through the venues that we're running, the venues that we're talking about today. They will still do that first tour because, like I said, it's about learning how your act works on stage and learning how the audience receive you. Way more than just engaging with the audience, there is a training element to it. So, they will still come through, I think. 

That's useful to know. Yes, I've been there as well, so I know what you're saying. My last question will just be on the mapping exercise from the Welsh Government that they have commissioned a company to do, to look at all the venues and to see what's happening. From the last evidence session, we didn't hear that they'd been engaged at all yet, so I'm just wondering if you have and if you think it's useful.

I haven't heard from them.

I don't know what you're talking about. [Laughter.] 

I know it's happening, but no-one's been in touch with us in any way, shape or form.

Okay. Well, that's worrying, again, to hear, but we'll chase it and see. 

Symud ymlaen nawr—John Griffiths. 

Moving on to John Griffiths. 

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Some questions about available advice and support for the music industry. In general in Wales, do you believe that it's adequate, that there's enough advice available? 

No, I wouldn't have said so. Certainly nothing—. Not that I'm aware of in Wales. In recent years—and I believe you're going to be talking to them in a couple of weeks—there's an organisation called the Music Venue Trust that's been started. I genuinely can't sing their praises enough, really.

No, they are fantastic.

Absolutely brilliant, and they've come on leaps and bounds and strides for music venues across the UK. It started off as being in London, trying to save some grass-roots music venues in London, and it kind of exploded from there. The need for it is so incredibly obvious. 

They've done so much for me personally—well, our business personally. I don't know how we'd have got through the last five years without their advice. So, in terms of, 'Is it coming from Wales?', no. The advice is out there, but it's not coming from Wales. The only thing we've ever had advice on was two years ago we went community owned, and Community Shares Wales were phenomenal. They were absolutely incredible, but that's not culture and music-based advice; that's general business advice. But they were out-of-this-world amazing.  

I'm not aware of any advice that exists within Wales, apart from the other venues and the network of owners. If you have got questions, my phone is always on, people can ring me or ring other venues, but certainly not from a Government point of view. I'm not aware of any, no. 

No. The Welsh Music Foundation, of course, was in existence, but—

I never, ever had any engagement from them whatsoever, despite asking them for help and advice many, many times. [Laughter.] 

I haven't either, but I have only been a venue owner for four years. 

I am not a fan of the Welsh Music Foundation as it previously existed, because as far as I could work out, when it was in existence, it did nothing for people that it didn't particularly already want to be doing things for. That's—.

11:25

No, no worries. We want to hear it as it is, as you see it. The Arts Council of Wales—obviously they've got a big role to play in terms of supporting art, culture and activity in Wales. What would you say about the Arts Council of Wales and the way that their advice and support operates? Does it provide helpful advice to music venues?

I'm going to say I don't know who Arts Council of Wales are or how to access them.

No contact. I know people who work within theatre who know people within the Arts Council of Wales, but in terms of the music industry, no, they don't engage at all.

We have, but that was very much via a friend who knew someone from the Arts Council of Wales who came in and had a pint. There was nothing formal about it. It was: I put in a bid for this and I made friends with this person and then they came in for a pint. But we've never done anything formally.

I don't even know the route to do that; it's not something that's ever clearly mapped, I think.

My only knowledge, really, of the Arts Council of Wales—and, again, I've never had any direct contact with them—is, again, through the Music Venue Trust. I know that Arts Council England have recently given some money—I think £1 million, I believe.

It was £1.6 million, I think.

It's £1.6 million they're going to be investing into specifically grass-roots music venues, because previously none of the money from Arts Council England went to grass-roots music venues. There was a campaign run by the Music Venue Trust to get Arts Council England to do that. And I already know venues in England that are benefiting from that.

At the moment, I know that that same thing isn't available for arts or venues through the Arts Council of Wales, and the only reason I know that, again, is because the Music Venue Trust have said that one of their next projects is to get the Scottish Arts Council and the Arts Council of Wales to agree the same thing. So, hopefully.

Okay. Well, given what you've said, I hesitate to ask the next question, but I'll ask it anyway. In terms of Arts Council for Wales grant funding, then, and how they distribute their available resources between different art forms, between music venues and artists in general—you may not have had much experience of this— but what would you say about your view on how they distribute their funding and what needs to change?

Honestly, I'm probably in absolutely no position to answer because 'I don't know' is the general gist. My—I can't think of the word I'm looking for—but my general sense is that it would go more towards theatre-type projects, Welsh language projects, classical music and opera, would be my sense of it. I don't know if that's true at all, so I'm in no position to comment, but that would be my sense of it.

