blank
Connect with us

Arts and Entertainment

Campaign group say Welsh Government pilot events are “foot dragging theatre and delay tactics”

Published

on

group of people in a concert

The Welsh Government’s pilot test events purportedly designed to help them devise a roadmap out of lockdown for public events and gatherings are simply no more than foot-dragging and cynical political theatre, says Unite For The Night, who have discovered there was no testing protocol for attendees at one of the pilot test events held last month.

The industry body which represents around 170 night time economy businesses in Cardiff and Swansea, says it is deeply disappointed to learn that the Swansea City Championship play-off – which had been promoted as one of Welsh Government’s nine pilot test events – went ahead with no testing of attendees as well as continued social distancing and mask wearing.

So, they are neither creating true event conditions nor are they providing data that would allow the later night time economy in Wales – which is currently facing ruin – to re-open properly.

And any hopes of the later night time economy reopening have now been entirely dashed by Mark Drakeford announcing on Friday that social distancing will be in place in Wales throughout the summer and most likely for the rest of the year. 

A test event was held at the Liberty Stadium, although no COVID testing took place on attendees according to campaign group Unite For The Night (Image: Visit Wales)

Nick Newman from Unite For The Night said: “We had heard from various supporters who were at the Swansea City play-off at Liberty Stadium on Saturday May 22 – which had been promoted as one of Welsh Government’s nine pilot test events – that there appeared to be no test measures in place at the game. Welsh Government stated on 11 May that a testing protocol and risk assessment would be tailored for each of its nine pilot test results, so we contacted Welsh Government to ask them what measures were in place at the game to make it a test event with data that can be analysed. 

“We have now received written confirmation from the Deputy Director for Event Wales that ‘given the risk mitigation measures that were proposed, the [Swansea City FC play off] event could proceed without the need for a testing protocol of attendees. This was due to consideration of the low incidence of COVID-19 in the Swansea area, the fact that it was largely an outdoor event, the mitigation measures including wearing of face masks in the ground and the limited single household ‘bubbles’ who were seated together in the stadium.’

Advertisement

Advertisement

Mr Newman added: “We are astounded that the Welsh Government is pressing ahead with these so-called test events when they are very clearly nothing of the sort. If they wish to replicate the test events that went ahead in England, and that have yielded such positive data – showing that big events without masks are no riskier than shopping –  then they need to run these events properly. As it stands, they are clearly more time-wasting tactics with no strategy behind them. In the meantime, the night time industry – and nightclubs in particular – face ruin because they have been given no clear direction about how they can re-open.

“It beggars belief that this is how they are running what the Welsh Government itself claims are pilot events. If these events are purely being held as a piece of political theatre, I would like Mark Drakeford to explain to our 170 members how they are expected to deal with mounting debts, the heavy toll upon their emotional state and their mental health and how local economies across Wales are expected to stay afloat while the Welsh Government continues to stick its head in the sand on this matter. Nobody wants to be reckless or to put people in danger, but if a well-run set of pilot events that have gone ahead in England show that nightclubs can open their doors safely – yielding just 15 positive Covid tests from 58,000 attendees – then surely, they can do so here in Wales? “

people enjoying the concert
Nightclubs and live music venues are currently unable to open in Wales (Image: anna-m.w / Pexels.com)

Mr Newman continued: “While live music and theatre venues have been told they can get up and running again,  nightclub-based events cannot, particularly since Mark Drakeford has just announced that social distancing will remain in place throughout the summer and possibly into the rest of the year. And our members across the wider night time economy are concerned about the caveats that accompany this news, that: “Each venue will need a full risk assessment in line with Welsh Government hospitality and performing guidance.” and “Resuming activity can only be possible within the context of the COVID‑19 regulations that apply at the time.” We understand that this continues to mean that nightclubs and venues are still expected to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing until Welsh Government deems this is no longer necessary.

“Consequently, nightclubs and live and electronic music venues – as well as the other venues listed in the Welsh Government’s statement – will, in fact, be unable to open, as business will simply not be viable. The Welsh Government is well aware of this fact. It is also aware that it is using old and inappropriate data that is informing its reticence on allowing nightclubs to open. New data is available, and even fresher data could be collated at these Welsh test events – if they were run properly.

Advertisement

“We have already heard from business across all sectors that the grants forthcoming from the Welsh Government are a fig-leaf for many and business are failing and will continue to fail as a result of a lack of Welsh Government support. Night time businesses are saying that the support grants being offered by the Welsh Government do not match the re-start grants being offered in England. If nightclubs face many more months of closed doors and mounting debts without tailored support, this will be another example of vital business in Wales being treated shoddily and suffering the consequences of a lack of decisiveness and competence on the part of the Welsh Government.

