The Creative Republic of Cardiff Interview

Almost immediately following the recent news about the closure of the Full Moon on Womanby Street, reports began emerging about, “The Creative Republic of Cardiff.” After a quick look on their Facebook page I read that this is a non-profit company that plans to re-open The Moon, and that it was set up by former staff and friends, so I got in touch to invite them onto the Cardiff at One show, and my invite was kindly accepted by Grant Jones and Tommy Ingram.

Here’s the transcript of the interview from the show:

Dan: “Finally today, Grant, Tom…welcome to Cardiff at One. How are you today?”

Grant: “Better than ever!”

Tommy: “Yeah, really good!”

Dan: “Yeah? Loving the weather outside?!”

Grant & Tommy: “Yea, absolutely!”

Dan: “So, tell me a bit about The Full Moon. We were all shocked and disheartened to hear of its closure, but you guys didn’t let it go did you. Tell us what’s happened and what’s going on with The Creative Republic of Cardiff.”

Grant: “Well we couldn’t let it go, we absolutely could-not-let-it-go. There was too much reaction behind it for us to do nothing about it, and obviously with the current climate of stuff that’s going on with Womanby Street we really felt that there had to be some movement made specifically for The Full Moon. Obviously there’s the Save Womanby Street campaign, which is doing amazingly, but we needed to specifically target the venue. So we got in there straight away and formed The Creative Republic of Cardiff, which is a non-for-profit organisation and is going to be completely community led, doing stuff for the community, and we’ve got a verbal agreement now and we’re looking to sign the lease with the landlord in the next couple of days. We’ll be open as soon as we possibly can, which is not very, very soon because it takes a good little bit to open up a venue. But with the support we’ve got behind us, and the reaction we’ve had online, we’ve got everyone in place that we need to, to get the venue back up and running and better than it’s ever been.”

Dan: “I just remember looking on the internet…One day I walked past The Full Moon and the next day it’s all over the internet that it’s all closed down and I was like, “What? What?? How has this happened?” Did it come as a shock to you guys as well?”

Grant: “It was a shock to us. It was a shock to everyone really. It was a very, very quick thing that happened. The only good thing about that was that it meant we could move quickly as well. It meant that there was no period of it closing down and other people being able to get in there. It was very much that it closed down, we knew as soon as possible because we worked really closely in The Full Moon obviously for the last five years. So it meant that it closed down quickly, but it meant that we could act really quickly. It also meant that we had no time to mourn or anything.”

Dan: “Acting quickly! I’ve got to say that you guys were sort of right at the helm of a ship crashing through the waves. It was closing one day, the next thing we’ve got a community campaign on the go!”

Grant: “The support has been absolutely fantastic. We really couldn’t have done what we’re on the verge of doing, without the support, and we need the continued support of it as well, because although the agreement is now in place to make the place happen, there’s an awful lot of costs and an awful lot of things that go with opening a live music venue.”

Dan: “It’s not just re-stocking the place and going for gold.”

Grant: “No, there’s an awful lot of legal fees, there’s a lot of stocking fees…Improvements need to be made the place as well, you know, because we’ve all kind of destroyed that place over the last five years…”

Tommy: “We’ve had a lot of fun doing it too!”

Dan: “I bet you sniggering to yourselves whilst you were doing it? Hahaha, it’s not my place!”

(Group laughter)

Tommy: “No, not at all!”

Dan: “No I know, I’m only joking.”

Tommy: “It’s just great that we can go in there now, we’re now going to be owner/operators of it essentially, so we won’t just be working there. We know what our customers want, we speak to you guys all the time…”

Grant: “We are the customers as well y’know, so it’s amazing that we’ll be in the position where we’re still the customers of the place, we’re also operating the place and we’re the owners of the place now, which is essentially everyone as well because as we say we’re the owners of the place, The Creative Republic of Cardiff is all about that we want it to be the people’s venue. We want everyone to know that this is their venue and that they have as much say in things they want to see in the venue, what they want the venue to look like, what community projects they want us to be putting on, and so everyone essentially is a customer of this place, is an operator of this place and is an owner of the place as well!”

Dan: “You’ve only got to look online to see how many people just love the place, I’ve got just so many memories of the place it’s crazy…”

Grant: “And sometimes it takes a bit of a war and a bit of a disaster to make people realise how much they really care about something as well, I think is what’s going on with the whole of Womanby Street at the moment. People have only just realized that hold on, as soon as it’s under threat, people are going, “Oh, I love that place, I love live music. This has been our street for the last five years and we really don’t need to see it go!” If anything we need to see it thrive, which is our bigger project as well, along with the Save Womanby Street guys as well!”

Dan: “I think I can remember as long far back as going, when I was a kid really, coming to Cardiff you had Clwb Ifor Bach, and then I remember when I moved down here there was So-Lo Bar, and Taru Du and then all of a sudden they were gone and you had The Full Moon, The Moon Club. Fuel then moved in and it went wild!”

