Perfect timing. If you’ve been hiding yourself away for most of January, Independent Venue Week comes along from Monday 25th to Sunday 31st January to bring back music into your life. And it’s all for a good cause – to help raise awareness of the UK’s rich seam of quirky and individual music venues, along with all the benefits they bring to emerging artists and – of course, the gig-going public.
Now in its third year, Independent Venue Week is set to celebrate country-wide with a raft of gigs and plenty of other good stuff, such as their free workshops in partnership with Cato Academy – these offer help and advice for 14–20 year olds wishing to develop a career in live music, touring and production. Full details and how to apply can be found on the IVW website.
This year’s Ambassadors are Mercury Prize Shortlisted Artist Wolf Alice (pictured above) who are taking over from Frank Turner (2015) and Colin Greenwood (2014).
Here are just a few Independent Venue Week special gigs.
The Half Moon Putney hosts 6 nights of music, with Ian McNabb of Icicle Works appearing on Tuesday 26th. Only a few years ago, the Half Moon was threatening to close down the music side of things altogether, but it was saved by a campaign. The venue is a favourite spot for Hank Wangford appearances and features a mix of emerging unsigned artists, plus a roster of popular tribute acts. Kris Halpin and Imogen Heep perform on Sunday 31st.
The Trades in Hebden Bridge deserves an extra shout out, especially having been such a focal point of support during the floods crisis. I know I’m always featuring them, but this is one of my favourite venues. They present a Flood Fundraiser on Friday 29th. Their IVW is curated by Edwyn Collins.
World’s End Finsbury Park will be an official venue for the first time. Rather than the normal free entry, during IVW guests are asked to donate just £2 on the night in support of the work of The Joe Strummer Foundation, which “gives opportunities to aspiring musicians and support to projects around the world that create social mobility through music”.
Success Express Music are fervent supporters of emerging artists and are taking over three nights at the World’s End with:
Indie rock bands Bella Figura, Renatta Jane, Little Brother Eli and Straight On Till Morning on Tue 26th.
Blues, soul and ska featuring The King’s Parade, The Turner Brothers, Halfpenny Pass, Edmund Jeffery and Hockers on Fri 29th.
Intimate acoustic evening Axel Jansson, Russell Swallow, In Hoodies, Michael Kilbey and Sarah Jane Riedel on Sat 30th January. For full Facebook info, click here
Night & Day Cafe is situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and is a super-friendly little venue with a great daytime food menu. They have an IVW special on Tuesday 26th with unsigned bands: Electric Viper Club, Gardenback and Paper Dragons. £8.
The 100 Club is managing to survive, despite being surrounded by Crossrail development and subsequent devastation for small venues and Denmark Street. It’s still a family-run venture too. They’ve got BMX Bandits, The School and special guests on Saturday 30th January
Sebright Arms Saturday 30th, Goodsoul Promotions presents: The Gilmore Trail, Kellar, and Fly on Bird.
To check out the whole list of participating venues and special gigs, hop over to the Independent Venue website and find yourself a local venue to lend your support to (you can buy tickets on the site too). And if you know of a independent venue who you think could be taking part, tell them to make haste and get in touch with the IVW team. And please add a comment on here with your own recommendations
The Joe Strummer Foundation music charity supports musicians and projects worldwide, and has two fundraising albums out, which you can buy from their site.