Advertisement

“We have written to Mr Drakeford several times now but have had no response – this, along with his continued actions, leads us to think he doesn’t care about our sector. Do you have a problem with nightclubs, Mr Drakeford? We are now publicly asking him for a formal response to our letters which are simply asking when can we reopen without social distancing and mask wearing? And if we are being forced to close in the meantime, what meaningful financial support will we be offered? As Wales’ fifth biggest industry, employing thousands of people, we would really appreciate a response, Mr Drakeford.” 

Advertisement

Unite For The Night has been formed by Swansea Hospitality Forum and Cardiff Licensees Forum to be a voice for the night time industry as the Welsh Government tackles the Coronavirus pandemic. It represents over 170 independent operators across both cities as well as big industry names like Marston’s, Stonegate Group and Wetherspoons.

It is estimated that by the time nightclubs can reopen, there will be between 40% and 50% fewer operating compared to pre-Covid figures. 

For more information, please visit www.uniteforthenight.com

Advertisement

(Lead image: Mark Angelo / Pexels.com)


Advertisement
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Film & TV

Documentary project unites University and community to put spotlight on Gower

Published

on

By

A unique film project which brought together Swansea University students, staff and the community to showcase the beauty of Gower will be officially launched next month.

The Gŵyr documentary series is a collection of films which each capture elements of local history, culture, ecosystems and natural resources.

Advertisement

They have been created by a not-for-profit community-driven project which saw residents sharing their experiences while working with students and filmmakers.

The project has been led by media and communication lecturer Georgios Dimitropoulos and the films will all be available for free on YouTube following a special premiere at Taliesin Arts Centre on June 10.

The event will mark the end of a five-year-collaboration between 25 students and more than 40 contributors ranging from Gower residents, farmers, environmentalists, and scientists to academics, historians, and research scholars.

Georgios said: “It has allowed us to not only offer innovative teaching and practical learning experiences to students but also gave us a chance to engage with the community and private sector, collaborate with the third sector and forge partnerships with creative industries.

“Our films aim to present the harmonious blend and integration of Welsh culture over time. Our mission is to capture and document Gower’s natural beauty and cultural, historical, and environmental characteristics.”

Advertisement

For the project, the team collaborated with award-winning actor and producer Vincent De Paul who took part in the films and represented them at film festivals around the world as well as private screenings with Hollywood executives. So far, the Gŵyr series has picked up 17 awards for Best Documentary, Best Film, and Best Cinematography.

Now Georgios is eager the films receive as wide an audience as possible.  He said: “The series has been five years in the making, and it has been a long and wonderful journey. We want our work to be available for everyone to see. But this is just the start, we plan to carry the project on and produce another season of films.”

Filming the Gŵyr documentary (Image: Swansea University)

Associate Professor Richard Thomas, head of the Department of Media and Communication, said: “Georgios’s work is a great example of how our students are integrated into professional projects – the work experience they get is invaluable for them. A key element of our department’s success is that our teaching is always relevant for the sorts of jobs that our graduates might be moving into after their degrees.”

One of the students who took part said being involved had been very exciting: “It exposed us to professional standards.

Another said: “The University’s Film Hub has amazing facilities and the shoot was an opportunity for us to really get to know the business better,” while another described the experience as an adventure and a challenge. “I would definitely do it again,” she added.

Head of the School of Culture & Communication Professor Sian Rees added: “This is a great example of the way that staff and students within the School are connecting with our local environment and culture, positioning ourselves at the heart of our local and wider community in Wales.  It has also provided our students with an invaluable opportunity to understand and experience professional creative media production in practice.”

Advertisement

Guests at the Taliesin premiere will include project collaborators, representatives of the Gower Society as well as Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans, who represents Gower in the Senedd, and Swansea Lord Mayor Mike Day who will both take part in the panel discussion.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to The DPJ Foundation, a mental health charity which supports the agricultural community across Wales and was chosen by the film-makers after they  spent time with Gower’s farming community.

Georgios added: “We often think farmers are tough due to their physically demanding jobs but because of those tough conditions, hard-working farmers need support and recognition for their efforts and contribution to society.

“I believe that documentary films offer different perspectives, share knowledge and experiences, promote specific themes, regions, history, and nature, and raise awareness of emerging problems and possible solutions. Farming is one of the areas that we document, and present in our documentary films as we explore how important it is for a sustainable future.”

Tickets are available in advance or at the venue at the premiere.

Advertisement

(Lead image: Swansea University)

Continue Reading

Music

Blue plaques sing the praises of Calon Lan composers

Published

on

By

The composers of one of the greatest Welsh rugby anthems have had their contribution to the country’s culture immortalised with blue plaques in their home city of Swansea.

