Independent Venue Week aims to boost grassroots gig spots

A week of shows by established acts at small venues is vital for the future of grassroots music, organisers say.

You Me At Six and Frank Turner are among the acts lined up to take part in Independent Venue Week, which runs from January 26 to February 1 and celebrates small music venues around the UK.

Smaller gig spots have been under the spotlight over the last year as a number of well-known venues have closed or come close to closing.

Turner plays at Night & Day Cafe in Manchester on January 28 and London’s 93 Fete East the following night, while You Me At Six play at Guildford Boileroom on January 30 as part of the week-long campaign.

Independent Music Week is funded by public money via Arts Council England and counts Marshall Amplification, PRS and Vauxhall among its sponsors.

A range of artists are playing in smaller than usual venues throughout the week, with Glasgow’s Audio, The Cluny in Newcastle, Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach and The Ruby Lounge in Manchester also involved.

In total, 85 venues are taking part in the event’s second year. Frank Turner says: “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.”

Organisers for Independent Music Week add: “These venues give artists their first experience of playing live in front of an audience and for fans, somewhere to get up close to artists that one day, may well be playing stadiums and festival main stages.

“They are the backbone of the live music scene in this country and Independent Venue Week wants to recognise all that they have done to create some of the most memorable nights of the past so they can continue to do the same in the future.”

Small venues have been under the cosh in Britain in recent years, with well-known spots including The Cockpit in Leeds and Liverpool’s Mello Mello forced to close. A host of others are at the brink of shutting up shop.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.