Few years in living memory have been harder on the live music industry than 2020, as sweeping lockdowns and the active consciences of at least a significant portion of the population have kept people away from the concerts and events that are the lifeblood of the country’s wide range of independent venues. Hence the extra import carried by this year’s Independent Venues Week, an annual event that celebrates the clubs and theaters across the U.S. and U.K. that will hopefully continue to serve as incubators for new talent, and as performance spaces for musicians at every level of national and international notice.
This year’s IVW sees Alison Mosshart of The Kills take over as its “artist ambassador,” filling shoes previously worn by the likes of Fantastic Negrito and Chuck D. In a press release this week, Mosshart said, “I truly believe music, musicians, performers of all kinds and audiences everywhere, would suffer dearly without these rooms. They are by their very nature of independence, welcoming and transformative for all, school and church with a bar and a spotlight.”
Kicking off tomorrow, and running through October 30, the event will see venues around the country organizing shows, either online or in socially distanced ways, in order to remind our poor, tired brains how good the feeling of connecting over live music can feel. You can see the full list of events here; among the more than 100 events being organized, the event is putting special attention on next Thursday’s “Get Schooled” event, which is designed specifically to put focus on students getting their start in the world of live performance.
In addition to the various concerts, IVW 2020 will also be holding a series of auctions, with proceeds going to the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund, which provides aid to independent venues and promoters in dire need of financial assistance. The auctions will be held over eBay; among the offered items, they’ll be selling a cowbell signed by Blue Oyster Cult’s Al Bouchard—and we know some of you just immediately jumped to the annoying, Will Ferrell-loving friend in your life who’d get a kick out of that.
You can see the full list of venues participating in the U.S. version of this year’s event here.