Following the launch of Independent Venue Community in July last year, we couldn’t wait to deliver a range of IVC activity during Independent Venue Week 2023 from our programmes, representing and celebrating those from under-represented communities across the UK. It was a week that saw special moments happen all over the country, with a common theme of local communities coming together in independent venues to enjoy unique experiences together.

For our ‘Young People’ programme, we were chuffed to deliver a whole host of Soundcheck Sessions in independent venues with some amazing artists: Hull post-punk outfit LIFE gave young people an insight into putting on a show at their soundchecks in Sunderland at Pop Recs, Grimsby at Docks Academy, and in their hometown at the New Adelphi Club. The 4-piece have been a part of the IVW family since the beginning and it felt apt that they could inspire the next generation of the music industry just as we have seen them grow over the years. Similar sessions also took place at Retro in Manchester with Dubinski, The Hive in Cheshire with Ben Ottewell and The Old Bakery in Truro courtesy of the Velvet Hands. Thank you to every artist and venue that took part in these sessions, on behalf of ourselves and the young people that attended.

As part of our ‘Deaf, Disabled & Neurodivergent’ programme, it was our pleasure to deliver another ‘Just Ask’ session in collaboration with Attitude is Everything for all promoters in the UK during the week. These online sessions offer important guidance and advice on how venue teams can improve accessibility in their venues for performing artists; independent venues are spaces for everyone and it is vital that all are able to enjoy and contribute to them, both on and offstage. Thank you to Rich Legate and Attitude is Everything for all their hard work in this.

When we talk about special moments during #IVW23, they don’t come much more special than seeing two of our beloved partners and friends performing on stage during the week. Big Jeff made an emotional return to the stage with his band Thee Outlines in support of Nuha Ruby Ra at the Louisiana in Bristol, whilst Kris Halpin a.k.a. Dyskinetic produced his usual mind-blowing set supporting #IVW23 ambassador Philip Selway at the Boileroom in Guildford. True inspirational performances from two brilliant artists.

Our six-week Peer Support Group in collaboration with Tonic Rider and Help Musicians also kicked off at Oporto in Leeds as part of our ‘Mental Health & Wellbeing’ programme: these sessions aim to support participants who can share their experiences and challenges working in the music industry in a safe and welcoming environment. The industry can be a difficult place to navigate, so we feel proud to be able to deliver such an important group for the Yorkshire community.

For our ‘LGBTQIA’ programme, we loved helping to deliver a range of events in support of women and those of marginalised genders with our partners Come Play With Me. The ‘Side By Side’ sessions continued for promoters on guidance to improve inclusion in their spaces and the industry in general, as well as the ‘I Know a Place’ conference that included panels and workshops at Howard Assembly Room in Leeds. It is a partnership we are very proud of and we’d like to again thank Come Play With Me for their work which is always a privilege to be a part of.

A final thank you to all partners, venues and artists and communities that made the week what it was. We cannot wait to continue delivering programming for you throughout the year in independent spaces all over the UK. Keep an eye on our website and socials for all upcoming events. We look forward to seeing you very soon.

The IVW and IVC team x