Independent Venue Week announces new focus and first venues

Independent Venue Week has announced 120 venues for its 2016 event – the third in its history.

The week-long celebration of independent live music venues has grown from 17 participating venues in 2014 to 91 during the 2015 event. 33,000 gig-goers across the UK passed through the doors to enjoy 216 gigs with 820 artists performing – two thirds of the shows sold out.

Plans for 2016 will see that number drop to 120, with the emphasis being on more tours and bigger artists playing smaller venues, as well as supporting local artists.

The project secured Colin Greenwood from Radiohead as their first year ambassador, a role that was filled last year by Frank Turner.

Support last year also came from Arts Council England and previous brand partnerships have included Jack Daniels, Vauxhall, Marshall and music industry trade partners PRS for Music, UK Music and the Musicians Union. Workshops teaching 14 to 19-year olds about non-performing crew roles in live music will also continue.

“The project is unique in that it’s the only national live music project with a local impact,” said founder Sybil Bell. “Brands recognise the value of working with grass roots music at this level in terms of engagement, exposure and coverage. We have turned some brands down – this isn’t something you just buy into without having some empathy or history in music – for us it has to be brands that fit comfortably in the space otherwise it doesn’t work for any party.”

Independent Venue Week runs from 25-31 January 2016.