By Izzy Boulton
Independent Venue Week 2019 kicked off on Monday 28th January and runs until Sunday 3rd February. Supported by BBC Music, BRIT Awards and Arts Council England alongside others, it’s going to be a jam-packed week up and down the country as independent venues showcase a range of gigs and comedy nights. It aims to be a “celebration of small music venues around the country and a nod to the people that own, run and work them, week in, week out”. With over 189 venues signed up from across the UK, there are 16 venues in Wales and half of these are in our beloved city, Cardiff.
In the past few months, we have seen Buffalo close its doors due to “massive increases in business rates, rents increases and the change in behaviour of consumer spending”. In the eulogy post on their Facebook page, the owners explicitly stated how “independent venues will find it tougher and tougher this year”. Furthermore, despite ‘Save Guildford Crescent’s major efforts as a movement, we are all still bracing for the closure of Gwdihw at the end of the month. Amongst what appears to be a continuous flow of dreary news, Independent Venue Week is important now more than ever to Cardiff. There are 20 gigs taking place throughout the week, featuring popular names such as Beans on Toast and Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, whilst artists Rainbow Maniac and Heavy Lungs show what they’ve got to offer. What’s more is that a lot of these tickets are at around the £10 mark – with some starting at £4 – an absolute bargain to see heaps of talent in one night. A plethora of artists have played in Cardiff in previous years who have then gone on to become huge successes, such as Adele, Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Killers; If there is no other reason to get out and watch live music, then go because you might just witness the beginnings of a future Grammy Award winner’s journey.
Further afield across the rest of the UK, IVW Ambassadors are on the road playing short tours across the week. The first of two ambassadors is Novelist. The 21-year-old MC from South London is playing four dates during the week, and is said to be one of grime’s brightest young hopes in 2019. He plays London’s the 100 Club first, another venue which holds such an influential role in music’s history books, yet has faced increasing vulnerability in the previous years. The second IVW Ambassador of 2019 is Radiohead’s Philip Selway who is upping the game and taking on nine gigs in one week (with two matinee shows). Novelist will also be joining him at three of the shows. In an interview with IVW he shared how he’s hoping “to meet the people who work in the venues, the wider communities around them and the artists playing”. Alongside this, there is also clear motivations of nostalgia fuelling his tour as to “continuously play the smaller independent venues was where Radiohead really started to find its feet”. Brummy band Swim Deep are coming out of hibernation to play at The Boileroom in Guildford, so expect to hear new songs being played. Pip Blom who played at Clwb Ifor Bach at the end of last year (and got signed the next day) is playing every night of IVW too. She seems to be gaining momentum, and 2019 is looking to be a formative year for her and her band. The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess is also doing a nine-date run with his band Tim Burgess & The Anytime Minutes. It’s a very exciting week in the world of music for both established and up and coming artists.