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Spotlight set to focus on independent venues

By Alan Beresford

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INDEPENDENT Venue Week (IVW) is set to return in person for its ninth consecutive year.

IVW ambassadors Wet Leg.
IVW ambassadors Wet Leg.

The annual, seven-day celebration of independent music venues around the UK will run from January 31 to February 6, 2022 with up and coming Isle of Wight duo, Wet Leg, unveiled as event ambassadors.

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. So far this year, 121 venues from 66 different villages, towns and cities have signed up to take part, 89 per cent of which are outside of London with more to be announced over the coming weeks.

Looking forward to their role as event 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 equals 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."

Unveiled as Scotland's ambassador is Joesef.

Joesef is the IVW ambassador for Scotland.
Joesef is the IVW ambassador for Scotland.

Hailing from the East End of Glasgow he has been noted as the “the prince of bedroom pop”. Crafting personal, love-lorn songs of heartbreak that evoke a sense of nostalgia, Joesef has been creating a soundtrack to moments of intimacy. The frankness of Joesef’s lyrics are unflinchingly self-aware and are an honest insight into his life experiences and relationships that connects him to a mass audience. He was nominated for the 2021 Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Joesef said: “It feels class to be the IVW ambassador for Scotland. Independent venues breathe life right into areas like Glasgow, I used to eat chips under the lights of the Barrowlands at Christmas time until I was old enough to go and see the Specials play there myself.

"My first ever gig was in King Tuts which basically kick started my career, as it has done for many others, and now my name’s on the steps. Independent venues are catalysts for culture within areas that sometimes get left out of the conversation, that’s why when the lights of the Barrowlands were out during the pandemic, everyone felt it a little bit more.”

Independent Venue Week again is funded by a long-standing partnership with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Wales, See Tickets, and loadin.com (plus more support to follow). See Tickets are the official ticketing partner for IVW 2022 championing independent venues across the UK.

Details of shows, tours and ticket links are available on the Independent Venue Week website which will be updated continuously over the coming weeks and months along with details of this year’s Independent Venue Week Live 2021 record release.

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