Concrete Crisis - St David’s Hall in Cardiff has closed temporarily to carry out checks on potentially dangerous concrete in the venue. The venue had initially said it was safe to remain open, despite the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) panels in the building.
However, Cardiff Council said in a statement that it was now closing the venue “in light of the recent change to advice on RAAC in public buildings issued by the Health and Safety Executive and following further discussions with the council’s appointed independent structural engineers, and the council’s insurers”.
“The council has been aware of RAAC in St David’s Hall and the need to manage it from a health and safety viewpoint since 2021, and it has always followed government guidelines and advice to ensure the building was safe,” it said. It added: “A building management and health and safety strategy has been implemented at the venue for the past 18 months. This included regular inspections by independent structural engineers with specific RAAC expertise.
“Throughout this time, no issues were raised about the condition of RAAC in the building and there was no evidence of deterioration - and this remains the case.” But it said that, to engage with its insurers and expert structural engineers and, “based on advice received from those experts”, it was “prudent and responsible to carry out intrusive surveys to further reassure ourselves and the public on the safety of the Hall”.
The process is expected to take four weeks. There are currently eight venues temporarily closed due to the presence of RAAC, including the Royal and Derngate in Northampton and the Orchard Theatre in Dartford.
Academy Pledge - The O2 Academy Brixton has pledged to make its doors "more secure" as it fights to stay open after a deadly crush in December last year. The south London venue was temporarily stripped of its licence after security guard Gaby Hutchinson and Rebecca Ikumelo were killed at the venue.
Fans without tickets tried to force their way into a show by Nigerian artist Asake. The venue’s future is being decided by Lambeth Council's licensing subcommittee.
Diversification Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective say music funding needs to diversify to make more opportunities outside London. For the ninth year in a row, the prize for best album was awarded to a London-based act. The capital dominated the nominations as well, making up three quarters of artists in the running for album of the year.
Ezra Collective bandleader Femi Koleoso feels it's due to funding in London which should be better spread out. "If we were to diversify that, the list would diversify," he told the BBC. The Mercury Prize shortlist and winner is decided by a panel of industry experts with UK record labels entering more than 200 albums.
In The Sale Room - A Yamaha baby grand piano used by late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury to compose some of the group's biggest hits has sold at auction for £1.7m. The price was slightly below estimates but was still a record for a composer's piano, auctioneers Sotheby's said.
(Jim Evans)
12 September 2023

Latest Issue. . .