ENGLISH TEACHER

BROOKE COMBE

L E M F R E C K

PHILIP SELWAY

BEABADOOBEE

YOUNG FATHERS

ADWAITH

WET LEG

MACE THE GREAT

ARLO PARKS

GRUFF RHYS

AMY MACDONALD

JORDAN ADETUNJI

ANNA CALVI

HUW STEPHENS

VIC GALLOWAY

NOVELIST

SAMANTHA RENKE

ADRIAN UTLEY

NADINE SHAH

JAMIE CULLUM

DARRYL McDANIELS

BIG JEFF JOHNS

TIM BURGESS

WOLF ALICE

FRANK TURNER

COLIN GREENWOOD

ENGLISH TEACHER - 2024

“We’re delighted to be the Ambassadors for next year’s Independent Venue Week. Over the years that we’ve developed as a band, we’ve always tried to be vocal about our relationship with the local venues, organisations and scenes that have supported us in our careers and practice, and that continues next year with our tour of some of the most vital grassroots music halls in the country.”

BROOKE COMBE - 2024

“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.”

L E M F R E C K - 2024

“I’m honoured to be an Ambassador for IVW in their 10th Anniversary year. This past decade has seen IVW do incredible work in supporting and nurturing this vital musical community of independent venues. For me, these venues are the lifeblood of music in the UK, and after the great challenges they’ve faced these past few years, I’m excited to represent them in this way.”

PHIILIP SELWAY - 2023

“I’m honoured to be an Ambassador for IVW in their 10th Anniversary year. This past decade has seen IVW do incredible work in supporting and nurturing this vital musical community of independent venues. For me, these venues are the lifeblood of music in the UK, and after the great challenges they’ve faced these past few years, I’m excited to represent them in this way.”

BEABADOOBEE - 2023

“I’m extremely proud to be an Ambassador of Independent Venue Week. These venues are so important at giving young emerging artists a starting point in their career. I will never forget my first gig at The Boileroom in Guildford where I jumped on stage with my friends for 3 songs or my first proper beabadoobee headline show at the Old Pancras Church in Kings Cross. My first and earliest gigs will always be some of my most precious memories. We need to do our best to keep these venues up and running and I want to help shine a light on how important independent venues really are to artists’ careers.”

YOUNG FATHERS - 2023

“We cut our teeth in small independent venues. There’s no rehearsal room that can match a venue. Whether empty or full. The things you think will work that don’t and vice versa. The moments in between songs, the silence, the applause, the people chatting at the back, the sound being terrible, the power going off. How to deal with it, how to play with it. There’s nothing that gives you a greater experience of performing live more than the experience itself.

“The three of us met in the old-old Bongo Club in Edinburgh (the original one has since been knocked down, directly across from the Edinburgh Council building). We’ll never forget the moment of feeling those subwoofers for the first time. We were 14 years old. The Yard MCs held a night with an open mic, which we took full advantage of. 

“Venues up and down the country face all different types of issues post pandemic, as well as facing other issues such as the draconian noise laws like we do here in Edinburgh. So what happens as of now? Town or city, it’s extremely important to make sure there’s a continuous flow of artists who are able to sharpen their ideas in front of real people, on a real stage. For local acts and acts from afar, from known to unknown. The ability to have it right there in front of you is an experience that should be afforded to everybody.”

ADWAITH - 2023

“We are so honoured to have been asked to be ambassadors for next year’s Independent Venue Week. We owe our whole career to independent venues up and down the country and we never would have thought about starting a band if it wasn’t for our local venue in Caerfyrddin. To think that youngsters might not have the same opportunities as us is heartbreaking, especially to music lovers in rural Cymru. Times are tough but it’s more important than ever to support your local venue, anyway you can! Go to gigs, share their posts, buy their merch, show them love!”

 

 

WET LEG - 2022

“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 pin point geographically to a place, to a venue, I think is quite important and quite special particularly for emerging bands and artists. 

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. And to me, I feel that that’s something worth continuing to preserve and nurture. That’s why we’re super stoked and very very proud to be ambassadors for this year’s Independent Venue Week.”

