Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq will present their BBC 6 Music Shows from a different grassroots venue every day of Independent Venue Week.

Lamacq was joined by Stephens on the first instalment of his new weekly Teatime Session, which airs on Mondays from 4-7pm, to announce the initiative in celebration of the UK’s weeklong event to recognise the importance of independent music venues.

Between January 29 and February 2, the presenters will be hitting the road to broadcast their shows from grassroots venues across the country and will also host performances from different artists each day.

Lamacq will host from Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast on January 29 ahead of an Independent Venue Week performance from Ash.

Stephens will be presenting his show from Edinburgh’s Whistle Binkies on January 30, where 86TVs will perform later that night; The Fulford Arms in York on January 31 ahead of a gig from NewDad; Polar Bear Music Club in Hull on February 1 where English Teacher will be playing; The Rockin’ Chair in Wrexham (Friday 2nd February) before a live set from Antony Szmierek.

Those artists will join Lamacq and Stephens for intimate live performances and interviews across the week.

NewDad (2023), photo by Joseph Bishop
NewDad. Credit: Joseph Bishop for NME

Listeners can attend two exclusive intimate live performances with Ash in Belfast on January 29 and Antony Szmierek in Wrexham on February 2. You can apply to attend via a free ballot here, which will be open till January 15. Winners will be selected at random once the registration period has closed.

Also appearing at the gigs each night will be artists supported by BBC Music Introducing: Problem Patterns (Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast), Grace & The Flat Boys (Whistle Binkies, Edinburgh), Kindelan (The Fulford Arms, York), Jodie Langford (Polar Bear Music Club, Hull) and Picture Parlour (The Rockin’ Chair, Wrexham).

Steve Lamacq said in a press release: “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’ll 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 added: “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.”

This year’s Independent Venue Week follows the news that 2023 was the “worst year for venue closures” according to the Music Venue Trust.

The latest stats from the MVT show that this year saw 125 grassroots venues shut down in 2023 – causing a loss of 4,000 jobs, with 14,500 events no longer possible and 193,230 opportunities lost to musicians.

The organisation has called for a levy on tickets for music events with a capacity of over 5,000 to be introduced. The Scottish government recently said that they are now “seriously considering” the move for £1 from every ticket sold to be invested back into grassroots music venues.





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