Well, that was a very different but no less important week – the most enormous thank you to every single one of you, who helped make Independent Venue Week 2021 happen. 

The work that went into making this a digital event was so much more complex than anything we, or many of our venues, have tackled before and we are incredibly grateful to all of our venues, artists, promoters, crew, tech, streaming, partners, broadcasters and ticketing companies who put so much effort into making sure our community was in the spotlight.

HUGE thank you to our amazing Ambassador, Arlo Parks, especially for the launch of her spellbinding debut, Collapsed in Sunbeams released on the Friday of IVW. Also, to our Ambassadors across the three nations Gruff Rhys in Wales who hosted Ara Deg 20201 festival at Neuadd OgwenJordan Adetunji in Northern Ireland who took us on a tour of some of his favourite venues there and Amy Macdonald for Scotland who’s postponed event with Connor Fyfe will be announced here and on our socials, soon.

We’ve incredibly grateful to the team at BBC 6 Music for their outstanding coverage of all of the shows and events that have taken place. We’re all heartbroken not to be back out on tour but they’ve made sure that stories were told and experiences were shared in every corner of the country. 

You can listen again to Steve Lamacq’s Friday show which was dedicated to IVW’s past and present including highlights of live IVW sets including Anna Calvi, Nadine Shah, Self Esteem and The Specials. Plus independent venues from across the country helped choose the music in the Friday Free For All.

We’ve also really enjoyed working more closely with BBC Introducing and collectively we hosted 4 panels across the week looking at advice and support for breaking artists. 

This week is made possible with the support of our partners and so special thanks go to Arts Council England  without whom, Independent Venue Week wouldn’t even be here. This last 12 months in particular, the team at Arts Council have been working tirelessly to ensure funds get to parts of our industry that have needed it to survive. 

This year we also have to thank DCMS for our Cultural Recovery Fund grant which again has enabled us to bring the week together #HereForCulture.

Creative Scotland’s unwavering support of IVW for another year meant that we were able to develop a really exciting event involving our ambassador, Amy Macdonald and Connor Fyfe. We look forward to sharing more details with our music community as soon as we can. Their funding support also meant that we were able to continue spotlighting the music venue community in Scotland through a series of interviews in print, radio and tv.

We’d like to thank the dedicated and incredibly helpful team at See Tickets who’ve been just so supportive in the build up to, as well as across the week. Hands down the best ticketing company in our community. 

We’re looking forward to finally delivering our partnership with Yamaha when things open up and #BringingLive2Life.

Thanks also go to Fred Perryloadin.comMusicians UnionPPLHardwick & Morris and The F List for your support and commitment to both our work and our community.

Some of our unsung heroes are our team of IVW National and Regional reps who work unbelievably hard to ensure we reach people in different villages, towns and cities around the UK so IVW continues to be a national program with a very local feel. A massive thank you goes to: Aaron Douglas, Adrian Cooke, Chris Sherrington, Emily Marlow, Luke Hinton, Martin Moseley, Minty, Tam Coyle, Tor Byrnes, Francesca O’Connor – you’re an absolute pleasure to work with.

We’d like to extend special thanks to the brilliant and lovely Joe and Nathan at The Brudenell in Leeds for their amazing support and guidance on the technical delivery of this year’s event. 

We held the premiere of our documentary, On The Road with Independent Venue Week. A feature that was three years in the making, the film saw Philip Selway touring the country visiting some venues Radiohead had played in their early years including The New Adelphi ClubThe 100 ClubBrudenell Social ClubTrades ClubThe BoileroomMoles ClubThe LeadmillJohn Peel CentreThe MetBush HallThe Cookie & others.


The film featured interviews Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Adrian Utley (Portishead), Fatboy SlimNadine ShahIDLESGaz CoombesNovelistRichard HawleyTalk ShowPip BlomBig Jeff & more and there was a live Q&A with some of those that featured in the film. Watch this space to see where the documentary will appear next. 

We held a lot more conversational events this year ranging from panels to interviews as well as less formal catch up with friends. 

Our Culture Panel was picked up in the news after Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnhamspeaking with Jamie Njoku-GoodwinTracy BrabinDom FrazerNathan Clarke and Big Jeff called on the “big players” in music to pay a levy, just as football clubs contribute to grassroots facilities. 

CMU hosted 3 sessions on a range of topics including the Grassroots Live Community as a whole, Accessibility within the Arts Sector and the Future of Live Music.

Simone Marie, bass player with Primal Scream and Soho Radio host, caught up with some amazing guests include Johnny MarrRoni SizeLeila MossMatt EverittSkinJason Williamson and Andy Bell

Meanwhile, Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Perfume Genius spoke about creativity in lockdown. Whilst Brix Smith and Youth put the world to rights about soulless arenas.  

Then there was a afternoon cuppa and natter with This is the Kit’s Kate Stables, Patron of The New Adelphi Club who’s owner Paul Jacko Jackson joined the call along with The Smokehouse’s Marcus Neal and IVW Founder Sybil Bell.

And as much as we like Independent Venue Week to be an uplifting 7 days where we shine the spotlight on our brilliant community, this year, we could not avoid addressing the outrageous decision of PRS for Music to implement their streaming tariff without any consultation and complete lack of transparency as to where funds were going. 

Imposing a flat rate on streamed gigs at a time when artists are supporting their grassroots live community shows how tone deaf the organisations is. We scrambled together a panel to discuss the issues and we will be following up. As of writing this, there has been absolutely no response from the organisation other than speaking to Vice magazine and the pressure is mounting as social media is awash with #FixPRS.

You can catch all of the conversation events on IVW TV.

Once again, we partnered with the amazing Tony, Eva and Emily at Come Play With Me and hosted two nights of live-streamed performances, with another gig planned once restrictions allow. 

Our ongoing partnership with Sam and Molly at Gig Buddies in Scotland allowed us to explore accessibility for audiences and artists in a really interesting and informative panel. 

And finally, huge thanks to Alex and George at Full Fat PR who have worked so hard to get all of the gigs and events out to media all around the country and beyond, ensuring the stories have been told and experiences shared as far and wide as possible.

It really has been very important and heart-warming week but it has come with more challenges that any other IVW that we’ve run.

In amongst it all, there have been some incredible performances and we would urge you to go and watch them if you haven’t yet and donate if you can. 

The support shouldn’t stop just because Independent Venue Week is over. Whilst things are still digital, go and visit the websites of venues you haven’t been to yet, explore what they’re doing and what’s going on in their community.

And then, when the country opens up, get together with a few mates and spend some time going on a tour or two of your own. Get out and about around the country, discover towns, cities and villages you’ve never been to and support venues you’ve always heard of but never been through their doors. We know music takes you on an emotional journey but let it take you on a real journey, support our community all around the world and share you trip using #WhereDoesMusicTakeYou.

Thank you again to everyone who helped make Independent Venue Week happen this year – we are already planning #IVW22 and hope and expect to be back out on the road, with BBC6 Music and Steve Lamacq to create some magical new memories.

See you down the front at more gigs very soon and put next year’s dates in your diary now – we will be back out on the road for 

#IVW22 from Monday 31st Jan – Sunday 6th February 2022

Take good care

Sybil, Colin, Charlie, Oscar and Kyri x

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