Now in its fourth year, Independent Venue Week is a celebration of the UK’s small independent music venues and the people that make them possible.
2017 saw the 7-day event operate across its largest number of venues yet, supported by Tim Burgess as this year’s IVW ambassador – picking up the title from Wolf Alice last year.
We take a look at three Independent Venue Week gigs from across the country and ask the acts what small venues mean to them.
SKINNY GIRL DIET
Wednesday 25th January
The Soundhouse, Leicester
"I think gentrification creeps in and takes over creative scenes, and whatever we can do to try and help stop this is key. Subcultures are born in small venues, and I think the world is being taken over by big concrete buildings with no personality. If we can do our best to keep these small places, maybe together we can start something"
– Ursula, drummer with Skinny Girl Diet.
Hailing from North London, Sisters Delilah and Ursula formed Skinny Girl Diet in 2010 alongside their cousin Amelia bringing an updated approach to the feminist punk ideals associated with the riot grrrl movement of the ‘90s.
Widely acclaimed by the press, Skinny Girl Diet have been championed by Viv Albertine of The Slits amongst others.
Wednesday 25th January
The 100 Club, London
"Independent venues give everyone a chance to work on their craft and get better as a band. Independent anything is good because everything has become so corporate"
- Stephen, singer with The Telescopes.
Noise rockers The Telescopes released their first album ‘Taste’ in 1989 to critical acclaim. Widely compared to Suicide and My Bloody Valentine, they have amassed a strong cult following particularly at their live shows.
The Telescopes played in London’s legendary 100 Club for Independent Venue Week. One of the UK’s longest-running independent venues, it celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2017.
Thursday 26th January
The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
"Small independent venues are completely needed for a band like us. We want to produce something that's so intimate, and so affecting that it's almost like a dual connection between the audience and the band. Our lyrics are very based around social life, so to have the intimacy of an independent venue - we'd be nothing without that"
- Lee, singer with Cabbage.
On their band name Cabbage have to say “It’s the best anti-band name. Some people love it, some people hate it – we’ve always wanted to be a marmite-type entity. We aren’t here to please everybody.”
From just outside Manchester, Cabbage have found themselves on many ‘big in 2017’ lists owing to their political, poetic lyrics and raucous live shows. The five-piece count bards John Cooper Clarke and GG Allin amongst their influences and recently supported 2016 breakout Blossoms on tour.
Cabbage packed The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge for Independent Venue Week.
Described by The Guardian as ”the hippest venue in the North”, The Trades Club has hosted Patti Smith, Fat White Family, Sleaford Mods, Laura Marling and many others over the past few years.
On the success of this year, IVW founder Sybil Bell says “A huge thanks go to everyone who has helped make this happen including all the promoters, artists, every single person that goes to a gig and most of all the 148 grassroots venues all around the country”.
Independent Venue Week will celebrate its fifth birthday in 2018, and organisers are already looking to the future to make it the biggest Independent Venue Week yet.