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(Credit: Alani Cruz)

Music

Everything we know about Independent Venue Week

@josephtaysom

Independent music venues are the bedrock of every burgeoning scene in Britain. They are the breeding ground that helped make your favourite band what they are, and we’ve never needed to come together around them more than now.

The pandemic, combined with the Government’s transparent disdain for the arts, has made it difficult for these sacred cultural buildings to survive. Even before Covid arrived, small venues were already under immense strain, and a report from UK Music last year stated that 35% had permanently closed in the past decade.

This is why Independent Venue Week are doing vital work by highlighting hundreds of venues across the United Kingdom and bringing artists back to their roots for a series of special shows which runs until February 6th.

Wet Leg, who are the ambassadors for the 2022 edition, will be starting their run at YES on Manchester on the 28th before moving on to The Joiners in Southampton, Margate’s Elsewhere, before culminating at The Louisiana in Bristol on February 3rd.

The duo said about their role: “We grew up in a place where we had no music venues at all and after living in Bristol and London, it’s been incredible to experience what it’s like to be a part of a scene; to feel that sense of community that you can pinpoint geographically to a place, to a venue, I think is quite important and quite special particularly for emerging bands and artists.”

The band added: “It’s a bit of a delicate ecosystem – Music makers and lovers are supported by the venues and in turn the venues are supported by bands/artists and their fans passing through. The way I see it is this – No Independent venues = No music scene. No community.”

Porridge Radio are also taking part in the initiative with their four-date run taking them to Birmingham, York, Hull, and Cardiff. Meanwhile, SOAK, the IVW ambassador for Northern Ireland, will be playing a series of concerts on the mainland before arriving home for shows in Belfast and Derry.

IDLES are an example of a group that spent years cutting their teeth on the grassroots circuit and have since moved on to grander things. Their three-night residency next week at Glasgow’s Barrowlands is part of this year’s IVW proceedings which confirms the Bristolians haven’t forgotten the importance of celebrating the buildings that made them.

BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq is another champion of the scene, and next week he will be bringing his drive-time show to different venues across the country for a special concert each evening.

Franz Ferdinand will be kicking things off at PJ Molloys in Dunfermline on the 31st with Yard Act performing at Leeds’ Belgrave Music Hall the following day, and his week will be brought to an end by Bess Atwell at The Horn in St Albans.

In total, over 210 venues from across 93 different villages, towns and cities have signed up for Independent Venue Week 2022. Promisingly, for 56 participating venues, this is their debut IVW. To see a complete list of the IVW 2022 schedule, click here.