INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK begins this week in the UK, giving punters, bands and promoters alike the chance to celebrate the small yet mighty institutions that provide fertile ground for creativity and discovery.
In recent years, independent venues have found survival increasingly difficult in the face of competition from larger organisations, rising taxes on goods such as alcohol, and a steady increase in business rates. Fears over the lack of protection afforded to independent venues have been in the forefront of Glasgow gig-goers’ minds, with legendary venues like Sub Club and The Classic Grand experiencing existential anxieties over planning permission which was granted for a hotel to be built right on their doorstep. Thankfully, with the help of the Music Venue Trust, Scotland put into legislation the Agent of Change principle; placing the onus on developers near clubs or music venues to mitigate any potential pollution, thus offering some respite to our local venues in the face of their multitude of other challenges.
Worries over the threats to independent venues is far from something that concerns only people active in their local music scene, however. In Slaves’ music video for Bugs, a gig is shown in a pub that exudes the vibrancy a venue should, before the music cuts out and the band then plays in the same venue, only now it is derelict. In the description for the video they mention that this is the fate that three pubs face every day in the UK, and that without such venues, artists such as themselves would never have been able to cut their teeth. The video closes with an endorsement of the Long Live The Local campaign.
Despite the difficulties grassroots music is experiencing, there was good news this week in England and Wales as it was announced that local venues will see up to a 50% reduction in business rates. Business rates are consistently one of the biggest overheads that venues have to pay, and the reduction will see an average of £7,500 saved every year for small and medium sized venues. This news was particularly welcomed by venue owners after 2019 saw a 129% increase in royalty fees from Phonographic Performance.
Such news is excellent for our neighbours south of the border, but more must be done in Scotland to offer the same protection. The introduction of the Agent of Change principle may have increased protections slightly, but the SNP remain the only major party not to have endorsed the Music Venue Trust’s Manifesto For Grassroots Music Venues 2019.
The cultural and economic importance of independent venues is undeniable. For every £10 spent in an independent venue, £17 is spent elsewhere in the local night-time economy, and 1 in 11 jobs is supported by the creative industries. The importance of independent venues has been the subject of Tenement TV’s Robert Blair’s article for Vice, BBC The Social, and countless others stories and documentaries that chronicle the legends of Scotland’s creative past.
Running until Sunday 2nd February, make sure you get yourself to an Independent Venue Week show somewhere, somehow. It’s hard to understate the importance of this initiative and the difference we can make to people’s livelihoods and to Scotland’s cultural landscape. Below is a complete listing of what’s on offer this week in Scotland.
Friday 31st January – Atlas Empire + Gulls + New Kings TICKETS OTD
Saturday 1st February – Derange + Fragments + Virtues TICKETS OTD
Wednesday 29th January – The Media Whores
Thursday 30th January – Jimi Get Your Funk On + Berta Kennedy + Sarah Eve £5 OTD
Friday 31st January – Chuchoter + Midi Paul + Deadloch TICKETS
Saturday 1st February – Callum Mackinnon + Bookend + Alan Dawson £3 OTD
Sunday 2nd February – Lou Mclean + Dark Hearts + Lorraine Mcauley + Molly Wyrd + Vee Ruins + Beth Myers
Wednesday 29th January – Cloth + Annie Booth TICKETS
Thursday 30th January – Awkward Family Portraits TICKETS
Friday 31st January – Carla J Easton + Broken Chanter TICKETS
Saturday 1st February – Cheap Teeth + Pelican Tusk + Dusk Amadeus TICKETS
Sunday 2nd February – ROAM + Superlove + Spoke Too Soon + Forrest Can’t Run TICKETS
Friday 31st January – The Ninth Wave + Savage Mansion + Heir of the Cursed TICKETS
Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms
Fri 31st January Check Masses/Super Inuit/Gav Sutherland
Sat 1st February Half Formed Things
Beat Generator Live !
Thursday 30th January – Sound Cycle Three + Fin Price + Geckohead + 3 Out Of 4 + Evie Archenhold + Erin Highton + Becc & Forth TICKETS
Friday 31st January – Salsa Celtica TICKETS
Saturday 1st February – Honeyblood + Indigo Velvet TICKETS
Blue Arrow Jazz Club
Wednesday 29th January – Jack Richardson + Emme Woods TICKETS
Thursday 30th January – Domiciles + Tomorrow Syndicate + The Naked Feedback TICKETS
Friday 31st January – City of Vultures Takeover
Saturday 1st February – The Vintage Explosion + Exterior + Paulitical TICKETS
Saturday 2nd February – Yoko Pwno TICKETS
Cathouse Rock Club
Sunday 2nd February 3Teeth TICKETS
Thursday 30th January – Moskow Mule TICKETS
Saturday 1st February – A F A + Priase 4G + Solace + Cararaven + Zaku +Kouk + Roki/Sonedo TICKETS
The Flying Duck
Wednesday 29th January – Hung Parliament + Manuka Honey + Hound TICKETS
Thursday 30th January – Gravelle + Leather Corrider + Natalie Pryce TICKETS
Friday 31st January – Nekkuro Hána + Conor Heafey + Taxidermy Cab TICKETS
Saturday 1st February – The Just Joans + Pocket Knife + Marble Gods TICKETS
Sunday 2nd February – Black Cat Revue + Supercloud TICKETS
The Garage [G2]
The Garage [Attic]
The Glad Cafe
Wednesday 29th January – Rachael Dadd + Marcus Hamblett TICKETS
Thursday 30th January – Savage Mansion + Secret Motorbikes + Yakima TICKETS
Friday 31st January – Sensatronic + Blue Grisha TICKETS
Saturday 1st February – Yng Ngheredigion TICKETS
The Hug & Pint
Wednesday 29th January – Rev Magnetic + Colossal Squid TICKETS
Thursday 30th January – Georgie TICKETS
Friday 31st January – Gallus + Fiendz YT TICKETS
Saturday 1st February – Pleasure Heads + MEMES + Two Tone Television TICKETS
Sunday 2nd February -The Goat Roper Rodeo Band TICKETS