It’s no secret that independent venues around the UK have struggled this year. Multiple lockdowns have decimated the live-entertainment industry, and according to reports in September more than half of staff at venues across the country have been placed on furlough, with employment in the live entertainment sector falling by 15 percent.
All of this makes initiatives like Independent Venue Week all the more important. Each year, hundreds of grassroots venues across the UK take part in an exciting week of live music that celebrates independent live music venues all around the country, while championing the people that run them and the communities that they foster.
This year, the festival's eighth edition, is kicking off January 25 (that's this Monday). Featuring more than 100 venues, 96 performances, 23 'in conversation with' type thing, some nice panels and even a handful of quizzes, this is well worth your time. Musicians performing include Liam Gallagher, Blossoms, Idles, Bombay Bicycle Club, Sam Smith, DMC and Beverly Knight. Obviously there's loads more besides (including Gruff Rhys playing guitar in what looks like a swamp), so why not just get yourself over to their website and have a look for yourself.
‘Independent venues are the backbone of live music,’ says the festival's ambassador Arlo Parks. ‘I’m determined to help to support and protect these national treasures.’
Much-loved London venues being used for performances and interviews next week include The Clapham Grand, The Roundhouse, Omeara and Bush Hall.
Across the country, a number of independent live music venues have shared the difficulties they’ve encountered this year, with many launching crowd funders in order to stay afloat. This includes the #SaveOurVenues campaign, which has raised over £3 million so far to help prevent venues from around the country from closing down. Last month, an interactive map was launched that detailed some of the London venues that were at immediate risk of closure.
‘Initiatives like Independent Venue Week are crucial in showcasing fantastic talent in grassroots venues,’ said Caroline Dinenage, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. ‘2021’s event will help shine a spotlight on emerging stars and give audiences a chance to enjoy live music safely in wonderful environments. I urge people to support this week and independent venues across the country.’
For more information about Independent Venue Week 2021 and to book tickets visit their website here.