Art and culture forms the heart of any community.  

Swansea and South West Wales is no exception, but it is currently supported by dwindling and insufficient public transport infrastructure. Audiences are limited to attending grassroots music and cultural events in close proximity to them, and as such broader audiences are being hindered from attending venues that they otherwise would be active supporters of. 

Grassroots music venues alone operate, week-on-week, within shoestring budgets whilst providing a vital platform for emerging cultural talent and ensuring a healthy talent pipeline is secured for future generations. Music Venue Trust has warned that approximately 10% of GMVs will close by the end of 2023. 

With a majority of evening events finishing at 23:00, and the latest train links running East leaving Swansea at 22:37 of a Saturday evening, and 22:37 during the week, the hard decision then lies on an attendee at one of these venues to at any of these events to either drive, or leave early and miss the closing hour of an event – either way, being considerably further out of pocket than if they were to have the ability to rely on public transport. 

We wish to ensure that adequate support is put in place to allow GMVs and cultural venues of all sizes to thrive and flourish, and that these venues do not become another addition to the chilling statistic that Music Venue Trust outlined.

Welsh Government clearly has overarching responsibility for tourism policy in Wales, as well as a strategic oversight of cohesive economic, cultural and infrastructure policy around such offers, and their Welcome To Wales: Priorities for the Visitor Economy 2020-25 strategy actively set out a vision for tourism in Wales, building upon key sub-strategies including investment in infrastructure and the improvement of access to Wales for visitors. Any impact in these areas is hampered by a lack of support, engagement and investment by Welsh Government in regional transportation infrastructure. 

The Bunkhouse, Elysium, Hippos, Sin City and Hangar 18 have joined voices, and, with support from Swansea Arena, are calling on Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, Network Rail, regional stakeholders and changemakers to ensure additional provisions are put in place to consistently support late night travel between Swansea, Cardiff and further afield throughout the year and ensure that arts and culture are opened up to as broad and as keen an audience as we know it deserves, and that audiences are provided with all the support they require to ensure accessibility.  

Reliable late night travel links between key destinations is vital to a thriving cultural landscape, and to ensure that art and culture remains, firmly, for all.