This week sees the music industry come together to celebrate Independent Venue Week. Our entertainment arm of the business are proudly Wales’ largest independent promoter and it’s only fitting we celebrate some our favourite venues across the nation.
Independent Venue Week is a 7-day celebration (29th January – 4th February) of small music venues around the UK and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them - week in, week out.
These venues give artists their first experience of playing live in front of an audience and for fans, somewhere to get up close to artists that one day may well be playing stadiums and festival main stages. Over the years, we’ve put George Ezra & Bastille on in Clwb Ifor Bach (Cardiff), Jack Savoretti in Sin City (Swansea), Into the Ark in Hobo’s (Bridgend) and many more.
Across the UK, over 190 venues are taking part with capacities ranging from 22 to 850. The oldest venue is Band on the Wall which is a proud 147 years old, whilst The Horn at the Half Moon is only 10 days old! Independent Venue Week is also supported by a bunch of famous faces that really champion the cause, with Nadine Shah, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Jamie Cullum, and Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC) all acting ambassadors this year.
Supported through public funding (e.g Arts Council of Wales), Independent Venue Week brings together independent venues with breaking and established artists, promoters, labels, media, bloggers and tastemakers to create a nationwide series of gigs throughout the week. It aims to recognize all that these venues have done to create some of the most memorable nights of the past, so they can continue to do the same in the future.
You can view the official venues here: https://www.independentvenueweek.com/official-venues/
Why is this initiative so important to us?
Well, it is essentially uniting the small dark rooms above, below and behind pubs that we all did a lot of our growing up in, and where we promoted our first shows at. They're also the places where most musicians have their first gig, learn how to work a crowd, and earn your undying love and respect as they climb the ladder of success. It’s where you witness moments of pure magic - like seeing VANT crowd surf a life size cut out of Damon Hill through the crowd. They're also the places that a huge number of people in other areas of the music industry learn and develop their craft - whether in sound engineering, promoting or journalism. Home to endless nights of brilliantly unpredictable music, mess and inspiration, they're where the youth of Britain go to discover both new music, and more importantly themselves.
In short, independent venues are still very much the backbone of the music scene.