Q&A With Independent Venue Week UK 2023 Hosting Venues

Independent Venue Week returns for its tenth year, with shows fanning out in more than 200 venues across the UK! From January 30 to February 5, 2023, the weeklong festival will see a celebration of music, art, culture, and community across independently owned venues in England, Scotland, and Wales. 

On the cusp of the tenth anniversary of Independent Venue Week (IVW), we reached out to some of the personnel at the hosting venues to gather their thoughts on the weeklong celebrations! Here’s what The Engine Room (North Shields), Nightrain (Bradford), Little Buildings (Newcastle Upon Tyne), and Mill Hill Chapel (Leeds) had to say –

The Engine Room, North Shields

The Engine Room is a fully licensed underground arts and live music venue located in North Shields, near The Fish Quay at the mouth of the River Tyne. It is helmed by music promoter and manager Mark Elliott, a recognized figure for his unwavering commitment to the local music scene. This will be IVW’s second edition at The Engine Room, and we caught up with Mark, who shared a few words with us.

TFword: How did you first hear about or sign up for Independent Venue Week, and what is your favorite thing about IVW?
Mark Elliott: We are a grassroots music venue, and IVW have worked closely with these organizations in the past. Their rep in the northeast is a regular at our venue and keeps us well-informed about all things IVW. We love the inclusivity and the chance to get some wider promo for events, artists, and the venue, it’s a coming together and a collective good vibe for this vital part of the music industry.

TF: Is this your first time hosting an Independent Venue Week gig? If not, tell us about your experiences being part of IVW.
Mark: This is our second year; last year we did a full week of events focusing on non-all-male bands/artists, which was really successful. We have a mixed bag this time as well, with some very cool emerging artists involved.

TF: What are your reflections on IVW and the role the festival plays for the local community?
Mark: It’s a great chance to push artists and bands on a wider level with the support of IVW and their connections in press and radio. It helps us break through further to the local community by having bigger artists potentially involved also, so it’s a win-win for all involved. Let’s not forget the engineers, photographers, reviewers, and all the important peripheral support workers.

TF: One unique aspect of the The Engine Room?
Mark: Located in the basement of a listed building, tiny at 60 capacity but with full professional PA and engineers, we offer a professional service at a very small capacity, allowing up-close and personal performances with more established artists as well as a place for new artists to break through.

TF: List some artists you’d like to see perform at your venue.
Mark: Sea Power, Hamish Hawk, Aldous Harding, and Willie J Healy.

TF: Final thoughts about IVW 2023?
Mark:
Let’s not forget that the exporting of UK artists in the music industry is respected worldwide and a huge part of our culture. IVW and all involved are helping to sustain that, and people buying tickets and attending events will also do that, so get involved. Unplug your headphones for once and get back into venues!

For more information, check out The Engine Room’s official website HERE

Nightrain, Bradford

Nightrain is a live music venue and dedicated rock and roll bar in Bradford, West Yorkshire, with a capacity of 500 attendees. Here, you will find top bands performing on weekends and local DJs spinning the best music. We spoke with Keith Tempest, the director of Nightrain and a die-hard fan of Guns N’ Roses, who takes great pride in the venue’s sound, layout, and band-friendly atmosphere.

TF: Tell us about your experiences being part of IVW.
Keith Tempest: Our first time was in 2021, we had The Virginmarys perform.

TF: What are your reflections on IVW and the role the festival plays for the local community?
Keith: Massive, there should be more of it!

TF: Final thoughts about IVW 2023?
Keith: A fantastic idea, and long may it continue.

For more information, visit Nightrain’s official website HERE

Little Buildings, Newcastle Upon Tyne

When it comes to venues where some of the best local musicians and bands perform, Little Buildings is a mainstay. We spoke with venue manager Allan D. Scorer, who has been hosting IVW events since 2018.

TF: How did you first hear about or sign up for Independent Venue Week?
A D SCORER: Several years ago I applied for a show when in a band. Giving emerging artists the opportunity to shine.

TF: Tell us about your experiences being part of IVW.
SCORER: We have hosted IVW shows since 2018 and met some great volunteers who later performed for us.

TF: What are your reflections on IVW and the role the festival plays for the local community?
SCORER: For many, it’s a great entry-level resource to gain access to the industry. For artists, it’s a new way to build new networks, and for fans, a solid foundation to kick start the new year’s event program at many venues.

TF: One unique aspect of Little Buildings?
SCORER: We are a converted recording studio, so we record every show and have a cassette release option due to our in-house duplication suite.

TF: List some artists you’d like to see perform at your venue.
SCORER: Madonna, Khruangbin, Jimmy Nail, Radkey.

TF Final thoughts about IVW 2023?
SCORER: Pre-booking your ticket to a show has never been more important during the current gig climate, put faith in those putting on the show and you won’t be disappointed.

For more information, visit Little Buildings’s official website HERE

Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds, UK

IVW will be housed for the first time in Mill Hill, an artist-focused music and arts venue in the heart of Leeds city center. We had a quick Q&A with events coordinator Amy Illingworth about Independent Venue Week. Here is what she had to say!

TF: How did you first hear about or sign up for Independent Venue Week?
Amy Illingworth: Myself and Tom [also the events co-manager]are both musicians ourselves, so we have been aware of Independent Venue Week for several years. I was actually also involved in a project during the lockdown through my band, Sunflower Thieves, who collaborated with a local label, Come Play With Me, and a local band, In The Morning Lights, on some online content for IVW 2020. Tom and I knew we wanted to be involved with IVW 2022 when we began putting on events at Mill Hill in 2022, and have loved how through IVW, as a brand new venue and new promoters, we have been welcomed into the amazing venue community and massively supported both locally and across the country.

TF: What are your reflections on IVW and the role the festival plays for the local community?
Amy: It’s given us an amazing chance to showcase artists who love working with IVW, and also to get to know our surrounding venues, organizations, and individuals, which has been invaluable.

TF: One unique aspect of Mill Hill Chapel?
Amy: Mill Hill is an active Unitarian chapel, a listed architectural treasure [with a bar!], and was the first place of worship in Leeds to conduct same-sex marriages.

TF Final thoughts about IVW 2023?
Amy: It’s amazing to see what all of these independent venues, promoters, and artists can do when we all come together!

For more information, visit Mill Hill Chapel’s official website HERE

Find more information about Independent Venue Week 2023 on their official website HERE

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