Each year, Independent Venue Week celebrates hundreds of truly independent venues and their communities, across the UK. The initiative provides a huge spotlight on the grassroots ecosystem within the live music sector, which has experienced the toughest 18 months in its history. This is an ecosystem which not only includes the venues and the people that own, run and work in them, but also artists, managers, crew, the kit, merch, ticketing, tour transport companies, and the all important music fans and gig-goers – much of who now need their communities support more than ever. So far this year, 121 venues from 66 different villages, towns and cities have signed up to take part, 89% of which are outside of London with more to be announced over the coming weeks.
The official annual #IVW22 launch, hosted by BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, took place on Wednesday 27 October 2021 at 229 London. Lamacq chatted with Tim Perry from The Windmill, Brixton and Cath Hurley from Future Yard, Birkenhead about how the last year has been for them both as venues operators and what being a part of Independent Venue Week will mean to them this year. Lamacq also spoke to Wayne Yardley of Rippla, who started streaming live gigs before the pandemic and Charlotte Penny from Arts Council England about how they have supported Arts and Culture, and specifically the grassroots community, through the pandemic and what’s next.
Lamacq then unveiled this year’s Ambassadors, the up and coming Isle of Wight duo, Wet Leg. The annual launch event was rounded off with a live performance from London based band, Moa Moa.
In the band’s short existence, Wet Leg have already garnered millions of plays across Spotify and gained a huge following from industry and the public alike. The band released their debut single ‘Chaise Longue’ earlier this year (June 2021) and have recently released a second ‘Wet Dream’ (Sept 2021). The duo are made up of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers and their music is sending critics wild with their provocative future pop that pairs unshakeable bubblegum melodies with robotically dispassionate vocals, including dirty jokes your mum wouldn’t like… As part of #IVW22, Wet Leg will be playing shows across the UK and those dates will be announced soon.
When asked about becoming IVW Ambassadors, Wet Leg said:
“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.”
Three additional ambassadors for the nations – Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, will be announced on Friday 29 October 2021.