Yes. I think that's my feeling, as well, in terms of we've never received a grant from the Arts Council of Wales, and I don't know any venue owner in Wales that has. Therefore, the money, as far as I know, is not coming into grass-roots music venues at all.

Again, have you thought about the possibilities? Obviously, you wouldn't have then made any contact with the Arts Council of Wales just to find out whether there was any possibility.

No. There are always people around at these Music Venue Trust mixers and things, and someone says, 'That lady works for the Arts Council of Wales', and you start speaking to them, and then they start telling you about this incredibly lengthy bid process that will take up all of your time. And one of the things Music Venue Trust have done in England is they have somebody from Arts Council England to help the pubs write the bids. Because we've never written funding bids; we don't know what we're doing, we're just people who used to be in bands who sell beer and put bands on. That's what we are. If you put a massive funding application in front of anyone that runs a grass-roots music venue, it's like a wall that says, 'Yes, this isn't for you; this isn't right.' The application process is just, 'no'.

I did once spend a few days trying to navigate a website that was specifically about funding options within Wales. It was for everything: it was employment, it was for everyone, and it covered all areas of funding, and I became incredibly frustrated with the navigation of the thing. But, again, that wasn't for a specific task—that was just a foray into funding and then I went on a little adventure. I think we were looking for funding for a lift for the venue, and I was like, 'Well, maybe there are options there.'

11:30

Did you find any, because I need a lift? [Laughter.]

John Griffiths is an Assembly Member for Newport, so, afterwards, you can talk about how he can help you to get funding for a lift. [Laughter.] Anyway, have you any more questions?

Thanks, Chair. I've got a question on planning. Another colleague will talk about licensing, so I just want to look at zoning, basically, and this whole issue of the agent of change principle and the difficulty of developments going around of a more residential character that, you know, get built and then they impose sound restrictions after the fact. Are you facing problems or has the situation got a lot better since we have moved to this agent of change principle in planning?

Is the agent of change principle in law now?

Well, I think it's guidance, rather than—. It's not, as I understand it, anyway, a firm legal principle.

Personally, we moved venues two years ago, and we had to spend £17,000 sound-proofing the previous venue because a lady moved in three doors up and decided she didn't like the noise. But then, with the new venue, we are now smack bang in the middle of the high street, and there are no developments around us, and, as far as I know, none are planned. So, for me, I can't really answer that question. But, I know that when I was in that situation, previous to agent of change, it was an absolute nightmare.

I would say that, luckily, it's not something that I've yet had to deal with. I'm sympathetic to city centres, but they are changing, and we are becoming a more city-centre-living city, or certainly Swansea is anyway—there's the development of houses and flats everywhere. The fear is real. That's very true. You see somewhere previously where there was no building, and you think, 'Oh, that's safe, they couldn't possibly put a building there', and all of a sudden there's a block of flats, and you think to yourself, 'Hang on, am I going to have a problem here?'

So, the fear is real. What I would say is that, actually, it stops you investing in your venue. You don't want to make changes, and you don't think about, necessarily, a long-term future or a plan for your venue, because, as Sam said, that's literally—. Previously, that could be all it took, someone moving in three doors up and suddenly deciding that, actually, you're disturbing their peace and, all of a sudden, it literally can just bring you to the ground in a very scary way. 

Yes, with our sound-proofing we were lucky that it was able to be done, but there have been situations before now where somebody's decided to turn what was previously an empty building into a flat that's above a music venue and then that music venue has had to shut down, because there's no way you can sound-proof when your bedroom is above the stage. That's not physically possible.

There was a venue in Brighton. It had been open for—I think it was one of the longest running venues in the country—70-something years. The landlord developed the upstairs into flats and, five months later, they closed the doors and were done, because they had the sound-proofing experts in and they said, 'We just can't do it. It's not physically possible.'

Would you like to see, perhaps, a concept of cultural zoning, where we say a certain part of a town or a city is going to contain these venues for live music? There could still be residential development around, but it's for those that are going to be comfortable living adjacent to the night-time economy. Do you see any value in that?

I don't like the idea of cultural zoning.

Yes, I think you're limiting it then. In principle, it's a great idea. In principle, you're saying, 'Right, okay, that's protected', in the same way that you say that the Gower is protected. I understand the principle behind it. But, you're then also saying, 'The cultural things have to take place there. You can't do culture over there; you have to do culture there.' I think that's the wrong idea, and I think that it's the wrong way to fix the problem. I don't think that saying, 'Right, we're going to have culture over here, rather than everywhere' is necessarily the answer. I think the thing to do would be to turn around and go, 'Oh, look, there's something cultural there, let's see if we can protect it', rather than saying, 'Let's ring-fence it and keep it in this zone.'

