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Independent Venue Week celebrated across Wales

22 Jan 2024 4 minute read
Huw Stephens. Credit BBC

Independent Venue Week is the UK’s long-established annual 7-day celebration of independent music venues and live music which kicks off on Jan 29th – with Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq stopping off in two Welsh destinations.

BBC Radio 6 Music is one of the partners and champions of Independent Venue Week, and every year a group of BBC DJs head out on the road and broadcast from a different venue each evening.

From Monday 29 January – Friday 2 February, 6 Music Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens will again takes a tour bus around the UK, with Steve and Huw broadcasting their 4-7pm shows from a different independent venue each day, bringing listeners performances from those sites by artists including Ash, 86TVs, NewDad, Picture Parlour, English Teacher and Antony Szmierek.

Wrexham broadcast

Artists will join Steve and Huw during their 4-7pm shows for intimate live performances and interviews across the week, with a set at Wrexham’s Rockin’ Chair planned for Friday 2 February featuring Radio 6 Music’s Artist of the Year 2023, Antony Szmierek.

Antony Szmierek (6 Music’s 2023 artist of the year). Image: Alexis Panidis

Antony Szmierek said: “With touring becoming more expensive and most of us being thrown into a cost of living crisis, it’s not always possible to get around smaller towns and cities to perform. Venues are suffering as a result and there’s a real push currently from artists to save these sacred places and protect them from closure.

“Wrexham specifically has become a shining example of a working class town gaining worldwide recognition, and I can’t wait to perform on behalf of 6 Music and IVW to show the rest of the world that Wrexham can do for music what they have done for grassroots football.”

Steve Lamacq says: “Independent Venue Week is always a great opportunity to spotlight the importance of our smaller venues. But this year, with hundreds of grassroots venues facing up to rent increases, rising energy costs and other cost of living pressures, I think it’s even more crucial to celebrate the role they play, not just in nurturing new talent but bringing local musical communities together.

“There will be hundreds of gigs all over the country, from some established, or soon to be well known names, as well as a terrific range of newcomers who are well worth a look. I really hope it encourages fans to get out and see a gig and support their local promoters.”


Huw Stephens says: “Independent venues are vital places for music to thrive and exist. Where would we be without our favourite gig venues? I have packed my socks and toothbrush, and am very excited to be coming to Edinburgh, York, Hull and Wrexham, picking up from Steve in Belfast, with some of the best live artists about. It’s a tough time for a lot of venues at the moment, and I hope the week of shows from these venues can remind us all of their importance, and how special they are.”

Samantha Moy, Head of BBC Radio 6 Music, says: “At 6 Music, we’re very proud of our long-standing partnership with Independent Venue Week, as we too care passionately about providing artists with spaces to emerge and grow. I’m looking forward to a fantastic series of programmes from Steve and Huw broadcast from around the UK, full of live music and stories celebrating the important work that these venues do, all year round.”

All programmes will be available to listen to live on BBC Sounds and for 30 days after their broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music.

Wales-wide events

Huw’s programme will be broadcast from BBC Central Square, Cardiff as part of the BBC’s Across the UK plans, allowing the BBC to better reflect, represent and serve all audiences. He will continue to present a weekly show on BBC Radio Wales every Monday (7-10pm) and his Welsh language show on BBC Radio Cymru every Thursday (7-9pm).

Aside from the Rockin’ Chair, a whole host of other Welsh venues are getting involved in Independent Venue Week, including Cwrw -Carmarthen, The Norwegian Church Arts Centre – Cardiff, The Scala – Merthyr and many more.

Find out about the participating venues across Wales here.

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