In 2023, we launched the Creative Wales Music Capital Fund to champion and support grassroots music venues across Wales. A total of £718,000 was allocated to 17 venues to help them restructure and improve their facilities. Among these recipients was Cardiff-based venue, Porter’s.

landscape view of the empty stage at Porter's music venue

Porter’s, which had been housed on Harlech Court since 2012, faced closure after developers announced plans to turn the building into a new apartment block. In January 2024, Porter’s relocated to Barrack Lane, a move owner and manager Dan Porter says would have been impossible without our funding.

portrait of Dan looking relaxed on a chair at Porters
quirky decor at Porters
Dan Porter @ Porter's

‘We applied for the Music Capital Fund from Creative Wales out of necessity,’ Dan explains. ‘Without that funding, we’d have to think about continuing or not continuing, so it was a lifeline.’

With a new location came new challenges. Porter’s city-centre spot meant they had neighbours for the first time, so funds were needed to soundproof the venue.

‘The money went on making the entire fabric – wall to ceiling and upstairs – acoustically sealed,’ says Dan. ‘We had to make sure that we were completely bulletproof in terms of the noise that we were making, so the funds were spent predominantly on protecting ourselves and making sure that we were good neighbours.’

In addition to soundproofing, the fund also helped Porter’s improve accessibility in the new venue for disabled customers, ensuring a welcoming and inclusive space for all.

Sound equipment and gig posters including Welsh band 'Himalayas' at Porter's music venue

For 12 years, Porter’s has been a cornerstone of Cardiff’s music scene, hosting events six nights a week across all genres. One of its standout features is its policy of never charging on the door, something they’ve stuck to since day one: ‘If you can't afford it or the price of a ticket is a bit too much, at least you can come and see the band here,’ says Dan.

But Porter’s is more than just a music venue; it’s a hub for the arts community – with plans for a basement space and rehearsal studio reflecting its commitment to nurturing emerging talent.

Dan’s dedication to the arts community in Wales is clear, ‘When I opened Porter's, I always wanted it to be somewhere that people came through on their way to bigger and better things. I stand by that; that's still very much the ambition. For me, it's about being able to give people the opportunity to become who they want to be,’ he says.

‘If someone else wanted to apply for funding from Creative Wales, I'd say do it. It's an absolute must because without grassroots venues, the artists of tomorrow just aren't going to be there. Or, you're going to have lots of similar artists. The authenticity would go out the window. So, for me, these places must exist.’

If someone else wanted to apply for funding from Creative Wales, I'd say do it. It's an absolute must because without grassroots venues, the artists of tomorrow just aren't going to be there."  

red sign with black writing saying 'GiG Space'

Dan’s not the only one who believes this. Alexandra Jones, who runs the Beacons-led Forté Projectagrees.

‘It's vital that venues like Porter’s exist,’ she says. ‘It plays a crucial role in nurturing and sustaining the music and arts community in Wales. They provide a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their talent, which means they can grow their audiences and build their fan base.’

‘Porter’s contributes to the cultural vibrancy of South Wales because they have such a diverse range of performances; there are so many genres and styles that are included in the original music nights.’

‘And they're receptive to collaboration and innovation; they trust in what the people want. It's a massive space for social interaction, cultural change and exchange, and community engagement that enriches people's lives.’

atmospheric purple fairy lights inside Porter's showing music posters of various artists

Without Porter’s, projects like Forté would struggle. Forté’s main aim is to support original music makers in Wales who wish to pursue a career in the industry. They do this through a programme of support, including music industry tuition and resources, songwriting sessions, well-being support through professional development and mindfulness sessions, live opportunities through live residencies, and bespoke mentorship schemes.

Alex says: ‘Forté probably has the longest-standing relationship with Porter’s out of all the Beacon’s projects. We've had a live residency there for years on the second Wednesday of every month.’

‘Our relationship with Porter’s has benefited our project. They've always treated us and the artists that we put there with respect. We have this mutual understanding that between both of our projects, we just want to provide a safe and comfortable platform for emerging talent.’

For Alex, the funding is crucial for sustaining the venue’s cultural, economic, and community impact. She believes it enriches the cultural life of Wales by supporting emerging artists, stimulating the local economy, fostering community engagement, and preserving the region’s heritage.

Alex says: ‘I’m so grateful to Creative Wales for offering funding for venues like Porter’s. Firstly, it allows Porter’s to exist, but it also allows the culture of Wales to thrive. By having this funding, the venue can invest in initiatives like ours and our live residencies, which goes towards our vital work in nurturing talent.’

‘The funding plays such an important role in championing the next generation of musicians and artists because it isn't only the current ones that they're supporting; It's the young people who come and watch those people perform and then feel inspired to do it themselves.’

‘Also, Porter’s employ musicians, artists, sound technicians, as well as other people in the music industry, to work there, so the funding from Creative Wales ultimately ends up in the laps of honest, hardworking, lovely, creative people.’

black sign with a gold P outside Porter's, Cardiff
clapper board on a shelf inside Porter's

If you’re interested in hearing more about the various funding initiatives available from Creative Wales, visit our Funding and Support page.

You'll find information on funds and resources available across our sectors, from music to film and TV. Remember though, these funds open and close throughout the year, so keep an eye on our website and social channels for updates. 

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