I think agent of change becoming law rather than guidance would automatically protect cultural zones and also protect residents, in the way that if there is a massive residential area, agent of change then stops someone opening a nightclub, because there they are the agent of the change, and that's how it works, and I think the beauty of agent of change is it protects what already exists without—

11:35

Okay. So, the cultural safeguarding concept is a stronger one.

Time is short, Chair, so perhaps I could condense my questions just to two, really. The licensing system is not yet—I emphasise 'yet'—within the control of the Assembly, but, in terms of licensing, what are the main issues that you face, perhaps the obstacles that you face? And the second issue is linked, in a way, and that's the Live Music Act 2012. What effect does that have on your businesses?

I don't have any issues with Newport licensing; they're wonderful. They are really brilliant people whom, if I go to them and I want to do something, they will go out of their way to find a—. As long as I don't turn up and say, 'I want to sell cocaine', or something, if it's something that is legal to do, they will go out of their way to fit that into my licence.

I couldn't think of any other examples there [Laughter.]. But, yes, if I go to them and I say, 'I want to put on a 14-plus gig because this gig has—', they will find a way to make that work with me. When we moved venues, we were in a—. There's a word for it, but it's over-saturation of licensed premises, and you weren't supposed to be able to get a licence, but I went in and I showed them why ours was culturally important, and they overrode that and issued our licence. They're great—Newport City Council licensing are brilliant.

I have to echo the same thing about Swansea. We've got a great relationship with the Swansea licensing team. We've never had any real issues to speak of. And they understand—. It might just be that I'm lucky with the people who are currently working there, but they understand the importance of live music and what we do and, again, why it is culturally significant and why we, for example, occasionally do a 14-plus event where kids who are 14, 15, 16 and 17 can come in with dad for their first ever gig, and I'm still able to sell beer at that event, but it's in a very controlled manner and a very controlled environment.

Yes, come in with dad for their first gig.

Okay. Times have changed since I was a teenager [Laughter.].

The number of dads who love to bring in their young kids for The Choirboys and old rock bands—they love it.

I think what I find with licensing is, as long as you engage with them and speak to them and build up a relationship with them, then they will look after you. Because, obviously, if you don't go to your licensing officers and introduce yourself and say, 'I run this place and I want to do this', then, when you suddenly put in this anonymous request on the internet, they have no idea who you are, they have no idea if you're responsible enough to do that. So, the way that I work with Newport is, I know them all really, really well, because I go to the Pubwatch meetings and I engage, and as long as I do that, then I don't have any licensing issues whatsoever.

In terms of the Live Music Act 2012, I don't— . It's a really good question, and the answer is, again, 'I'm not entirely sure'. I haven't seen it have a massive effect on me. What I would say, though, is that I kind of sit on both sides of the argument on this one, where on the one hand, now, someone can run a gig for up to 500 people with absolutely no licensing restrictions at all, where I have lots or some. But then, they're good restrictions; they're there for a good purpose—I understand that. But now, that licence—. They can run that gig without any restrictions whatsoever, whereas I have to pay door staff and spend money on x, y and z. In that sense, it's not great for my venue. Is it better for music? And they're the two sides of that coin—is it good to have that gig somewhere or would we rather it were in a controlled environment? I sit on both sides of that argument, because the gig is happening and it's great because people are going to see music, but I have to spend money that they don't. So, I sit on both sides of the argument on that one, unfortunately. I'm torn.

Ocê. Ar drethi busnes, David Melding.

Okay. On business rates, David Melding.

Yes, on business rates, we've already flagged our concern to you. Has the situation got more difficult since the revaluation in 2017?

Yes. I'm very lucky in that mine didn't dramatically rise in the same way that others have. Mine have hit me, there's absolutely no doubt about that, but mine haven't exploded in the same way that those of other venues have. There are venues that have seen huge—50 per cent, 70 per cent, 100 per cent—rises in business rates. Mine didn't explode as much, but, obviously, yes, it's money that I could be spending elsewhere and could be investing in other areas. 

11:40

Business rates are obviously a huge part of—. My business rates are now more than my rent, which is, I think, a crazy situation to be in.

I could employ someone else with that money. I could employ two other people with that money.

I think, for me, one of the things is that, as a community benefit society, we should now be entitled to business rate relief of 80 per cent, but, because we have a turnover of more than £100,000, we're automatically excluded from that, but turnover isn't profit. Profit is pennies. So, I feel maybe it should be based on profit, not turnover, your rate reduction exclusions.

It's always refreshing when a witness answers the next question I was going to ask because, obviously, business rate relief schemes are based on turnover, not profit, and presumably that is a great disadvantage for you. So—

I was advised that a lot of theatres and things like that actually separate their bar from their venue to get around that, but we shouldn't have to be setting up two companies to circumvent relief that realistically we should be entitled to.