Calon Lan (Welsh for ‘A Pure Heart’) was published in 1892 written by Daniel James in the 1890s and set to the music of John Hughes, both of whom lived in Swansea.

Advertisement

Now two local chapels associated with the pair have had blue plaques placed on them to commemorate a hymn that regularly rings out around at Wales rugby internationals as well as in churches, schools and other locations around the country.

More recently it’s been adopted as an anthem by supporters of the Wales football team, who are due to play for a place in the World Cup early next month.

The first unveiling took place at the Caersalem Newydd Welsh Baptist Chapel, Treboeth, to commemorate its connection with John Hughes, who is buried in the graveyard there. The second blue plaque was placed on the former Mynyddbach Chapel, now the Calon Lan Centre, to commemorate Daniel James, who is buried in the nearby graveyard.

Following the second unveiling, children from nearby Gwyrosydd Primary School sang Calon Lan at the Calon Lan centre in hour of the event.

Swansea Councillor, Robert Francis Davies, carried out the unveilings and said it was a tremendous honour.

Advertisement

He said: “Calon Lan is one of the great Welsh hymns and anthems, recognised around the world wherever you find Welsh people. Arguably, only the national anthem is better known.

“It’s a work of genius and when we sing it, it’s one of those anthems that binds us together as a nation. So it’s only right that the two Swansea people who created it should be commemorated with blue plaques close to their final resting places.”

John Hughes, born 150 years ago in 1872, worked his entire career for Dyffryn Steel Works in Morriston, starting as an office boy and rising through the ranks to become marketing manager. He travelled internationally in the course of his work, teaching himself six languages in addition to his native Welsh.

Hughes, who died of a brain haemorrhage in 1914, also served as an organist at Caersalem Newydd Welsh Baptist Chapel.

Daniel James, born in 1848, worked at both Morriston’s ironworks and Landore’s tinplate works.

Advertisement

Swansea Council’s blue plaque scheme celebrates the political, sporting, cultural and scientific heritage of the City and County of Swansea by placing plaques on buildings associated with the lives of prominent deceased citizens.

Both men are now part of a select Swansea blue plaque club that already also includes anti-slavery campaigner Jessie Donaldson, painter Ceri Richards, rock singer Pete Ham, suffragette Emily Phipps, missionary Griffith John, gothic novelist Ann of Swansea, poet Vernon Watkins, radar pioneer Edward Bowen, and polar explorer Edgar Evans.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

Continue Reading

Music

Biggest names in 90s pop are coming to Swansea Arena

Published

on

By

The best and biggest 90s pop names will be performing their greatest hits at Swansea Arena on Friday 30 September.

Acts including Atomic Kitten, boy bands Five and 911, Pop Idol Gareth Gates, Liberty X and S Club Allstars will all be playing Swansea’s newest venue.

Advertisement

90s Baby Pop describes itself as a rare chance to see your childhood sweethearts and heartthrobs perform their nineties’ nostalgia anthems.

Tickets on sale 10am, FRIDAY MAY 27th, from www.swansea-arena.co.uk

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

Atomic Kitten formed in 1997 with songs Whole Again and The Tide Is High which always get everyone waving in the air. Two original members, Liz and Natasha will be performing these classics and more.

Also formed in 1997, British Boy Band Five released Keep On Movin’, followed by Everyone Get Up. Their hip-hop and dance tunes are not to be missed.

Advertisement

20 years ago, Liberty X came onto the scene, and in just a few years went on to become UK superstars. They released ten consecutive UK top 20 singles such as Just A Little and Got To Have Your Love.

Starting his career on Pop Idol, Gareth Gates went onto achieve immense success in the early 2000s and is best known for his songs What My Heart Wants and Go Your Own Way.

S Club Allstars include original band members Tina, Brad and Stacey who will be performing some of S Club’s most iconic tracks such as S Club 7’s You’re My Number One which reached number 2 in the UK charts.

British boy band Damage, had eleven hit singles in the 90s, including Forever – Lady of Soul, Wonderful Tonight and the legendary Ghetto Romance.

Also performing live will be 911, the iconic English 90s boy band who have had international success, selling 15 million singles and albums worldwide.

Advertisement

Female British group The 411 captured an era with their song Dumb with its smooth R&B vocals and catchy lyrics.

London’s hip-hop group Big Brovaz known for Booty Luv, promise to deliver nostalgic 90s vibes.

British R&B girl group, Honeyz skyrocketed across the UK charts with their tunes Finally Found in 1998 and Won’t Take It Lying Down in 2000. They’re one not to miss.

Following their successful launch programme, Swansea Arena say they’re excited to be moving into a routine of bringing a varied and exciting programme of performers to their landmark new venue in the heart of Swansea’s £135m Copr Bay development.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News