- The hotly-tipped newcomers will join our overall IVW24 Ambassador – English Teacher – in promoting the UK’s annual celebration of independent venues and culture
- Both will play exclusive gigs during IVW24 with Brooke performing at Mac Arts in Galashiels on 31st January, while L E M F R E C K appears at The Gate in Cardiff on 3rd February
- 205 venues around the country will participate in IVW24, hosting hundreds of shows for artists including Richard Dawson, The Snuts, Alison Russell, Islet & Pictish Trail (Fire Records 40th anniversary show), Don Letts, David Gray, Nell Mescal, The Zutons, Buckcherry, Isabel LaRosa, Hooton Tennis Club, Margaret Glaspy, Circa Waves, Ben Ottewell, DJ Yoda, Hinds and Steve Mason
- In the wake of recent closures, IVW founder Sybil Bell, a previous owner of Moles in Bath, urges music fans to come out and support their local venue
- IVW24 ticketing partner, Gigantic, rolls out a Christmas gift card offer
- Creative Scotland and Sound Tech come onboard as partners for IVW24
Independent Venue Week (IVW), the UK’s annual 7-day celebration of independent music and arts venues and the people that own, run and work in them can reveal that Scottish superstar-in-waiting BROOKE COMBE and Welsh Music Prize runner-up L E M F R E C K as our final Ambassadors for 2024.
Both will perform exclusive shows during the much-loved nationwide event, which returns on January 29th 2024 when over 200 independent venues come together and encourage fans to come out and enjoy a live show. Against a string of recent closures, including the much-loved Moles club in Bath, it is more important than ever for audiences to show support for their local venue.
As previously announced, fast-rising Leeds indie band ENGLISH TEACHER are our overall Ambassadors for IVW24. During the week, they will play shows in Hebden Bridge, Hull, Margate and York.
Shortlisted for this year’s Scottish Album of the Year Awards with her mixtape, Black Is The New Gold, Brooke Combe is on the verge of big things and has received glowing endorsements from the likes of NME, The Skinny and The Scotsman. Hailing from the Midlothian town of Dalkeith, and combining influences of gospel and soul with a love of indie rock, she has performed at independent venues all across the UK, as well as major festivals including Glastonbury, TRNSMT and Neighbourhood. Produced by The Coral’s James Skelly, Brooke’s debut studio album is due in 2024.
L E M F R E C K (aka Lemarl Freckleton) is another star of the future. Coming from the South Wales city of Newport, his hard-hitting rap and production talents have won over the likes of BBC 1xtra’s CassKidd and BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders. Combining a gift for storytelling with self-directed visuals, L E M F R E C K’s live performances picked up wider audiences after appearances at the Other Voices festival in Cardigan and at Llais Festival in Cardiff. His well-received debut album, Blood, Sweat & Fears was released in 2023 and he recently presented a documentary on the history of Black music in Wales and the strength of its current scene.
Overall, 17 independent venues in Scotland have signed up to participate in IVW24 – ranging in size from the 60-person capacity Leith Depot to Edinburgh’s illustrious 900-person capacity Queen’s Hall. Also involved in Edinburgh are Cabaret Voltaire, La Belle Angele, Legends, Sneaky Pete’s, Stramash, The Caves, The Mash House and Whistle Binkies, alongside Barras Art & Design, McChuills, Stereo, The Cathouse, The Flying Duck and The Garage in Glasgow, and Mac Arts in Galashiels.
Wales has 13 venues taking part, including spaces in Bangor (Neuadd Ogwenn), Buckley (Tivoli), Carmarthen (CWRW), Merthyr Tydfil (The Scala), Port Talbot (Afan Ales & Fine Wines), St Davids (The Grain), Swansea (Tŷ Tawe) and Wrexham (The Parish & The Rockin’ Chair) as well as the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Porter’s, The Gate and Tiny Rebel (all in Cardiff).
