Minty of Minty’s Gig guide fame a fast growing music gig guide resource for Cardiff has helped curate a beautifully illustrated map of 29 Cardiff venues with the help of artist Alex Waeland from Bristol. We have obtained a selection of these beautiful images, the full map will soon be distributed across the city and on Minty’s fine website.
Here’s what they both said about the idea:
“The idea for the map came from the fact that I’ve been going to see live music here all across Cardiff now for many, many years and one of the things that I enjoy, aside from the music I’m seeing – is how each individual venue is a different shape, a different size – but they’re all here to paint the picture and represent the live music scene. The venues themselves have their own characters from the massive Gwenno Saunders mural on the side of Clwb Ifor Bach that has become a landmark now in the city to the many quirks and the wonderful compartmentalised beer garden approach in Gwdihw(pictured to the right). I feel wrong wearing black in there!” Says Minty
“I think also that as I do a gig guide for Cardiff, I feel a sense of responsibility to take these venues and show people what they are y’know….you gotta just look when the Champions League was here a few weeks ago – we could have really done with a map to say THIS IS THE LIVE MUSIC IN CARDIFF….and THESE ARE ALL THE VENUES that are part of the musical movement here in the city. I think it is a really good point to say these are places that have stood test of time, these are the places that you can go any night of the week (normally) and enjoy some top drawer local, national and international musical performances.
“It’s also about giving Cardiff an identity on the UK music scene…you look at places like Manchester, London, Liverpool that have these really well oiled music structures, where artists from all the across the globe are going to go you know to sell their tickets in these venues and know that there will be a crowd on its way to them. We have to justify to the world that Cardiff is up here with all of these different places in the UK.
There seems to be a lack of want for bands to come across the Severn to play in a Cardiff venue when they can play in Bristol…the map in a sense addresses that point and says – look how amazing the scene is here so with so many people from musicians to promoters really trying to make noise here in Wales.
But it’s also about bringing people together locally – I mean look at Womanby St, it’s one street away from St Mary’s Street – it’s two away from the shopping centre and unless you’re a music fan – you wouldnt even know about it….it’s so hidden away in plainsight. The footfall on the street is not great on most days….I’d say it’s probably one of the most underappreciated, underpopulated misunderstood streets in Cardiff right now. So in essence, the map is also there for people to be like “Oh Wow. Look at this massive piece of art on the side of this building. It’s incredible. Where is this venue? Oh look its up on Womanby Street.”(Clwb pictured to the right) It’s about educating people that come to Cardiff, that shop in Cardiff, that live in Cardiff that these music places do exist and they could make your next visit or your current weekend a real lively and upbeat experience “
The artist Alex talks about the Map: “You’ve almost got this sort of cultural trail of the venues, but its never been sort of represented or portrayed in such an artistic way…and I’ve never seen the majority of these venues put on the map. So, I can make comparisons to my hometown of Bristol, in area called Stokes Croft – it’s well known for its murals and urban artwork that’s visible when you walk down the street. It’s prolifically covered across the world….when you look similarly at what’s on offer in Cardiff – it’s not covered artistically at all really. When Minty asked me if I would do this map – I looked online for some inspiration and I couldn’t really find anything for the smaller independent venues in Cardiff that really help make the city musically what it is.
“When Minty approached me to do this job, it was fresh off the back of another job I was doing at the time for a university project based on public art around the city of Bristol…and the styles of both were quite similar….starting off as a line drawing and then being blocked in with one choice colour….making sure that there was enough bold colours to separate them so they would be easier to locate on the map. The style I was looking at actually came out of a illustrators contacts book, almost like a page for business cards – I came across this one studio which I think was called Expresso – anyway there style was quite cool. It this colour overlap that I’d used but the drawings were a bit more rough and cartoony and were done in charcoal…so I sort of wanted to step away from that and use pen and ink giving it my own style.
Some of the venues, the bigger ones are more detailed…but the style is still there if you go in closer. I also have to give a shout out to this city, which has adopted some pretty fine street art – it was great adding the murals to the sides or fronts of venues….such as the Maiden artwork on Fuel, Gwenno on the side of Clwb or the what I guess is a miner on the side of Buffalo(pictured to the left)…it makes the venues look nice and fresh.
Some were quite challenging to draw….such as St. Davids Hall which needed a real bit of thought put into it….the windows on the Motorpoint took me forever as did the brickwork on the Wales Millenium Centre. I actually tried to add every single brick onto the front of the venue! The architecture of many venues did grab me…so I kind of wanted to show appreciation to that in the drawings whilst still maintaining the style that we went for.”
Minty continues to expand upon the map “I think there’s roughly about 28/29 venues now…as we really want to represent the music arts in Cardiff as a whole…not just the venues that are the forefront of your mind. It’s also about saying to promoters look at these fantastic places that we have in Cardiff like Jacobs Antiques for example, what a night that Rat Trap event was back last year….imagine using that space as a venue…imagine what outside parties could do with that space. The reason why there is such a large number of venues going onto this map is simply because It’s really difficult to leave places out. I think that the almost 30 venues that we have on this map really do cover the spread of all the different places that you can go, as a music fan, as a live music fan whether your from Cardiff or whether from further afield and have a real boss night out! There is something in Cardiff for everyone. You can’t just disregard places like The Transport Club and Sullys that are making their contributions to the music scene! It’s about being inclusive and being a community, which is the entire reason of why I started Mintys Gig Guide to Cardiff(The Gate pictured) in the first place is because I want to see an inclusive musical community develop here in the city, perhaps there is one? But I definitely can’t see it! Some of the best conversations you will have in your life…some of the best friends you will make in your life…could be that person stood next in line to you outside Clwb Ifor Bach waiting to watch Boy Azooga…and I really want to promote that!
Minty and Alex have both received positivity for the idea of a Cardiff gig map and hope it will promote the venues, gigs and performers who perform in them: “The support for the release of the venues on social media has been fantastic – the people who do follow my pages – really do believe in what I’m doing and what this map is aiming to do.” Says Minty “The venues themselves have also been incredibly supportive – working with me to deliver really cool and kooky facts that perhaps you’ve never heard of before – such as the fact that Buffalo has an old nuclear fallout bunker underneath their back garden!”
Alex agrees: “So many of my peers on my end, have been really supportive during the entire artistic process…asking me how my illustration work has been going – what venues are being next….and there’s been a lot of general interest by the people I know in Bristol who have been quite taken back at how much is going on musically in Cardiff….and how the scene has so many venues. They had no idea that the centre of town had so many offerings and places to go to see bands, so its been a real eye opener…and even for myself! Places like The Moon club totally changing it up, the Transport Club and Sully’s joining in the mix and of course, the sad loss of Dempseys and Four Bars, which I started drawing second and then the news hit that it wasn’t going to be there anymore….”
Look out for the Map on Cardiff’s streets and in its venues and soon on Minty’s website: