Four Reasons We Need Independent Music Venues

With Independent Venue Week wrapped for 2018, we take a look at why we need independent venues now more than ever.

Live music is in the DNA of Britain – it’s ingrained into our culture. We gather in our thousands to see global stars fill arenas all year and spend our hard-earned cash camping in muddy fields to see our favourite acts every single summer.

Live music is in the DNA of Britain – it’s ingrained into our culture.

Yet music will forever be born and fostered in independent venues up and down the country. It is where artists cut their teeth and create legendary music moments for you to witness up close.

Sadly, all this magic is under threat, with an abundance of iconic music venues closing across the UK.

This is where Independent Venues Week steps in, a week-long celebration of all things independent and live music. Born in response to these closures, IVW gets people talking about this very real local issue.

So, here’s just a few reasons why that the gig venue down the road might just be more important than you realise:

1) Definitely maybe could be the next Oasis up there

It was on one fateful night in Glasgow that Alan McGee first spotted and signed a certain Manchester band after their raucous set at the King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. Of course, this four-piece would so happen to be Oasis who would go on to become one of the most successful bands of all time.

It’s the perfect example of how you don’t reach the top unless you’ve started at grassroots venues.

Fortunately, we are living in an age where there’s an overwhelming number on shows every night of the week. These shows fuel the magic of potentially witnessing future headliners for the price of a pint, in major part thanks to independent venues.

The biggest acts today all dedicated years of their lives playing small and indie venues around the country. This is where blood, sweat and tears are poured to help them break into the industry as a live act. Here you can prove you’ve got the sound, the talent and stage presence to command an even bigger audience.

Independent venues give artists the stage, environment and crowds they need to get one foot on the ladder and a chance to be your next music obsession.

2) Live music contributes over £4 billion to the UK economy…

…with the total live music audience topping a huge 30.9 million people in the UK (measured in 2016 by UK Music).

These numbers go to show how important live music is, not just to the artists or record labels but to the livelihoods of everyday people.

It’s easy to assume that giant pop heavyweights like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift are responsible for the bulk of these numbers. In fact, it’s the thousands of small shows put on night after night that keep this number growing.

While we’re all less likely to buy a CD nowadays, a pint and a great live band down your local venue sounds like a pretty good night to us.

3) “There’s more of a sense of community with indie venues – it’s just more human.” – The Magic Gang

A quote straight from those that indie venues help the most… breakthrough musicians.

Before their headline show at The Old Fire Station in Bournemouth, we sat down with The Magic Gang to learn just how crucial these venues were to their success.

When we were growing up around here there were quite a few young promoters putting on shows with bands full of 16-year-olds. Thinking about it, it’s actually quite a brave thing to do but it’s great as it gave so many young bands the chance to play. These venues have been so vital to our development”.

The four-piece, a previous Vevo dscvr: Artists to Watch band, were keen to highlight how these venues bring people together and create a hub for people to connect.

“Each independent venue has their own character and offer different things. For example, some venues cook you a meal because they know how difficult it is for touring bands to get a hot meal sometimes. There’s more of a sense of community with indie venues – it’s just more human.”

4)  Keeping it fair for all

Finally, and most importantly, without these indie music venues the barriers for new artists to breakthrough becomes even greater. It’ll leave the live music space in the hands of the few, and not the many. Fewer chances for garage bands, bedroom singer-songwriters and home-grown MCs.

We need these indie venues to remain open and continue to give a platform for our diverse British music scene. Without them, live music would only be accessible to those privileged few and destroy the very fabric of our UK culture.

So, what are you waiting for? Get down to your local gig venue and discover the sound of tomorrow…

Vevo will be once again hosting its infamous intimate live show at Ronnie Scotts during Advertising Week Europe. Join Vevo at the legendary London music venue for an evening of entertainment.

James Underwood

Head of Editorial at Vevo UK

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