MACE THE GREAT - 2022

“I am really excited to be Independent Venue Week’s Welsh Ambassador and bring something different to the table, especially music of black origin! Independent venues play a crucial part in this industry, not only for providing a platform for local music creatives but I think it also helps build a wider community within the music scene by bringing people together.”

JOESEF - 2022

“It feels class to be the IVW ambassador for Scotland. Independent venues breathe life right into areas like Glasgow, I used to eat chips under the lights of the Barrowlands at Christmas time until I was old enough to go and see the Specials play there myself.  My first ever gig was in King Tuts which basically kick started my career, as it has done for many others, and now my name’s on the steps.  Independent venues are catalysts for culture within areas that sometimes get left out of the conversation, that’s why when the lights of the Barrowlands were out during the pandemic, everyone felt it a little bit more.”

SOAK - 2022

“For a relatively small place, the wealth of talent that comes from Northern Ireland is vast and unique. As a teenager I spent most of my time in local independent venues, either playing or watching shows and meeting others who shared my passion for music and creativity. I felt so lucky and safe to have access to those environments, the sense of community and support was always so tangible. Not only did they provide a protected space to develop songwriting and performance, they also offered a nexus for the creative community to exchange ideas and experience.

When I was fifteen and started ‘chancing my arm’ at the open mic in Bennigan’s, I never anticipated that one day I’d be invited to act as ambassador for IVW in Northern Ireland. It’s an immense privilege to be part of something which was so important in my life, and which highlights the incredible role independent venues play in the cultural, creative and social capital of Northern Ireland.”

ARLO PARKS - 2021

“I feel blessed to have been chosen as Independent Venue Week Ambassador. Independent venues are the backbone of live music and I’m determined to help to support and protect these national treasures.”

 

 

GRUFF RHYS - 2021

“As a touring musician – my work is completely connected to having independent venues exist. It’s about people, not the actual buildings. It’s about the energy and enthusiasm that music fans have created in towns and cities and villages and so, we need to give a voice for those people to be heard.

Touring artists are completely dependent on the enthusiasm of independent promoters and venues. The reality of music is that for most people it’s a lifelong passion, and musicians can rarely make a full living out of it, so music exists thanks to people’s passion to want to hear music, share music and give a stage to exciting new music. Independent venues keep that spirit going and they make it possible for musicians to play – most people involved are doing it for the love of it. Those independent venues create the conditions that make it possible for everything else to happen within music.”

 

AMY MACDONALD - 2021

“Small and independent venues are so important to developing new music in the UK, and I say this with experience: without the places for me to cut my teeth as a performer starting out, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Additionally, they are places where local young people can learn their trades as sound engineers, lighting technicians, promoters, poster designers etc etc, giving them careers for life. I am super proud to be Scotland’s ambassador for Independent Venue Week 2021, at a time when venues across the country find themselves in a perilous position, and we need to remember everything they offer so we do what we can to keep them going for both the future of British music, and the communities in which they exist.”

 

jordan adetunji - 2021

”I am delighted to have been chosen as the ambassador for Northern Ireland during Independent Venue Week 2021. Independent venues play a vital role in creating economic opportunities, while at the same time showcasing and promoting the works of many local artists like myself. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together venues, artists, events operators, and the public – especially in these challenging times – to highlight the importance of independent venues.”

 

ANNA CALVI - 2020

“As an artist who spent many years developing my art in small venues across the UK, it’s such a pleasure to be named    the ambassador of Independent Venue Week 2020.

At a time where independent venues continue to provide a vital platform in every artists career, yet still struggle to keep their doors open, it’s more important than ever for every artist, no matter what size, to continue our support and be vocal about their vitality.”

 

 

HUW STEPHENS - 2020

VIC GALLOWAY - 2020

NOVELIST - 2019

“I thoroughly enjoy having a close connection to my fans and the opportunity to entertain and interact at close quarters gives me the best buzz. They almost become a part of the performance and I get to rave with them. It’s a blessing.”

 

 

SAMANTHA RENKE - 2019

“Concerts were my thing! It mirrored my life, how I matured as a young girl into a woman. They reflected my personality and my experimentation – I found out who I was or who I wanted to be through music. Being at one of JP Cooper’s first gigs or cheering on your friend who’s a supporting act. Each memory ingrained.

