The owner of a live music venue and rehearsal rooms whose business was devastated by the floods fear further flooding in the coming days.
Waking up to the messages from the musicians on Sunday morning asking if everything was fine, Jonny Foxhall – the owner of the first answer of The Green Rooms in Treforest had to say “yes, no problem”.
However, living in Cwmparc at the head of Rhondda, the 32-year-old was initially unaware that the Taff had flooded Upper Boat causing floods of misery for Treforest Industrial Estate companies, including his own.
The water had penetrated, had destroyed much of the equipment and had ruined the structures inside.
What makes it doubly frustrating for the business, which is at the heart of the grassroots music community in the valleys and in South Wales, is that work has only recently finished renovating the building.
“I realized for the first time that there could be problems around 8 on Sunday morning when the bands sent messages to our Facebook page asking if everything would be all right,” said Jonny.
“I live on top of the Rhondda in Cwmparc, so it’s less influenced up there, so I was replying,” yes, it should be fine. “When I looked at the weather, I thought” oh god, we could be in trouble. “
“I talked to our neighbors in the industrial area. One of them has a CCTV connected to the phone. They told me that on Sunday, at about 5.30, the estate was under four feet of water.
“I came down at 10 on Sunday morning to see if we could save anything. I filmed everything on Facebook Live to show people the damage that had been done. “
When he opened the door of The Green Rooms, he was greeted by the sight of total devastation.
“Our live PA system, all our amps, drum kits, equipment, stocks, all the structures were destroyed, our newly built stage which was destroyed by the flood and many other objects and even personal effects were all damaged by the flood.
“The whole place is caked in a muddy mess and water damage lifted the wooden floorboards and entered the electrical system. We dare not try to turn anything on for fear of blowing up the place. It will be a great job to clean up. “
As for insurance, the company seems unlikely to be able to request a refund.
“We are in the same boat as many other companies here because this area was first flooded in the 70s, insurers have not flooded their policies,” said Jonny. “We are trying to follow the path of storm damage, but it seems unlikely.”
Now the business, which started in 2009, but which was only taken over by Jonny in 2018, has launched a Go Fund Me appeal to help raise funds to resurrect the business. You can donate to the fundraiser here.
In addition, fundraising shows were organized at Jac’s in Aberdare, Globetrotters Bar in Pontypridd, The Moon in Cardiff and The Bunkhouse in Swansea to raise money for The Green Rooms and Clwb Y Bont in Pontypridd, another live music center in the valleys, which was also badly damaged by floods.
“We are using the bottom to help repair and replace all damaged items and the contents of the building itself,” said Jonny. “All and all help will be greatly appreciated.”
For the immediate future the entrepreneur fears repeated downpours and the potential for further floods.
“I kept an eye on the river level meter station on the Upper Boat bridge and it went up,” he said. “So we are packing the building with sandbags and plastic sheeting to try to minimize the damage in the event of multiple floods. If at least it overflows, we will be better protected this time. “