Independent Venue Week (IVW) returns this year for its 10th year. Kicking off on Monday 30 January until Sunday 5 February, the seven-day celebration takes place in independent music and arts venues across Wales and the rest of the UK.
The event aims to highlight the role these venues play in communities up and down the country – from showcasing new artists to bringing people together in local towns, villages and cities. For those who keep these venues alive, from the artists themselves to venue owners, crew and the audience, the event is a celebration of our longstanding live music scene.
Erin Gibson, Operations Manager at Independent Venue Week, says the week “is a chance to catch a big artist in an intimate setting, or find the next big artist while they’re still playing intimate spaces; a chance for everyone including the venues and artists to have fun.”
For its 10th anniversary, the event has more venues and more shows than ever before. In Wales, IVW has doubled the number of venues taking part. Erin says, “seeing venues and communities pull together and want to help each other after a difficult few years has made our whole team really excited to get out on the road and see some shows in some of our favourite places around the UK.”
Our aim at Creative Wales is to champion and celebrate the music industry in Wales, so we are proud to support the event year-on-year. Erin says, “Creative Wales allows IVW to work with small cultural hubs across Wales and together we help encourage the next generation of the Welsh music industry to grow. Their support makes it possible, which means so much to us and the nation’s venues.”
To give you a flavour of what to expect, we’ve pulled out a couple of venues from across Wales that are taking part: CWRW in Carmarthen and Dros Ben Tân in Neath.
This year, Independent Venue Week Ambassadors Adwaith will return to their hometown to play at Carmarthen’s award-winning grassroots music venue CWRW on Sunday 5 February.
Adwaith were chosen as this year’s 10th-anniversary ambassadors because they’ve often talked about the small venues across Wales that made them, including CWRW.
Erin explains, “IVW is all about holding a spotlight to some of the things happening outside of major cities across the UK and Adwaith holds Carmarthen very close to their heart. We felt this was the perfect message for our Welsh ambassadors, as this year we were concentrating on getting more of Wales involved than just Cardiff and Swansea. Also, IVW wanted to celebrate other women doing incredible things in the music industry.”
CWRW (formerly known as The Parrot) is the site of some of Adwaith’s first gigs. Since then the band, made up of Gwenllian, Heledd and Hollie, has gone on to play the likes of Glastonbury, SXSW and Green Man.
In 2022, the trio received PPL Momentum Fund support towards recording and releasing their second album Bato Mato on Southwest Wales-based label, Libertino Records. The album won the Welsh Music Prize – making Adwaith the first band to win the prize twice.
Here at Creative Wales, we are proud to support initiatives like the PPL Momentum Fund and the Welsh Music Prize to help bands and artists progress to the next level of their careers.
When CWRW’s not playing host to IVW, the craft beer specialist and creative hub put on a regular programme of gigs, live performances, and social events. Pop by their website to see some of the events they’ve got coming up this year.
New Neath venue Dros Ben Tân opened its doors in October 2022. The small, intimate space are big supporters of new music and up-and-coming artists from South Wales, and beyond. As well as regularly hosting Sunday Sessions and platforming local artists, they also provide space for local bands to practice.
As part of this year’s IVW, they’re hosting a punk rock party on Saturday 4 February featuring Downcast, Big Drink, Jaws of Life, Ignitemares, Save our Ships, Calling all Stations and Failstate.
Sound like your kind of gig? Visit IVW’s website for the full details.
You can find the full breakdown of artists, venues and gigs on the IVW website. For now, here’s the full list of venues taking part across Wales.
Clwb Ifor Bach • Cwrw • Dros Ben Tan • Neuadd Ogwen • Norwegian Church Arts Centre • Pavilion • Porter’s • Sin City • The Bunkhouse • The Gate • The Lost Arc • The Moon • The Queen’s Hall • Tivoli • Ty Pawb • Ty Tawe • Y Selar Aberteifi
For more information on Independent Venue Week 2023 and the events happening across Wales, visit their website.