Independent Venue Week 2021 UK ambassadors unveiled

Amy Macdonald, Arlo Parks, Gruff Rhys and Jordan Adetunji have been unveiled as the UK ambassadors for Independent Venue Week 2021.

The annual event celebrates the UK’s grassroots venues and their communities, with 2021 marking the first time in its eight-year history that each home nation is represented by a native artists. Amy Macdonald has been revealed as the ambassador for Scotland, with Arlo Parks (England), Gruff Rhys (Wales) and Jordan Adetunji (Northern Ireland) completing the line-up.

“Small and independent venues are so important to developing new music in the UK, and I say this with experience: without the places for me to cut my teeth as a performer starting out, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Macdonald said. “Additionally, they are places where local young people can learn their trades as sound engineers, lighting technicians, promoters, poster designers etc etc, giving them careers for life. I am super proud to be Scotland’s ambassador for Independent Venue Week 2021, at a time when venues across the country find themselves in a perilous position, and we need to remember everything they offer so we do what we can to keep them going for both the future of British music, and the communities in which they exist.”

Adetunji added: ”I am delighted to have been chosen as the ambassador for Northern Ireland during Independent Venue Week 2021. Independent venues play a vital role in creating economic opportunities, while at the same time showcasing and promoting the works of many local artists like myself. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together venues, artists, events operators, and the public – especially in these challenging times – to highlight the importance of independent venues.”

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Meanwhile, Rhys commented on his role as ambassador for Wales: “As a touring musician – my work is completely connected to having independent venues exist. It’s about people, not the actual buildings. It’s about the energy and enthusiasm that music fans have created in towns and cities and villages and so, we need to give a voice for those people to be heard.

“Touring artists are completely dependent on the enthusiasm of independent promoters and venues. The reality of music is that for most people it’s a lifelong passion, and musicians can rarely make a full living out of it, so music exists thanks to people’s passion to want to hear music, share music and give a stage to exciting new music. Independent venues keep that spirit going and they make it possible for musicians to play – most people involved are doing it for the love of it. Those independent venues create the conditions that make it possible for everything else to happen within music.” 

Parks, who was crowned BBC’s 2020 Introducing Artist of the Year, added: “I feel blessed to have been chosen as Independent Venue Week Ambassador. Independent venues are the backbone of live music and I’m determined to help to support and protect these national treasures.”

Independent Venue Week 2021 will run from, January 25-31. The week-long celebration of UK independent music venues will take place across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each year, the initiative sees hundreds of venues across the UK host exclusive shows, celebrating independent venues and highlighting the vital role the grassroots live music scene plays within the music industry. At present, 55 venues from 37 different locations have registered to take part.