Wales

Welsh Music Foundation closes after loss of government grant

Georgia Ruth Image copyright Eric van Nieuwland
Image caption Georgia Ruth was one of the homegrown stars of the Womex music showcase in Cardiff in 2013

A music industry body which has helped launch the careers of Welsh stars over the last 14 years is closing down after losing Welsh government funding.

The Welsh Music Foundation (WMF) said it had survived on an "extremely modest" grant of £160,000 a year.

It said the offer of a six month extension while it found alternative funding was "unviable".

The Welsh government said it was exploring options to develop an advice service for all creative industries.

The WMF said it was suspending its operations with "great sadness" after a three-year core funding agreement with the Welsh government expired on Monday.

Three members of staff were being made redundant as a result of the closure of its Cardiff office, the WMF added.

The organisation said it was "extremely proud" of the "value and leadership" it had shown within the industry and the money it had generated for the economy.

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Media captionThe foundation helped bring the Womex showcase to Cardiff in 2013

The Welsh Music Foundation, set up in 2000, highlighted some of its achievements over the last year:

  • Helped attract and stage the 2013 Womex world music showcase in Cardiff, injecting more than £3m into the local economy
  • Nearly 40 training events in areas such as music copyright, royalties, radio play, live music promotion and festival organisation
  • Launched a Wales music directory serving more than 1,700 music companies in Wales
  • Promoted Welsh music overseas at events including SXSW in Texas, Porto Musicale in Brazil, and PrimaveraPro in Spain

BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Cymru presenter and DJ Huw Stephens described the announcement as "sad news" on Twitter.

Image copyright Twitter

Singer-songwriter Amy Wadge said she was "speechless" at the demise of the organisation which helped launch her career.

"If I hadn't had a resource like the Welsh Music Foundation I'd have just been another person down here kind of swimming against the tide and having no idea how to even get one foot on the ladder," she told BBC Radio Wales.

Laura Snapes, features editor for the NME music magazine wrote: "Terrible, terrible news about the WMF.

"Such an inspiring, important organisation run by great people."

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "The Welsh Government offered WMF an extension of funding until December 2014 to allow its services to the music industry to continue whilst the organisation seeks replacement funding streams. This offer has been declined.

"We are exploring options to develop an advice service that works for all creative industries, including music," the spokesperson added.

Festival job

The announcement comes just weeks after WMF chief executive John Rostron revealed he would be leaving the organisation, to work fulltime on the Sŵn music festival.

He co-founded the Cardiff event and has been awarded a £95,000 'breakthrough' grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

According to the foundation, it will allow Rostron to develop the festival, and for the first time receive a salary for his work with the event.

It was named the best small festival of 2014 by the NME.

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