Arlo Parks | IVW Ambassador 2021 | Credit: Alex Kurun

Independent Venue Week returns for its eighth consecutive year – the annual, seven-day celebration of independent music venues around the United Kingdom is back and announces Arlo Parks as its ambassador for 2021. IVW will take place across the nations – England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – from Monday 25 January to Sunday 31 January.

Each year, hundreds of venues across the UK take part in Independent Venue Week, inviting a huge host of exciting artists to play exclusive shows up and down the country in celebration of independent venues and their communities. The initiative provides a huge spotlight on the grassroots ecosystem within the live music sector – an ecosystem which includes not only the venues and the people that own, run and work in them, but also artists, managers, crew as well as kit, merch, ticketing and tour transport companies and the all important music fans and gig-goers. So far this year, 55 venues from 37 different villages, towns and cities have signed up to take part, 82% of which are outside of London.

The official #IVW21 launch took place in a covid secure and socially-distanced event at Bush Hall – hosted by Simone Butler (Primal Scream), who chatted with Arlo Parks as well as Tor Maries aka Billy Nomates and Betsy HarleyMusic and Events Manager of Bush HallMore interviews were held over zoom including Claire Mera-Nelson – Head of Music at Arts Council England, Rob Wilmshurst CEO See Tickets, Chris Irvine – Product Manager Pro Audio Yamaha Music UK and James Ainscough – CEO Help Musicians UK.

You can watch the full launch event here which also includes an electric live performance from Billy Nomates at a closed, Covid safe gig at Strings on the Isle of Wight at the weekend.

Arlo Parks – who was crowned BBC’s 2020 Introducing Artist of the Year and enjoyed breakthrough success this year with a headline European tour – will be taking over from Independent Venue Week’s 2020 ambassador, Anna Calvi.

Speaking of the appointment, Parks said: “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.”

Three additional ambassadors for the nations – Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – will be announced in early January.The Minister of State for Digital and Culture in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)Caroline Dinenage MPsaid: “Initiatives like Independent Venue Week are crucial in
showcasing fantastic talent in grassroots venues. 2021’s event will help shine a spotlight on emerging stars and give audiences a chance to enjoy live music safely in wonderful environments. I urge people to support this week and independent venues across the country.”

Independent Venue Week, again is gratefully funded by a longstanding partnership with Arts Council England along with support from DCMS as part of their £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund program, See TicketsYamahaFred PerryThe F ListPPL, and (plus more support to follow). It is the first time See Tickets has been the official ticketing partner but they have long championed independent venues across the UK.

Rob Wilmshurst, Global CEO at See Tickets said: “We’re very proud to be supporting IVW 2021 in what has been a challenging time for live event venues. These spaces are at the heart of the live music scene and we feel strongly that their contribution should be both recognised and celebrated.”

Sybil Bell, founder of Independent Venue Week, comments: “We are fully aware that as we announce plans for Independent Venue Week 2021, there is still uncertainty about what will be possible across the week even with less than 2 months to go. And we are acutely aware that there are still some venues fighting for their survival. It’s hugely important to us that we are sensitive to everyone in our community and where they are at, as we announce our plans.
We have spoken to lots of our venues since lockdown started in March as well as partners we work with who make shows happen, and very early on, so many people asked us to make sure Independent Venue Week went ahead and that it was needed now, more than ever.More recently, much of our community have been looking at ways to make Independent Venue Week work for them and it’s been heartwarming to see so many people approach us with ideas about how they want to get involved.It’s clear Independent Venue Week won’t be the usual 7 days of hundreds of shows with 3 artist bills this year but this presents us with opportunities to dig deeper and hear from a whole range of people and organisations about their role in grassroots live music, often from those who are behind the scenes.We will start to get a clearer picture of specific activity as January comes around – it’s hard for lots of
people to plan too far ahead in terms of what can be done live physically and what will need to be done digitally. But we are so pleased to have the venues signed up we do, and excited to see the shows that are already on sale.What is very clear is that everyone we’re speaking with, ourselves included, want to kick off 2021 with a sense of optimism and to look to the future in a positive way.”

Nathan Clark, owner of The Brudenell Social Club and founder of Council of Independent Live Music, comments:

“Covid has exposed many things, and in music it became clearly apparent that independent voices were limited, or simply not part of live music conversation.

Through discussions with many in the sector, there was a desire to have further discussions around live, but there needed to be a goal and a framework. What was clear was that we wanted to help our live sector understand where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we want to get to, and the period of opportunities, threats and challenges this brings up for live music.

The Council of Independent Live Music is the starting point for that discussion and, in the longer term, it is about a desire to create a better, more transparent, more equitable and more plugged in live music community.”

Information on Independent Venue Week Live 2020 record release and Independent Venue Week 2021’s itinerary to be announced in the coming weeks.

For full event listings please visit:

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