I relished in being part of an environment where who you were didn’t matter, in my case my disability didn’t matter it was the love of music that brought us all together. You’d sing along with the stranger next to you in matching band t-shirts and for those two hours you could let any stress evaporate. You could just be you.”

 

 

ADRIAN UTLEY - 2018

“I love smaller venues. To see/hear and to play music…they are where I started and vital for learning how to do it all really. It’s sad if you don’t get to experience this and start your career in arenas which I’m sure some people do. Some music only suits small spaces… It’s so cool to see music that isn’t amplified at all and you can sit close and hear.”

 

 

nadine shah - 2018

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a fancy sit down gig in some elaborate venue but I’ll take a sweat fest in some small dive any day of the week. Being so close to a stage and properly submerging yourself in a show is hard to top. Do yourself a favour and get yourself down to an independent venue to watch artists you’ve never heard of before, you can be that smug arsehole who says “I saw them first”.”

 

 

JAMIE CULLUM - 2018

“We talk so much about the importance of independent labels and record stores but forget that the independent venues are just as critical in helping keep the music scene vibrant and alive. Nobody starts an independent music venue to get rich. They are usually run by people with a passion for music and a scene that is not defined by commercial success. They are places where people take chances on new talent or established, under the radar talent that deserves a stage. Growing up and attending gigs at independent venues was essential to me and my developing tastes that didn’t fit into the mainstream. From a visiting DJ Shadow, an early incarnation of Portishead, The Wedding Present and various underground jazz heroes. These were all people I discovered by taking the chance that these venues that I loved had good taste. They weren’t always right but they were always interesting.

I can’t imagine the British music scene without these venues. Where else would I take in my yearly dose of Sun Ra for example – Cafe Otto of course. A venue absolutely full of character and passion. King Tuts, The Anson Rooms, Half Moon Putney, The Hope and Anchor, Ginglink, The Alley Cat, Komedia, Bush Hall, Band on The Wall – these places and many others are not simply part of the journey – they are the destination.”

 

 

DARRYL McDANIELS - 2018

“Indie venues are the heart and soul of the music world. They present all musicians and artist on an even platform. It’s all about the music. The bands, the artist the songs.

While some of the other venues may only pulsate for special events or occasions, the indie venues are always pumping. Just like the heart doesn’t stop when we are asleep…the indie venues are always beating!”

BIG JEFF JOHNS - 2018

“I just think that it’s been an incredible opportunity that’s landed in my lap. Considering last year was my first involvement, this is a huge leap forward – it’s quite amazing for me. It’s especially great with independent venues has meant so much to me. I always looked at the NME and all of the venues named and dreamt that one day I’d like to go to all the venues.”

TIM BURGESS - 2017

“Independent venues are where every band starts and where music fans get to see emerging talent. Without them bands would not get a chance for their all-important first hometown gigs and subsequent tours. These venues and bands need our support and the best way you can do that is by having a night out. Lots of venues are closing – we definitely need to stick together and stop this happening.”

WOLF ALICE - 2016

“We are proud to be ambassadors of this year’s Independent Venue Week and ask for peoples support so these kind of unique, intimate and sweaty shows continue for everyone to enjoy. Venues that we started off playing along with so many other bands have created some of our funniest memories to date. We’d love for that to continue for us and for other bands, please show your support.”

FRANK TURNER - 2015

“It’s great to see Independent Venue Week back again for a second year, and with so many more venues taking part. There’s been so much support recently for the work these places do and opportunities they offer young and more established artists. It’s vital we all celebrate their existence during Independent Venue Week and do what we can to support them so they are still around for years to come.”

COLIN GREENWOOD - 2014

“I’m proud to be involved in the celebration and promotion of local gigs which gave us some of the best times in our musical life… They’re all crucial for the musical development of the UK because they provide local artists with places to hone their show skills and a window to other musical worlds when a tour hits town. Some of my favourite musical memories are from these independent venues and the dedicated promoters and local crew who run them.”