Independent Venue Week is a week-long celebration of music venues up and down the country – but like most events recently, things are looking a little different this year.
Independent Venue Week was created in 2013 by I Like The Sound Of That Ltd with its first event in 2014. It is an event that takes place across the UK and also in the US.
This year it runs from Monday 25 – Sunday 31 January 2021.
With music venues currently unable to open under lockdown restrictions, this means that Independent Venue Week is going virtual with online and streamed gigs. But after a year unlike any other, the need to celebrate our independent venues and the people who own, run, and work in them is more important than ever.
Chris Sherrington, owner at The Fulford Arms and local rep for Independent Venue Week, said: “We had a lot planned for this year. But of course, that’s all changed.
“So this year, what we’ve done is as part of LoveYork campaign that Make It York are doing, we’ve been pushing a variety of online content that people can do. Some of them are shows that people can watch on certain nights, other ones are actually ones where people can take part in as well.”
The LoveYork campaign from Make It York is an initiative to engage residents, businesses and virtual ‘visitors’ to the city. Read more about it here.
Venues taking part this year are The Fulford Arms, The Crescent and the National Centre for Early Music.
Chris Sherrington said: “We think it’s important to highlight that these venues are still here and are still doing things, and they need people’s support as well.”
There is also Fulford Arms TV where any of the recent shows recorded in December at The Fulford Arms are available to watch back.
Celebrate and support
Chris also comments that Independent Venue Week should continue to be a celebration this year. “I think that it’s an opportunity for people to take this time to reflect, but also enjoy some good entertainment as well.
“With people not being able to view gigs, it’s nice to have a focus for these venues, to be able to release stuff again, or put on new shows and put on new content.”
As the lockdown stretches on, and music venues stay closed, there are still ways that the community can support these places through Independent Venue Week and beyond.
Chris said: “Get in contact with them. I think for a lot of them, there are financial issues, but I honestly think that one of the biggest challenges that a lot of venues have at the moment are mental health issues and challenges around that.
“We’ve had ten months now of not being able to do what it is that we do. I think that’s something that I know a lot of venues really miss is having that interaction with the audiences.”
With a loss of music venues also comes a loss of community that is so valuable to so many of us. But they’re still out there. Let’s continue to support our treasured independent venues for as long as it takes.
For more information please visit the Independent Venue Week website.