A new initiative to promote venues across the country to those that wouldn’t normally attend gigs or events has launched today (Tuesday).
Independent Venue Community (IVC) has been developed by the founders of Independent Venue Week (IVW) and will urge smaller locations across the UK to commit to a range of community programming.
There will be a strong focus on underserved communities and those living in areas of low arts engagement. The programming will initially target engagement across six strands: early years; young people; the deaf, disabled and neurodivergent; mental health and wellbeing; LGBTQIA+ and older years.
The new initiative has been inspired by pre-existing community organisations and programmes, such as The Warren Youth Project in Hull and the Gig Buddies scheme which aids individuals with learning disabilities.
Other projects have provided inspiration like the Soundcheck Sessions where young people aged 14 and above can access a venue before it opens ahead of a live show, to learn how things work behind the scenes and meet with those in the music industry.
Sybil Bell, founder of Independent Venue Community, said: “Independent venues are the absolute heart of the music business, from small villages, to towns and cities, all around the country. What’s less appreciated, however, is the role they can play as community spaces, where local people can express themselves, try new things or simply come together in person.
“From first hand experience, with initiatives like The Warren Youth Project in Hull or our own Soundcheck Sessions and BE, activity like this can have genuinely life-changing outcomes for people, especially those who don’t normally get access to these kinds of opportunities.”
Bell added: “Our goal with Independent Venue Community is to harness these individual pockets of brilliance, and to inspire more venues to engage with groups and individuals in their area. Ultimately, we want to build a national network of engaged local communities, and encourage more music venues to throw their doors open in the day.
“By doing this, I believe they can increase and diversify the people coming through their doors and unlock significant hidden value and talent. It’s a win-win situation.”
IVC will be supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Wales, the Welsh Government and Youth Music. The programme is also backed by music industry partners and charities, as well as founding ambassadors, rock band Nova Twins.