The UK’s Independent Venue Week 2021 event has announced it will be represented by four ambassadors from each of the UK nations for the first time in its eight-year history.

The event, which will this year take form in the digital sphere from January 25-31, sees hundreds of venues take part in exclusive shows to provide a spotlight on the grassroots ecosystem within the live music sector.

Gruff Rhys, the lead singer and songwriter of rock band Super Furry Animals, has been announced as the ambassador for his home country of Wales, following the news that Arlo Parks will represent England and Jordan Adetunji will represent Northern Ireland. Scotland’s representative will be announced later this week.

Rhys said: “As a touring musician – my work is completely connected to having independent venues exist. It’s about people, not the actual buildings. It’s about the energy and enthusiasm that music fans have created in towns and cities and villages and so, we need to give a voice for those people to be heard.

“Touring artists are completely dependent on the enthusiasm of independent promoters and venues. The reality of music is that for most people it’s a lifelong passion, and musicians can rarely make a full living out of it, so music exists thanks to people’s passion to want to hear music, share music and give a stage to exciting new music.

“Independent venues keep that spirit going and they make it possible for musicians to play – most people involved are doing it for the love of it. Those independent venues create the conditions that make it possible for everything else to happen within music.”

Independent Venue Week is funded by a longstanding partnership with Arts Council England along with support from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of their £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund program, Creative Scotland, See Tickets, Yamaha, Fred Perry and PPL.

See Tickets is to the official ticketing partner of the event for the first time.

Event organisers explained that they are adapting the way shows are available across the week with a range of digital events, stating “it is clear we are a long way from any kind of opportunity to safely enjoy live music in grassroots music venues.”

Independent Venue Week will feature events from “In Conversations” with artists, labels, promoters, gig goers and other industry organisations to album listening parties, pre-recorded live streams, comedy and quizzes.

Currently, there are 79 venues from 53 different villages, towns and cities that have signed up to take part, with 82 per cent of those based outside of London.

Organisers said: “There will be fewer venues and artists taking part than in previous years, but there are still stories to be told and experiences to be shared and they are as important now as they’ve ever been – many of these will be with people who are usually behind the scenes, giving a new opportunity to find out more about how the industry works.

“IVW is committed to putting venues and their communities at the heart of what they do by continuing to shine a spotlight on them, all around the UK, as it has done for the last eight years.”

Image: Independent Venue Week