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Carmarthen grassroots venue wins £10,000 national prize for supporting community live music

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PRS for Music, the UK-headquartered organisation that represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers around the world, has announced Carmarthen grassroots music bar CWRW as the winner of its Back to Live Music Venue prize of £10,000 for the Welsh region.

The recovery-focussed nationwide competition was launched by PRS for Music to give independent live music venues across the UK the chance to win one of six regional prizes of up to £10,000 and inject much-needed financial support into venues who are dedicated to improving live music experiences in their local communities.

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Community advocate and music fan himself, CWRW owner Michael Hilton, plans on using the £10 000 PRS for Music prize money to upgrade the venue’s lighting, add recording capabilities and create a more inclusive space so audience-goers with disabilities can participate and access live music events. 

“Winning PRS for Music’s Back to Live Music Venue Prize is incredible” explains Michael Hilton, “incentives like these are fundamentally important for grassroots venues like ours to continue to provide creative spaces for the community and emerging talent to develop their skills. The funds will be used to develop the audience experience, inclusion and continuing to support the next generation of artists”. 

CWRW on King Street in Carmarthen (Image: CWRW)

The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the live music sector has been well-documented; between 2019 and 2021, PRS for Music saw an 84% decline in the number of live performance setlists reported to the organisation, falling from 124,000 in 2019, to 19,300 in 2021.

Tony Barton, Head of Writer Support & Relationships, PRS for Music, said: “Independent live music venues are pivotal within local communities, providing spaces that inspire the next generation of songwriters and performers. Congratulations to CWRW for keeping music at the forefront through a very difficult time.”

Andrea Czapary Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, said: “”It was obvious to the judges of the PRS for Music Back to Live Music Venue Prize that CWRW is so important to Carmarthen not only because it is the only venue in town but also because of how focused Michael Hilton and the team at CWRW are in creating a vibrant community music space. We’re proud to find ways to support local music venues across the UK.”

PRS for Music’s Back to Live Music Venue Prize competition launched in March 2022 as the organisation’s direct response to the devastating effects of the global pandemic on live music venues in the UK.

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Open to independent live music venues who are not part of a national brand whose offering included music prior to pandemic closures, winning venues were determined by a judging panel made up of leading representatives from across the music, arts, and hospitality sectors.

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