During the week, Brooke will play at the stunning Mac Arts venue in Galashiels on January 31st, while L E M F R E C K plays The Gate in Cardiff on February 3rd.
English Teacher, meanwhile, will perform four shows for IVW24, with gigs at The Crescent, York (28th January); The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge (29th January); Polar Bear, Hull (1st February) and WhereElse?, Margate (2nd February)
Brooke Combe said: “I’d never played a gig before and found myself signing the dotted line during lockdown. My first ever gig sold out and, from there, I continue to make my way through all the different venues in all the cities in the UK. The live element has been the biggest part of my journey as I’ve learned the art of performing, gaining more confidence and focusing on my musicality. I feel I’m definitely a better person for channelling my emotions through music and gigging. I’m made up to be a part of Independent Venue Week as I’m a live artist, and constantly want to develop this side of my career and play as many venues as I can.”
L E M F R E C K added: “These venues are so important to me as an artist. I was built on this as a kid, I didn’t have access to big venues to watch music being played. I spent my days inspired by local independent venues. Now I’m an artist in my own right, I’m obsessed with performances being special and as a venue The Gate is definitely that! Endless possibility.”
In total, 205 venues around the country will participate in IVW24, hosting hundreds of shows for artists including Richard Dawson, The Snuts, Alison Russell, Islet & Pictish Trail (Fire Records 40th anniversary show), Don Letts, David Gray, Nell Mescal, The Zutons, Buckcherry, Isabel LaRosa, Hooton Tennis Club, Margaret Glaspy, Circa Waves, Ben Ottewell, DJ Yoda, Hinds and Steve Mason.
All these spaces are of huge cultural importance to the depth and diversity of British music, and one of IVW24’s overriding goals is to help them attract new audiences during what – historically – is a quiet period in the calendar.
Since 2014, more than 1m tickets have been sold for IVW events.
Commenting on Independent Venue Week’s importance to the sector, IVW founder and CEO, Sybil Bell urged fans to come out in force and buy a ticket for a show:
“Whilst we pride ourselves on Independent Venue Week being a positive and celebratory week, this year has seen some of the country’s most loved venues closing, including Moles in Bath, a venue I’ve previously owned. We ask everyone to get out to shows, support these vital and independently-owned local businesses so they can continue to bring the best music and culture to your local communities. If you have friends and family you don’t know what to buy for Christmas, get them an IVW gig ticket – a night out they’ll relish whilst supporting our amazing community.”
To help music lovers do this, our new ticketing partner, Gigantic, has rolled out an IVW Gift Card offer. Please click here for more details.
Meanwhile, we are delighted to announce Creative Scotland, with backing from the National Lottery, and Sound Tech as two new partners for IVW24.
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery, while Sound Tech is one of the UK’s largest independent distributors operating in the professional audio, professional lighting and musical instrument industries.
Head of Music at Creative Scotland, Alan Morrison said:
“Independent Venue Week has a vital role to play as Scotland’s live music sector builds back after the pandemic. A seven-day celebration of the unrivalled power of live performance, IVW24 strengthens the unique bond that exists between music fans and their local venues. This brilliant series of nightly gigs reconnects audiences with their favourite spaces while also giving a boost of confidence to first-timers and those who need special support to dive into the live scene. This is the eighth consecutive year that Creative Scotland has been an IVW partner, and our country could not have a better ambassador than Brooke Combe, who will follow up her recent Scottish Album of the Year Award shortlist nomination by throwing a spotlight on Mac Arts, a bastion of live music in the Borders.”
Sound Tech will support venues with offers on new and ex-demo kit, and will host a product showcase in partnership with IVW at London’s Troxy on 17th and 18th January. This will allow venues to get up close to a range of equipment and receive support and advice from the Sound Tech team.
Both join IVW24’s other previously announced partners in supporting the event: Arts Council England, Beavertown Brewery, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Music Introducing, Creative Wales, Gigantic, and PPL.