January 24th 2024

Celebrating and mapping Independent Venue Week 2024

One of the map developments we want to experiment with and incorporate in 2024 is how to integrate and display regional festivals and multi-site events using the map’s filter functions. To begin this part of the project, we’ve collaborated with the team at Independent Venue Week (IVW) to highlight the LCR’s involvement with their annual weekly international celebration of the importance of independent venues. This guest blog by Erin Gibson, from the IWV team, elaborates on the great work the organisation does, and their plans for the future. Displaying all participating LCR venues, the IVW filter is now live on the map. We’d encourage you to check out at least one of the shows.

Independent venues are cultural hubs for learning, creativity, and arts and culture more widely connecting people in their local community of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, genders, ethnicities, skills, experiences and walks of life. These venues, all local businesses, are the backbone of the live music scene and Independent Venue Week recognises all that they have done to create some of the most memorable nights of the past so they can continue to do the same in the future.

For IVW’s 10th anniversary, an impact report was produced in which our Founder and CEO Sybil Bell stated that she believes that IVW has become a project that people enjoy to support because they ‘’feel a part of something’’. Liverpool undeniably shares this characteristic: no matter the length of time you spend there, you feel a part of its community and the city is buzzing with art and culture to find around every corner. So what better way to let people know about the fabulous spaces Merseyside has to offer than the work the Liverpool City Region Music Board is doing?

Those who already support local and independent venues know and understand that these places and their teams are the lifeblood of the live music scene. However, to see not only venues, but Exhibition Centres, Concert Halls and Outdoor Spaces highlighted on the Liverpool City Region Board Map will aid people in recognising the vital role that hundreds of independent-owned venues and business’ play within local communities across the local area. As this project is rolled out, people will learn more about the importance of independent music venues and that the purpose they serve is greater than just putting on live shows at the weekends.

This year for IVW 2024, we have more independent venues in Merseyside outside of the city centre than ever before. This, along with the creation and growth of Independent Venue Community (IVC), an initiative supporting a network of independent venues to innovate by exploring the day-time use of their spaces, the team hope to highlight that along with Bold Street and Duke Street, Merseyside has so many more cultural hotspots that are worth visiting and supporting too.

Venues involved in IVW this year include Future Yard in Birkenhead, Arts Bar in the Baltic Triangle, Handyman Bar and Brewery in Smithdown and Round the Corner in Islington. We hope this new collaboration will help to continue IVW’s message year-round and highlight the importance of so many magnificent spaces and communities in the region outside of the city centre.

IVC was born out of IVW’s success, and are now rolling out development, education and community programmes around the country with venues involved in IVW. The IVC programme offers a range of music focused activities, taking place during the day, throughout the year, across the country, with a strong emphasis on under-served communities and those in low socio-economic areas.

Seeing this activity taking place in venues feels like such a natural fit. Venues are located at the heart of their communities yet many aren’t currently opening until bands arrive for their soundcheck ahead of their evening show. Our goal is to drive additional activity into venues so they can sustain themselves alongside live music, explore additional revenue streams directly and indirectly and grow their relationships with other groups in their local community as well as around the country. This is an aim shared with The Liverpool City Region Board who are ensuring a sustainable and strong network of venues and to work with local authorities across the city.