Independent Venue Week founders launch initiative to support music-based daytime activities

The Independent Venue Community aims to transform the relationship between small independent venues and local communities, with Nova Twins acting as founding ambassadors.

Liam Konemann
  • By Liam Konemann
  • 19 Jul 2022
  • min read

The founders of Independent Venue Week (IVW) have launched a new nationwide initiative to support music-based daytime activities.

Independent Venue Community (IVC) aims to transform the relationship between small venues and their local communities, helping them to attract new audiences through daytime programming. Focussing on underserved communities and those living in areas of low arts engagement, the initiative will initially target six key strands: early years, young people, the deaf, disabled and neurodivergent, mental health and wellbeing, LGBTQIA+ and older years. 

The initiative was inspired by a wide range of pre-existing community organisations and programmes, including The Warren Youth Project in Hull and the Gig Buddies scheme for individuals with learning disabilities. It is backed by a number of industry partners and charities, with rock duo Nova Twins also on board as founding ambassadors. IVC’s second founding ambassador, Big Jeff Johns, was recently hospitalised after a house fire and is undergoing a long period of recovery. IVC will keep the position open until he is ready and able to take it up.

Sybil Bell, founder of Independent Venue Community, says: ‘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.

‘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.’

Amy Love and Georgia South of Nova Twins say: ‘Independent venues and the communities that surround them are the heart of the music industry. They are the foundation of many great bands, technicians and crowds of like minded music lovers. The independent scene is the ecosystem that feeds the whole industry, encouraging new artists to grow and maintain independent sustainability. Without it, the history, culture and existence of UK live music, as we know it, would eventually die. We need to keep fostering diversity within this space, as it’s the make-up of all the music we love, from the bands on stage, the crews working alongside them and the fans attending.

‘When we were coming up, we were one of the only women and people of colour on the bills and in the crowd, a lot of the time. It was isolating and we were often met with confusion or rejection because of some people’s lack of education and experience. Music is for everyone. People should be given the same opportunities regardless of where they are from, their race or sexual orientation. Everyone should feel welcome and have a safe space to enjoy music freely.’

The initiative’s launch will be celebrated with a launch event at Lafayette, London on Tuesday 19 July 2022.