Amidst a very challenging time for venues in the city and accross the country, Independent Venue Week (IVW) reaches Cardiff and parts of Wales this week. An annual seven-day celebration of independent venues accross the UK, showcasing the grassroots spaces that are hotbets of talent and the people who run them, that develop artists and build community.
IVW comes in the wake of the bad news about Ten Feet Tall and Undertone closing for live music in Cardiff last week. Alongside a 35% reduction in grassroots venues across the country as they deal with the threats from all sides including gentrification, a declining drinking culture, noise laws and rising rents.
In better news this week it was announced that there will be a 50% reduction in Business Rates for small and medium-sized Grassroots Music Venues. The announcement releases over £1.7million back into the grassroots live music sector.
The extension of the relief will see 230 Grassroots Music Venues across England and Wales benefit, with the average saving per venue equating to a reduction in overheads of £7,500 per annum. It follows other wins for the sector including a new ring-fenced fund announced by Arts Council England in May 2019, which released £1.5million of subsidy into the sector, and changes to planning guidance and the legal framework across the UK which have brought additional protections for music venues from developers and noise complaints through Agent of Change.
Mark Davyd, CEO and Founder, Music Venue Trust :said
“This latest announcement from Government is another foundation stone in the support Music Venue Trust is building so that we can deliver a vibrant, sustainable, world-class Grassroots Music Venue sector to artists and audiences. There’s still a lot to be done on this specific issue, and we look forward to working with the governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland to make sure that GMVs across the UK have a level playing field when it comes to Business Rates and Public Subsidies. This issue can be tackled, and it needs a broad coalition of key stakeholders to do that. Government, the Cultural Sector and the live music industry have all acted in the last 12 months to address the crisis in this sector. It’s now time for recording, streaming and publishing interests to play their part. Billions of pounds in revenue are being generated in the music industry from the music that is tested, developed, finds its audience and emerges from these vital spaces. PRS for Music, PPL, Universal, Warners, Sony, Spotify, Apple and Google now need to come to the table and tell us what they are going to do to make sure that continues to happen.”
IVW week gives people the chance to celebrate their music loved local venues such as the Moon Club on Womanby which is a self funded venue that is a champion of local music, plus the chance to explore new talent as well as an opportunity to see their favourite touring bands at events including a UK tour from DJ Steve Lamacq, a Welsh language showcase from Huw Stephens and gigs in venues like Clwb Ifor Bach, The Moon and The Gate.
Director of IVW UK, Chloe Ward said: “With the very saddening announcement from 10 Feet Tall and Undertone’s, it’s more important than ever to encourage audiences to head down to their local venue with a mate or two and celebrate these vital spaces and the people that own, run and play in them.”
In its biggest participation of Welsh venues yet, IVW has partnered with 15 locals in Swansea, Cardiff, Rhayader, Llandrindod Wells, Wrexham and Abertillery, some of which are taking part for the first time.
These hubs are not only precious to the community, but they offer a place for new artists to practise their craft and gain valuable experience of live performance. It’s thanks to £9,000 of funding from Arts Council of Wales, that IVW is able to support Welsh artists and venues alike to continue putting on incredible shows.
IVW have recruited a Welsh ambassador. BBC Radio One presenter Huw Stephens has helped curate two Welsh language showcases featuring Yr Odds and Papur Wal. With support from PRS for Music, the artists will be leaving their homeland to spread some Welsh charm amongst audiences in Edinburgh and Liverpool.
Phil George, Chair, Arts Council of Wales said, “Our independent venues are incredibly important. They’ve given some of our finest bands their first gigs and they give local audiences opportunities to hear exciting music in their own community centres. A key focus for Arts Council of Wales is to support the development of new and emerging talent in a wide range of genres and the venues that are central to that process.”
In addition, DJ Steve Lamacq will take his BBC Radio 6 show to five infamous venues across the UK. On 29 January, Gruff Rhys will take to the stage of Clwb Ifor Bach with support from Sonny Winnebago, Panic Shack, Lucas J Rowe, Hana2k, Codewalkers, Esther and Darren Eedens & The Slim Pickin’s. All of the money raised from the gig will go towards Children in Need.
Chloe, Director of Independent Venue Week UK said, “Independent Venue Week 2020 is bigger than ever, and it’s no different in Wales. We are so chuffed to have our first ever Welsh ambassador, Huw Stephens as part of the family this year. Huw’s insight into the scene in Wales has been invaluable and we are really excited to have some special shows curated by him. We always want to work with as many venues as possible and this year are partnering with venues in locations for the first time including Rhayader and Abertillery, which is amazing.”
Shortly IVW will be announcing their ‘destination tour’ across Wales, bringing artists and gig-goers alike into venues that are not in the wider traditional touring circuit. The tour will be heading to areas they may never have been to before including Wrexham, Swansea, Abertillery and Rhayader, shining a light on all that they do.
29th January: Clwb Ifor Bach & Horizons: Gruff Rhys
30th- Bunkhouse Swansea: Demob Happy
31th- MADE Cardiff: Panic Shack, Bloodshots, XL-Life
1st of February- The Moon: Al Moses, Tiger Bay
For more updates of what will be taking place during the week visit: https://www.independentvenueweek.com/ or follow @IVW_UK on Twitter