In the new year, an inspiring spirit of independence and the UK's incredible culture of live music will be celebrated over six nights at 18 venues across the UK and Ireland at the first ever Independent Venue Week.
It's a bit like Record Store Day or the AIM Independent Music Awards, but for small venues. Here's a couple of quotes that will (hopefully) put things into context for you:
"Those small, independent venues in your local city centre are the ones that keep the music scene going. These venues are where the bands meet, form and play. They are where the similar bands from other towns come to play and create scenes. These venues are the backbone of the music scene, and without them we have nothing to be proud of." - Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1 / SWN Festival (pictured, above)
“Independent Venue Week is a fantastic idea. Small venues are the lifeblood of British music. There's a particular kind of excitement when you go to a gig at these venues. They're visceral and intimate.” - Phil Selway, Radiohead
“The struggle to compete with large, sponsor-backed venues makes it a tough and challenging time for independents. Combine this with bands finding it harder to tour due to limited revenues and rising on-the-road costs and we can all see what a difficult climate live venues find themselves in. There's never been a more important time to highlight the importance of these treasured places; getting people excited about discovering new music up close and personal and reigniting fans passion for gig-going.” - Sybil Bell, co-founder of Independent Venue Week
It should be a no brainer why this week, put together in conjunction with PRS for Music, is happening. For you the DiS-reading, gig-devouring 'punter' this might mean some special intimate shows, and for the less informed, who live for arena-glitz, it may make them realise they have a special venue putting on great shows most nights of the week. Everyone's a winner.
The inaugural Independent Venue Week will be a 6 day series of gigs. Events run from 28th January - 2nd February 2014, and feature a mixture of artists, promoters, labels and blogs curating line-ups, including DiS, Domino, Moshi Moshi and more to be announced.
The 18 Official Venues confirmed for 2014 are: King Tuts Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow, London's Half Moon Putney, Norwich Arts Centre, The Cluny in Newcastle, Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach (celebrating its 30th anniversary this year), Stoke Sugarmill (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year), Liverpool's Zanzibar, Bristol Louisiana, Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast, The Library in Leeds, Southampton Joiners (celebrating its 45th anniversary this year - this is the venue DiS will be hosting an evening at), Guilford Boileroom, The Leadmill in Sheffield, Oxford Jericho, Plymouth's Tiki Bar, Manchester Soup Kitchen, The Tunbridge Wells Forum (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year) and York Fibbers