Independent Venue Week

Independent Venue Week is usually the week that we all get together and celebrate everything that is great about our beloved independent venues.  I am sure everyone reading this will celebrate our venues every week of the year, however, the official Independent Venue Week always helps to raise awareness gain media attention and just gives us an excuse to show our  love and appreciation for these venues. For me as I am sure it is for you Independent Venues have played a big part in my life and helped to form who I am as a person.  We have all had so many incredibly happy times in these small independent venues; watching gigs, making friends, enjoying the company of strangers.  Going to a gig is one of those moments in life where you never feel alone.  From the moment you enter a venue you instantly feel that you belong (well I have always felt that way at least).  You are amongst people with a shared passion, shared interest and there is nothing fake about it.  You never have to pretend to be someone you are not.  If you are not the most confident of person and conversation does not come easy to you, being at a gig can make any worries or anxieties that you have just drift away. Although we can’t physically be together as a community in 2021 we have been able to send love and thoughts to everyone involved with our Independent Venues, the owners, the staff, promoters, engineers, musicians who play there and everyone who has ever stepped foot in one.   In Wales Horizons, the music project from BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales arranged a tour of Welsh Venues for Independent Venue Week 2021.   All performances were recorded in a COVID secure way before the latest lockdown and have been released daily online for us to watch from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Bethan Elfyn, Project Manager with Horizons for BBC Wales said “We’ve been watching helplessly as Covid-19 has kept venues and theatres from opening, keeping communities that need each other apart, keeping us from watching, supporting and growing talent in Wales, and keeping us from the benefits of wellbeing and personal growth that music brings to life.  Independent Venue Week is a chance to celebrate everything about our map of venues around Wales, the maverick producers and promoters behind the venues, and the talent that would normally fill the empty buildings with life. The tour is a celebration of what we have, what we miss, and a nod to the future when we can get back to the community that we’ve missed.” Watching these videos this week has been a real source of comfort and inspiration.  Newport has always been my home city so watching the Le Pub video in particular was an absolute joy.   Le Pub has been a part of the Newport community for the last twenty eight years.  Sam Dabb the manager of the now community owned Le Public Space who has been involved with the venue for the last twenty six years perfectly sums up the importance of the venue to the community, how it has been a place to meet friends, a place to fall in love a place for artists to come together.  Venues like this help bands on the start of their journeys and also  as Sam highlights just gives people a place to play music.   Its not always about being the next big thing, people just want somewhere to play music with their friends and that is exactly what independent venues give us.   The artists performing at Le Pub for this video were Mace The Great and Faith two exceptionally talented and forward thinking musicians who are well worth you investing your time in.

Independent Venue Week is usually the week that we all get together and celebrate everything that is great about our beloved independent venues.  I am sure everyone reading this will celebrate our venues every week of the year, however, the official Independent Venue Week always helps to raise awareness gain media attention and just gives us an excuse to show our  love and appreciation for these venues. For me as I am sure it is for you Independent Venues have played a big part in my life and helped to form who I am as a person.  We have all had so many incredibly happy times in these small independent venues; watching gigs, making friends, enjoying the company of strangers.  Going to a gig is one of those moments in life where you never feel alone.  From the moment you enter a venue you instantly feel that you belong (well I have always felt that way at least).  You are amongst people with a shared passion, shared interest and there is nothing fake about it.  You never have to pretend to be someone you are not.  If you are not the most confident of person and conversation does not come easy to you, being at a gig can make any worries or anxieties that you have just drift away. Although we can’t physically be together as a community in 2021 we have been able to send love and thoughts to everyone involved with our Independent Venues, the owners, the staff, promoters, engineers, musicians who play there and everyone who has ever stepped foot in one.   In Wales Horizons, the music project from BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales arranged a tour of Welsh Venues for Independent Venue Week 2021.   All performances were recorded in a COVID secure way before the latest lockdown and have been released daily online for us to watch from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Bethan Elfyn, Project Manager with Horizons for BBC Wales said “We’ve been watching helplessly as Covid-19 has kept venues and theatres from opening, keeping communities that need each other apart, keeping us from watching, supporting and growing talent in Wales, and keeping us from the benefits of wellbeing and personal growth that music brings to life.  Independent Venue Week is a chance to celebrate everything about our map of venues around Wales, the maverick producers and promoters behind the venues, and the talent that would normally fill the empty buildings with life. The tour is a celebration of what we have, what we miss, and a nod to the future when we can get back to the community that we’ve missed.” Watching these videos this week has been a real source of comfort and inspiration.  Newport has always been my home city so watching the Le Pub video in particular was an absolute joy.   Le Pub has been a part of the Newport community for the last twenty eight years.  Sam Dabb the manager of the now community owned Le Public Space who has been involved with the venue for the last twenty six years perfectly sums up the importance of the venue to the community, how it has been a place to meet friends, a place to fall in love a place for artists to come together.  Venues like this help bands on the start of their journeys and also  as Sam highlights just gives people a place to play music.   Its not always about being the next big thing, people just want somewhere to play music with their friends and that is exactly what independent venues give us.   The artists performing at Le Pub for this video were Mace The Great and Faith two exceptionally talented and forward thinking musicians who are well worth you investing your time in. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p094zm3g

