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Launch event film here :


Arlo Parks | IVW Ambassador 2021 | Credit: Alex Kurun

UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL: 2:40PM Thursday 3 December 2020 

Independent Venue Week returns for its eighth consecutive year – the annual, seven-day celebration  of independent music venues around the United Kingdom is back and announces Arlo Parks as its  ambassador for 2021. IVW will take place across the nations – England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern  Ireland – from Monday 25 January to Sunday 31 January

Each year, hundreds of venues across the UK take part in Independent Venue Week, inviting a huge  host of exciting artists to play exclusive shows up and down the country in celebration of independent  venues and their communities. The initiative provides a huge spotlight on the grassroots ecosystem  within the live music sector – an ecosystem which includes not only the venues and the people that own,  run and work in them, but also artists, managers, crew as well as kit, merch, ticketing and tour transport  companies and the all important music fans and gig-goers. So far this year, 55 venues from 37 different  villages, towns and cities have signed up to take part, 82% of which are outside of London.  

The official #IVW21 launch took place in a covid secure and socially-distanced event at Bush Hall – hosted by Simone Butler (Primal Scream), who chatted with Arlo Parks as well as Tor Maries aka  Billy Nomates and Betsy Harley, Music and Events Manager of Bush Hall. More interviews were held  over zoom including Claire Mera-Nelson Head of Music at Arts Council England, Rob Wilmshurst CEO See Tickets, Chris Irvine – Product Manager Pro Audio Yamaha Music UK and James  Ainscough – CEO Help Musicians UK. 

You can watch the full launch event here which also includes an electric live performance from Billy  Nomates at a closed, Covid safe gig at Strings on the Isle of Wight at the weekend. 

Arlo Parks – who was crowned BBC’s 2020 Introducing Artist of the Year and enjoyed breakthrough  success this year with a headline European tour – will be taking over from Independent Venue Week’s  2020 ambassador, Anna Calvi.  

Speaking of the appointment, Parks said: “I feel blessed to have been chosen as Independent Venue  Week Ambassador. Independent venues are the backbone of live music and I’m determined to help to  support and protect these national treasures.” 

Three additional ambassadors for the nations – Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – will be  announced in early January. 

The Minister of State for Digital and Culture in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and  Sport (DCMS), Caroline Dinenage MP, said: “Initiatives like Independent Venue Week are crucial in  showcasing fantastic talent in grassroots venues. 2021’s event will help shine a spotlight on emerging  stars and give audiences a chance to enjoy live music safely in wonderful environments. I urge people  to support this week and independent venues across the country.” 

Independent Venue Week, again is gratefully funded by a longstanding partnership with Arts Council  England along with support from DCMS as part of their £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund program,  See Tickets, Yamaha, Fred Perry, The F List, PPL, and loadin.com (plus more support to follow). It  is the first time See Tickets has been the official ticketing partner but they have long championed  independent venues across the UK. 

Rob Wilmshurst, Global CEO at See Tickets said: “We’re very proud to be supporting IVW 2021 in  what has been a challenging time for live event venues. These spaces are at the heart of the live music  scene and we feel strongly that their contribution should be both recognised and celebrated.” 

Sybil Bell, founder of Independent Venue Week, comments: “We are fully aware that as we  announce plans for Independent Venue Week 2021, there is still uncertainty about what will be possible  across the week even with less than 2 months to go. And we are acutely aware that there are still some  venues fighting for their survival. It’s hugely important to us that we are sensitive to everyone in our  community and where they are at, as we announce our plans.

We have spoken to lots of our venues since lockdown started in March as well as partners we work with  who make shows happen, and very early on, so many people asked us to make sure Independent  Venue Week went ahead and that it was needed now, more than ever. 

More recently, much of our community have been looking at ways to make Independent Venue Week  work for them and it’s been heartwarming to see so many people approach us with ideas about how  they want to get involved. 

It’s clear Independent Venue Week won’t be the usual 7 days of hundreds of shows with 3 artist bills  this year but this presents us with opportunities to dig deeper and hear from a whole range of people  and organisations about their role in grassroots live music, often from those who are behind the scenes. 

We will start to get a clearer picture of specific activity as January comes around – it’s hard for lots of  people to plan too far ahead in terms of what can be done live physically and what will need to be done  digitally. But we are so pleased to have the venues signed up we do, and excited to see the shows that  are already on sale. 

What is very clear is that everyone we’re speaking with, ourselves included, want to kick off 2021 with  a sense of optimism and to look to the future in a positive way.” 

Nathan Clark, owner of The Brudenell Social Club and founder of Council of Independent Live  Music, comments: 

“Covid has exposed many things, and in music it became clearly apparent that independent voices were  limited, or simply not part of live music conversation. 

Through discussions with many in the sector, there was a desire to have further discussions around  live, but there needed to be a goal and a framework. What was clear was that we wanted to help our  live sector understand where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we want to get to, and the  period of opportunities, threats and challenges this brings up for live music. 

The Council of Independent Live Music is the starting point for that discussion and, in the longer term,  it is about a desire to create a better, more transparent, more equitable and more plugged in live music  community.” 

Information on Independent Venue Week Live 2020 record release and Independent Venue Week  2021’s itinerary to be announced in the coming weeks. 


For full event listings please visit: http://independentvenueweek.com/uk/ticketsandinfo  –

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Martin Moseley

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