Considering Wales is known as the ‘Land of Song’, it is no surprise how rich of a music scene its capital city, Cardiff has. The city has a vast assortment of music venues, concerts and performances which a dedicated and extensive audience attends regularly. So, when the announcement of a proposed new music arena in Cardiff Bay broke, feelings remained mixed.
The 15,000 seater arena, which is projected to cost a massive £100 million, is hoped to be part of the £500m regeneration scheme which has been put in place for the Red Dragon Centre. This, of course, could be extremely beneficial to the city overall but the introduction of a new arena could cause detrimental impacts to the music industry within it.
Currently, the largest arena in Cardiff is the Motorpoint with only a standing capacity of 7,500 and if the plans for the new Cardiff Bay arena goes ahead, Live Nation will have to carefully consider its future. Although, it could be argued that the proposed arena will allow for more prominently sized musicians to return to the city, with its higher capacity of both seating and standing accommodations, the musicians who are not significant enough in size to utilise the larger venue will have to reevaluate their return to the Welsh capital.
Due to the fact that Cardiff Council currently owns the land that the Motorpoint sits upon, there has been discussion regarding the fact that they may demolish the current arena in order to include it in their proposed master plan to reveal a canal underneath Churchill Way, called Bute dock feeder. The plans do however include an amphitheatre, though is that actually a viable replacement for the Motorpoint?
It is clear that this new arena could have a very disheartening impact on Motorpoint, but it is also important to explore the potential effects on the other businesses within the city also. Take, for example, the restaurants and bars that are within walking distance of the Motorpoint. If the arena were to be demolished, the potential walk-in trade that they currently have would in theory disappear due to the fact of the proposed arena residing within the Bay area of the city.
The smaller music venues could also take a disaster hit too. These smaller venues rely on attendees visiting often in order to stay in business due to the lower ticket prices and smaller capacities. However, with a new arena accommodating for larger events, these continuous attendees may become distracted, and withdraw from their support of the smaller venues. Of course, similarly, to the potential impact on restaurants and bars, this could easily be applied to smaller music venues too as they often host after-party live events following a show at the Motorpoint.
An aspect that many social media users have shared worry about is the lack of public transport from the Cardiff Bay area to the city centre. With only a single two-carriage train that travels between them every 15 minutes, the potential 15,000 attendees trying to return to the city centre could cause severe delays in the area’s public transport.
Of course, there will be many benefits that come with a new-larger arena for the city. For example, larger acts having a venue that can accommodate those who are not significant enough in size to utilise the Principality Stadium will not only please potential attendees but will also have the potential to boost hotel room sales in the city. Also, the arena will provide plenty of potential jobs to many of the locals in the capital city. However, the jobs provided may not adequately replace the jobs that possibly could be lost due to smaller venues, bars and restaurants etc. losing business as a result of the potential demolishing plans of the Motorpoint.
Ultimately, only time will tell if the arena will be a positive or negative addition to Cardiff. The Cardiff Bay Arena proposed opening date of 2024 may seem like a while away but with the other redeveloping plans for other sectors of the city, change is not too far away.