Tens of thousands of music fans and hundreds of musicians will get their first taste of live music as Independent Venue Week (IVW) takes place for the fourth consecutive year next month.
Staged across 120 venues nationwide, the week-long event between 23-29 January is now a firm fixture on the UK’s music calendar. The project, which is staged nationally but retains a strong local focus, will see venues hosting special shows throughout the week and is set to be the biggest Independent Venue Week yet, with 30 new venues taking part.
These new additions include The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket, Halifax’s Grayston Unity which has a capacity of just 18, The Bungalow in Paisley and London’s iconic Roundhouse.
The event’s ambassador will be Tim Burgess, frontman of The Charlatans, solo artist and author, after previous years were fronted by Frank Turner and Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood.
Burgess said: “Independent venues are where every band starts and where music fans get to see emerging talent. Without them bands would not get a chance for their all-important first hometown gigs and subsequent tours. These venues and bands need our support and the best way you can do that is by having a night out. Lots of venues are closing – we definitely need to stick together and stop this happening.”
Burgess will perform live at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room on Monday 23 January with support from Tear and Pheromoans. Further Independent Venue Week shows are taking place across the UK under Burgess’ Tim Peaks banner, starting on Thursday 26 January at The Exchange in Bristol, where local gigging legend ‘Big’ Jeff Johns has put together a bill featuring Bristolian favourites Yama Warashi and Kayla Painter.
Burgess’ label O Genesis then takes up the baton with a mini-tour, which kicks off at Belfast’s Voodoo on the Friday (27 January), featuring a headline set from Northern Ireland’s Documenta. Following a short hop across the sea, Yucatan will top a bill at Bethesda in North Wales on Saturday (28 January), before the jaunt climaxes in Manchester on Sunday (29 January) with Horsebeach headlining. The bands will take it in turns to support each other across the dates and all of the Tim Peaks dates are being supported by Help Musicians UK, the country’s only independent charity for musicians at all stages of their career.
Explaining his hands on approach to his IVW role, ambassador Burgess said: “I worked with the Independent Venue Week organisers last year on a gig in Manchester. It was an honour to accept their offer of being this year’s ambassador – I’ve picked some of my favourite bands to play in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for Independent Venue Week. Hopefully see you at one of the shows.”
Other unique shows taking place during IVW will include special gigs from Richard Hawley, Simian Mobile Disco, Martha Wainwright, BBC Sound of 2017 longlist artists Cabbage and Declan McKenna as well as Cass McCoombs, HECK, Beans on Toast, The Moonlandingz, The Carnabys, Skinny Girl Diet, Shame, Dream Wife and Goat Girl, while Sam Duckworth, formerly of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, will perform ‘The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager’ in full with his new project Recreations.
IVW 2017 will also feature a host of gigs with line-ups hand-picked by the likes of SXSW, Huw Stephens, Killimanjaro, Domino Records, Bugged Out, Springboard, a Karousel Music x SESAC Showcase, Trashmouth Records, Field Music & Independent Presents, Melting Vinyl and Live UK 16 Award winning promoter Juicebox Live.
The event is being sponsored by Arts Council England for the third time, and Director Of Music Helen Sprott stressed how the annual event has come to nourish local music scenes around Britain. She said: “We remain committed to Independent Venue Week and to highlighting the importance of grassroots venues to local communities and emerging artists across the country.
“Grassroots venues are critical to the health of the music industry, an invaluable circuit for new talent, making the connection between musicians and audiences everywhere. We are delighted that once again, an Arts Council England Grants for the Arts award is enabling this vital work to continue.”
Independent Venue Week will also continue its work with Attitude is Everything, expanding access for all gig goers, as well as working with Stay Up Late’s gig buddy scheme, which links up adults with learning disabilities with volunteers who have similar taste in music so they can attend gigs together.
“What’s so exciting about this year is just how many people are now involved in Independent Venue Week,” said event founder Sybil Bell. “The support means grassroots venues are benefiting from brilliant artists, promoters and media who are helping to start the year off with some amazing shows. Last year, nearly 40,000 people went to gigs during IVW – a huge boost to venues and a great way for people to kick the January blues into touch.”
Founding partners Musicians Union are once again onboard to support IVW, as are PRS For Music who will tour the country in association with PPL and BASCA staging a series of events for local music communities, including masterclasses on songwriting, how to maximise your revenue and more. In addition, PRS for Music’s M magazine will be curating a live show at East London gigging institution the Sebright Arms. Taking place on Thursday 26 January, the night will feature some of M’s most-loved up-and-coming PRS for Music members.
Liquer brand Jägermeister is sponsoring the event for the first time, putting on shows across the country following their successful expansion into live music and festival activities, including Field Day, Bloodstock and Bestival. Independent ticketing company Skiddle are also the official partner, exclusively ticketing some of the shows including all Tim Peaks and SXSW gigs. They will also be offering booking fees-free deals for official IVW shows during the week as well as other incentives to support venues throughout the year.
This year also sees Vauxhall renewing their commitment to Britain’s live music scene as they continue their #VivaroOnTour campaign. This unique opportunity offers musicians the free use of a van to aid them while touring. Independent East London brewers Signature Brew are back for a second year, while Jack Daniels will host a curated Jack Rocks show.
A full list of venues participating in IVW is here. Dates and ticket links will go live on the site as shows are confirmed and more gigs, artists and partners will be announced over the coming days and weeks through IVW social media channels.