Independent Venue Week (IVW), the UK’s annual 7-day celebration of independent music and arts venues and the people that own, run and work in them, is delighted to reveal their next 10th anniversary Ambassadors, with Young Fathers and Adwaith to represent Scotland and Wales respectively.
Both will join Radiohead’s Philip Selway in supporting the much-loved event, which returns for its tenth edition between 30th January and 5th February 2023 and encourages fans across the country to get out and enjoy music in independent venues. Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most exciting live bands, Young Fathers (Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and G. Hastings) met as teenagers in Edinburgh – releasing two mixtapes (the latter of which, Tape Two, picking up a SAY Award) before their first official studio album, DEAD, won the Mercury Prize in 2014. They would go on to win another SAY Award in 2018 for Cocoa Sugar. Fiercely independent and honing their unique sound at grassroots music venues across Scotland and the UK, the band’s fourth studio album, Heavy Heavy, is released via Ninja Tune on 3rd February 2023 and followed by an extensive European and UK tour. Speaking about their role as IVW Ambassadors for Scotland, the band said: “We cut our teeth in small independent venues. There’s no rehearsal room that can match a venue. Whether empty or full. The things you think will work that don’t and vice versa. The moments in between songs, the silence, the applause, the people chatting at the back, the sound being terrible, the power going off. How to deal with it, how to play with it. There’s nothing that gives you a greater experience of performing live more than the experience itself. “The three of us met in the old-old Bongo Club in Edinburgh (the original one has since been knocked down, directly across from the Edinburgh Council building). We’ll never forget the moment of feeling those subwoofers for the first time. We were 14 years old. The Yard MCs held a night with an open mic, which we took full advantage of. “Venues up and down the country face all different types of issues post pandemic, as well as facing other issues such as the draconian noise laws like we do here in Edinburgh. So what happens as of now? Town or city, it’s extremely important to make sure there’s a continuous flow of artists who are able to sharpen their ideas in front of real people, on a real stage. For local acts and acts from afar, from known to unknown. The ability to have it right there in front of you is an experience that should be afforded to everybody.” IVW are also honoured that Adwaith (Gwenllian Anthony, Heledd Owen and Hollie Singer) will be our 2023 Ambassadors for Wales. It caps off an incredible 12 months for the trio, who stepped up to arenas to support the likes of IDLES and Manic Street Preachers, as well as releasing their second album Bato Mato on Libertino Records. This saw the band make history in October 2022, by becoming the first double winners of the Welsh Music Prize – which they also picked up in 2019 for debut album Melyn. To celebrate their involvement as Ambassadors, Adwaith will play a hometown show at Carmarthen’s CWRW on Sunday 5th February. Formerly known as The Parrot, the venue offers free room hire to artists, as well as PA, equipment, online ticketing and promotion and has previously hosted shows for Cate Le Bon, H. Hawkline, Euros Childs and Boy Azooga. The band said: “We are so honoured to have been asked to be ambassadors for next year’s Independent Venue Week. We owe our whole career to independent venues up and down the country and we never would have thought about starting a band if it wasn’t for our local venue in Caerfyrddin. To think that youngsters might not have the same opportunities as us is heartbreaking, especially to music lovers in rural Cymru. Times are tough but it’s more important than ever to support your local venue, anyway you can! Go to gigs, share their posts, buy their merch, show them love!” IVW launch events for Scotland and Wales are scheduled take place today at Mono in Glasgow (5pm) and at Porter’s in Cardiff (3pm), and with just two months to go – and amidst enormously challenging economic circumstances – Independent Venue Week are very proud to report that more than 260 venues have already signed up to participate in next year’s event. These include 23 venues in Scotland and 17 in Wales, ranging from Beat Generator Live! in Dundee and Barrowlands in Glasgow through to Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, Swansea’s Sin City and Y Selar Aberteifi in Cardigan. Shows already confirmed for the week include performances from You Me At Six at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom, and Rozi Plain and Trampolene in Cardiff. Elsewhere in the UK, special IVW shows will take place from the likes of Editors, Anna Meredith, Band of Skulls, Slow Readers Club, Amber Arcades, Life, Brian Jonestown Massacre, James Yorkston, Nina Persson & The Second Hand Orchestra, Pip Blom, The Bug Club, and Duke Special. Meanwhile, our Ambassador Philip Selway will play five shows across the week in Norwich, Cambridge, Hebden Bridge, Stockton-on-Tees and Guildford. More than a thousand individual events are expected to be added in the weeks leading up to January 30th. Supported by Arts Council England, BBC Radio 6 Music, See Tickets, Creative Scotland, Creative Wales, Mercury Prize Ltd, The BRITS Trust and PPL, more than 1m tickets have been sold for IVW events since 2014. In recognition of these achievements, IVW founder Sybil Bell was recently honoured for Live Music Inspiration at Music Week’s hugely respected Women In Music Awards.