We are over the moon today to see the lifting of restrictions in England, allowing many independent venues to once more open their doors and welcome gig-goers. For many of our venues this will be the first gig they will have put together in over 16 months, and we’re really excited by all of the shows we’ve seen announced and taking place over the next few weeks.  

We can only imagine what Big Jeff’s gig diary currently looks like. 

Even though we had to deliver a very different Independent Venue Week earlier this year, despite the doom and gloom of Covid-19, we have certainly learned a lot about livestreaming! 

With the support of Arts Council England, The Cultural Recovery Fund from DCMS & Creative Scotland, #IVW21 featured 169 shows across 120 venues. 

Our 2021 Ambassador Arlo Parks performed a beautiful set recorded live from Bush Hall which we captured in 360°. The set is available to watch here – It’s a really cool thing to wrap your head around, try tilting your phone or clicking and dragging your mouse to look around, it’s amazing.  

On the very first night, we hosted an online screening of our documentary On The Road With Independent Venue Week followed by a live Q&Q hosted by Matt Everitt featuring Philip Selway (Radiohead), Adrian Utley (Portishead), Big Jeff, Dom Frazer (The Boileroom), Rebecca Walker (The Leadmill), Nathan Clark (Brudenell Social Club) and our founder, Sybil Bell.

We also saw more panels being hosted including our Culture Panel with Andy Burnham and the now Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, our PRS Response Panel & BBC Introducing Panels.  

There was also a fantastic series of interviews hosted by Primal Scream’s Simone Marie with a range of guests including Johnny MarrLiela Moss, Matt Everitt, Roni Size, Skin from Skunk Anansie, Andy Bell from RIDE & Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods. You can see them all here, on our YouTube channel.

It was fantastic to try brand new things for #IVW21 including the brilliant online quiz run by Duglas of BMX Bandits (trust us, you don’t want any of us on your pub quiz team!). 

We’re really excited to say we’ve already got some wonderful things in the pipeline for #IVW22 as well as more community activities planned with our Community Interest Company, Can You CIC It, and our development, education and community program, Yes We Can. Keep your eyes peeled for more information later in the year about how you can get involved at your local independent venue. You can follow Can You CIC It on Twitter here, and stay tuned for the launch of our Yes We Can initiative and the associated social media.

We’ve been really busy behind the scenes since March 2020 and have missed seeing our venue community, our favourite bands and our favourite spaces in person so very much.  

Nothing will compare to the joy we’re going to feel when we get back down the front of our venues alongside our friends & fellow live music fans.  

If, like us, you’re excited about being able to get out and about but are still cautious about the virus, it’s more than ok to wear masks and sanitise. We certainly will be for a while yet.  

And if you’re particularly vulnerable, go to the Attitude is Everything website to check out their check list about accessible reopening.  

For all of our venues, no matter whether you’re able to re-open now or not we’re right there with you in spirit and can’t wait to be back with you in person.  

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