Grant: “I think The Full Moon was a big catalyst for it as well, which is why we’ve had the reaction we’ve had. Obviously you’ve got the institution of the Welsh Club, which has been great and has been there for the last 35-40 odd years I think. But there really wasn’t a community on the street until The Full Moon moved in five years ago, then the Moon Club came, then Fuel came y’know, so I think people realized that The Full Moon was the catalyst for all of this and taking that away is sort of like taking away the main energy source for the whole place, so we just needed to just re-jig it really, get a new generator in there, a new, more powerful generator in there.

Dan: “It’s definitely a massive chink in the armor there isn’t it. If it was gone I was thinking, “Well what’s going to go in there??” It’d be mad, I can’t imagine it without it to be honest.”

Grant: “I think that was the thing that kind of secured things for us as well, is that there could be nothing else in there that would get the support that we did, that would fit in to the street in the way we did. Something else in there would have changed the street, completely, the vibe of the street you know, and there’s been such a collaborative effort that’s gone on on that street for the last five years. We’ve been there for as long as that and we’ve worked really closely with Fuel, we’re still working really closely with the Bootlegger guys, we’re working closely with The Welsh Club, Castle Emporium, even the City Arms…like Hub Festival for instance.”

Dan: “ I know you guys sort of meet up and have your pow wows so to speak, discuss events going on, Free For All Festival and things like that.”

Grant: “Exactly, and we need that collaborative effort to keep on happening.”

Dan: “I’m seeing a real whirlwind coming out of Womanby Street there with what’s been going on with Fuel, with the Save Womanby Street campaign. There’s a march on the 29th April as well for that, is that right”

Grant: “Yes, I believe so. I don’t know if you’ve spoken to the Save Womanby Street guys yet?”

Dan: “Not directly”

Grant: “You should definitely get them in because our focus is a bit more on getting The Full Moon up and running at the moment but those guys are leading a fabulous campaign. They got mentioned in The Music Venue Trust magazine, and they’ve got the backing of Kevin Brennan, Jo Stevens and they’ve got a lot of backing for what they’re trying to do, which is more on the legislative side of making sure that businesses can’t close down music venues for noise disturbances and things like that. And their doing a great job of that, whereas we’re more focused on now creating a community space where events and things can happen, and the two working together is fabulous. Coming at it from both angles means that in a couple of months time, in a years time, we should see a real thriving fantastic community cultural thing happening on Womanby Street.”

Dan: “Let’s hope so. I had Rob in here the other week from Fuel, I’ve even had Haydn from Eagle bar last week talking about his problems with noise complaints and things like that, so there’s definitely an issue there. You guys have your work cut out with setting up this Creative Republic of Cardiff.”

Tommy: “Bring it on!”

Dan: “What are you going to be doing? Are you going to be working with other creative groups and businesses in the area?

Grant: “That’s the plan! Essentially, though the first port of call is to make sure we’ve got The Full Moon open and operating as this space where people can come and communicate with us, and then in a broader plan for it, we’ll be a charity hopefully in about 6-12 weeks time. It takes that long to become a charity, and when we’re a charity then hopefully get ourselves funded, get ourselves support, just essentially organize and sort of project what Cardiff has as a cultural community. Not even just live music either. We’ve missed something, do you remember The Abacus?”

Dan: “Yeah, yeah, of course I do…Helen and um…Sam. Sam and Helen!”

Grant: “Since those guys bugged off, can I say bugged off? They’re in Berlin at the moment, and they’ve just had an exhibition in London and they’ve got a job on in Swansea. Since that place left there hasn’t really been a space that has been properly community led that has had everyone come into it and do what they want in the place, to express themselves the way they want to in the place. So we hope to take a little bit of that model and essentially as the Creative Republic go, “Right, anyone who wants to be a creative in the city, come to us and we’ll help you in any way we can.” Try and get a community of knowledge sharing and networking between everyone in the city, and they can come to The Full Moon as a hub where they know they can get any information they want and they’ve always got a space to do what it is they want to do creatively.”

Dan: “We should definitely hook you guys up with The Sustainable Studios over the road there.”

Grant: “This is the thing, and apologies to anyone who has got in touch with us and hasn’t received a reply at the moment, we’re getting so much in every day. Just keep on contacting us and we want anyone who thinks that they can support in any way, and any way that we can support anyone else as well. We just need to build up that community of knowledge sharing and networking between all of us because we’re just thoroughly stronger together.”

Dan: “Well anything I can do with BEWTstudios as well, we’ll help you out. Anything you need with photography or anything like that just give me a shout.”

Tommy: “Definitely, Thanks Dan.”

Dan: “Where’s the best place to get info for this guys?”

Grant: “Just type in, “The Creative Republic of Cardiff” on Google. You’ll find our Twitter, you’ll find our Facebook…most of our stuff goes up through Facebook. If you message us on the Facebook as well, then you’ll reach one of us eventually.

Tommy: “We’ll try and get back to you as quick as we can.”

Dan: “All the best of luck to you guys, I’m going to have to cut us off there.”

To show your your support please visit the Indiegogo page

You can listen to the whole interview, and the rest of the show online by visiting the Radio Cardiff Mixcloud here or find out more about what The Full Moon Crew are up to by visiting The Creative Republic of Cardiff page online

Make sure you don’t miss future shows by tuning into Radio Cardiff on 98.7fm or by downloading the app and listening on your phone.

 

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