When I saw the news of this event from Horizons one of the names I was most excited about watching the session for was Ennio The Little Brother whose album Goodbye Magnolia Stump has been one that I have truly lost myself in since its release last October.          As with so many artists Ennio The Little Brother has not been able to tour this album, watching this recording from Neuadd Ogwen really brought home what we have been missing out on.  This was such an atmospheric performance full of thought provoking moments that if this was a full venue would have left everyone piling out into the night sky feeling moved and inspired. The video for Queens Hall in Narbeth also makes us realise that a world without independent venues really would not be worth living in.   This venue has been part of the community since the 1950s, and was built by the community coming together and raising the money to build the venue.   The venue has played host to many throughout the years including a relatively unknown at the time Elton John.   Watching both Rona Mac and Jodie Marie perform during this video I felt myself drifting away to the venue, standing in complete silence in a room full of people everyone of us hanging on intently to every jaw dropping sound that we are hearing. Over the years I have lost count of the number of bands / artists I have fallen in love with on a random Monday night in an independent venue.  Thanks to this project by Horizons during Independent Venue Week I was able to experience that feeling and fall in love with some new artists through watching the video recorded at Galeri in Caernarfon.  Body Water and Ifan Pritchard were both unknown to myself before watching this video.   If I was watching these performances in a venue I would instantly have found my attention being drawn to the stage and getting lost within the mesmerizing sounds that were filling the room.   I will be following both Body Water and Ifan Pritchard with a lot of interest this year.   The same also applies to Malan whose recording at Neuadd Ogwen was so soulful, uplifting and tender.   These are songs that need to find their way to as many people as possible. Sin City in Swansea was another venue used for these sessions.   This is one of those venues that even if you haven’t been to it you will be sure to have heard the name.   Again highlighting the impact Independent Venues have on our lives.   Reading through gig listings and listening to the radio whenever I read or heard the name Sin City I was always intrigued.   The performances for this video included an acoustic and passionate show from Those Damn Crows.  K(E)NZ and Leila McKenzie treated us to performances that provide inspiration and encourage us to believe in ourselves and never stop chasing our dreams.  These songs also allow us to reflect on what has been going on in the world and what we as human beings can do to change things. Thanks to Horizons for putting this together for Independent Venue Week and in so doing has helped bring us all together reminding us that we are still part of a wider community and these venues need to survive as they are going to play a vital role in the healing of this country.   It might not seem it at the moment, but one day COVID will be under control and it will be safe to go back to our favorite venues, spend time with friends and like minded people enjoying the togetherness that music gives us.  Stay safe everyone and imagine that feeling you are going to get when we can start going to gigs again. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p094zm3g

When I saw the news of this event from Horizons one of the names I was most excited about watching the session for was Ennio The Little Brother whose album Goodbye Magnolia Stump has been one that I have truly lost myself in since its release last October. As with so many artists Ennio The Little Brother has not been able to tour this album, watching this recording from Neuadd Ogwen really brought home what we have been missing out on. This was such an atmospheric performance full of thought provoking moments that if this was a full venue would have left everyone piling out into the night sky feeling moved and inspired.

The video for Queens Hall in Narbeth also makes us realise that a world without independent venues really would not be worth living in. This venue has been part of the community since the 1950s, and was built by the community coming together and raising the money to build the venue. The venue has played host to many throughout the years including a relatively unknown at the time Elton John. Watching both Rona Mac and Jodie Marie perform during this video I felt myself drifting away to the venue, standing in complete silence in a room full of people everyone of us hanging on intently to every jaw dropping sound that we are hearing.

Over the years I have lost count of the number of bands / artists I have fallen in love with on a random Monday night in an independent venue. Thanks to this project by Horizons during Independent Venue Week I was able to experience that feeling and fall in love with some new artists through watching the video recorded at Galeri in Caernarfon. Body Water and Ifan Pritchard were both unknown to myself before watching this video. If I was watching these performances in a venue I would instantly have found my attention being drawn to the stage and getting lost within the mesmerizing sounds that were filling the room. I will be following both Body Water and Ifan Pritchard with a lot of interest this year. The same also applies to Malan whose recording at Neuadd Ogwen was so soulful, uplifting and tender. These are songs that need to find their way to as many people as possible.

Sin City in Swansea was another venue used for these sessions. This is one of those venues that even if you haven’t been to it you will be sure to have heard the name. Again highlighting the impact Independent Venues have on our lives. Reading through gig listings and listening to the radio whenever I read or heard the name Sin City I was always intrigued. The performances for this video included an acoustic and passionate show from Those Damn Crows. K(E)NZ and Leila McKenzie treated us to performances that provide inspiration and encourage us to believe in ourselves and never stop chasing our dreams. These songs also allow us to reflect on what has been going on in the world and what we as human beings can do to change things.

Thanks to Horizons for putting this together for Independent Venue Week and in so doing has helped bring us all together reminding us that we are still part of a wider community and these venues need to survive as they are going to play a vital role in the healing of this country. It might not seem it at the moment, but one day COVID will be under control and it will be safe to go back to our favorite venues, spend time with friends and like minded people enjoying the togetherness that music gives us. Stay safe everyone and imagine that feeling you are going to get when we can start going to gigs again.

#ampmagazine #independentvenueweek #musicnews

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