Or, indeed, go through the contortions to become a charity, necessarily. I suspect I know the answer to this, but I think you deserve to be asked as you've taken the trouble to come here: should we be looking at a special scheme or at least allowing live music venues to qualify for some sort of relief?

Yes, but I also think it needs to have some incredibly strict guidelines because what you don't need is every pub in Wales suddenly putting on one covers band on a Sunday, calling themselves a music venue and not paying business rates, because that's going to have a huge impact on the income that we need to basically run the country with. If you take away business rates from every local government from every pub, then you're going to lose vital services in other places. There needs to be a quota of original band. There needs to be live music at least three nights a week. And these people, like the people working within the live music venues, for me—because I do this anyway, so everyone else who works in live music venues might be angry—. I feel like you need to be working with encouraging people to get into live music—not just putting bands on, but running workshops and trying to get 14-year-olds to pick up a guitar. Because they're not picking up guitars at the moment, and I think the rate relief should be linked to how much you're putting into the Welsh music industry and the future of Welsh music, not just chucking a band on on a Sunday.

I think Samantha's absolutely right, and, on certain things, for example, in her example of guidelines there, I wouldn't necessarily qualify at the moment, which is absolutely fine, and it's the way it should be. Because I've had to diversify the venue and, in order to make it survive, I've had to do things that I wouldn't necessarily not want to do, but are different to, maybe, our original mandate or where we'd like to be. And, as a result, we put on, to a certain extent, less live music now than we did 10, 15 years ago.

Yes. I think that's something a lot of live music venues have had to do over the last five years. Personally, I don't like my pub on a Saturday after 11 because it's not what I set up to do. You're on the high street, it's full of people who just want to get drunk. They don't want to watch music; they just want to get drunk. And I want people to watch music and have nice beers, but we need their money to pay the bills, so I'm never going to turn them down. We're an inclusive venue, but at the same time I don't want to clean up sick at 3 a.m. It's not why I opened a music venue.

One of the things that happens quite quickly, I found, when you start to run a live music venue is that you start to feel almost a responsibility towards—and I hate the word 'scene', but I'm going to use it—your local music scene and to the musicians and to the kids that are in it, and suddenly you start thinking to yourself, 'Oh, there's this group of metal kids. Now, this metal gig's not going to make me any money but I should really do it because there's no other metal gigs for them to go to', and you start doing things you wouldn't normally do. I mean, we've just had the summer, and through the summer we put on—we tried to put on, no, we did put on—about 22 local shows in the space of a month or month and a half. We called them home town shows, and I think we ended up playing 70 local bands, all from Swansea, all from different backgrounds, all different styles, all different genres. And it was a way of getting the bands to engage with each other, but also a way for them to earn some money so that they had money in their coffers to spend on band equipment, recording, rehearsal space, et cetera. So, that was 70 bands, £3 to come in, the bands receiving the majority of that money. We had, I think, somewhere in the region of 2,000, 2,200 people come to all of the shows combined, and if you just look at the operational costs of those gigs, on the spreadsheet last week, I worked out that I'd made a profit of £14. But I'm going to do it again next summer, or in January and February, because it's great to engage with these bands. 

11:45

I also think, in terms of what you were saying about pressure on the scene, there's a lot of personal pressure, when I, hands up, have been in positions within the business where I've felt we should just close. We're not making any money. We should just close and I should just go get a job somewhere else. I'd get paid a lot more money, I'd have a lot less responsibility. But then you start thinking: where would the bands play? Where would the kids who want to watch live music go? There's a lot of pressure there, I think. You can feel that weighing down when you've had a bad month and you're wondering where your business rates or your rent are coming from this month. You just carry on and you just get through it. The pressure is what keeps most of us open.

I don't think you'll find a music venue anywhere, certainly in Wales, but in the country, where they got into this to become a millionaire. None of us have got dreams of becoming the next company that owns 16 live music venues across the UK. We're just trying to keep our venues open and keep a roof over everyone's head, and, again, to a certain extent, not go out and get a proper job. But there isn't an awful lot of money in it. It's not something that anyone's going to make money doing, really, at the moment as it stands.

Diolch. That's all we've got time for, I'm afraid, just due to timings and things going over. So, thank you very much for coming in, and if there's anything that you think you didn't say, please e-mail us or get in touch and we'll share what we suggest and hopefully you can engage further with us as a committee.

I look forward to it. Absolute pleasure, thank you very much.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Rydym ni'n symud ymlaen nawr at eitem 4, cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i wahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. Ydy pawb yn hapus ac yn llawen? Diolch.

We move on now to item 4 and the motion to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Everyone content? Thank you.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:47.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:47.

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