Horizons Announce Independent Venue Week Tour of Wales: Jan 25th – 30th
Horizons, the music project from BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales have announced a tour of Welsh Venues for Independent Venue Week 2021. The Horizons team will be broadcasting sessions from five treasured venues in Wales, from the 25th to the 29th of January.
From the mountain top venue of Neuadd Ogwen in Bethesda to the west coast’s Queen’s Hall in Narberth, from the modern Galeri in Caernarfon, to inner city hubs of Sin City in Swansea and Le Pub in Newport, across five days this tour will take in the breadth of some of Wales’s most beloved independent venues, celebrating their crucial role in fostering the next generation of grassroots talent.
Artists performing sessions include emerging Welsh artists of all different genres, those along for the trip include hip hop artist Mace the Great, r&b singer Faith, rock band Those Damn Crows, urban brother & sister Leila McKenzie and K(e)nz, country singer Jodie Marie, alternative self produced songwriter Rona Mac, low fi enigma Ennio The Little Brother, a solo performance from Gwilym frontman Ifan Pritchard, rock duo Alffa, new female duo Body Water, and electro pop artist Malan.
These special sessions are set for broadcast at midday every day with special broadcasts of the sessions across BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru with sessions and mini documentaries about the venues available to view on social media.
Bethan Elfyn, Project Manager with Horizons for BBC Wales said “We’ve been watching helplessly as Covid-19 has kept venues and theatres from opening, keeping communities that need each other apart, keeping us from watching, supporting and growing talent in Wales, and keeping us from the benefits of wellbeing and personal growth that music brings to life.”
“Independent Venue Week is a chance to celebrate everything about our map of venues around Wales, the maverick producers and promoters behind the venues, and the talent that would normally fill the empty buildings with life. The tour is a celebration of what we have, what we miss, and a nod to the future when we can get back to the community that we’ve missed.”
“It’s not just a pub, it’s not just a music venue,” said Sam Dabb, manager of Le Public Space in Newport, and Wales’ representative for Music Venues Trust “It’s important to the area, it’s where people meet, and have somewhere to be. It’s important that there’s somewhere for musicians to have a place to start out, but also just somewhere to play music, not for those who want to become huge and tour the world, just somewhere to play music!”
Rona Mac, from Pembrokeshire, said, “I think independent venues are so important. I played at Queen’s Hall, Narberth years and years ago, when I was starting out. I’ve seen great gigs here like Ben Howard, and Lucy Rose, and at her gig I got up on stage with her to sing and had a little dance!! You wouldn’t get that at a bigger venue. It’s also the opportunity to play for artists without labels – and spaces like Queens Hall are just amazing, very special!”
“I was relying on 2020 to tour my debut album, which wasn’t possible – but there’s been other good things, and thanks to Horizons for setting this up, i’ve loved playing in a different space, with different people today!”
Jodie Marie agreed with her “I’ve played here since the age of six in this very hall at Queen’s Hall, and if it wasn’t for these places I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today, performing, recording, and releasing albums!”
Horizons will also have guests performing home sessions, talking about their formative experiences watching or performing shows in treasured Music Venues across Wales, including rock bands Holding Absence, Funeral For A Friend, and Junior.
Horizons are also on the lookout for your stories: what are your favourite Welsh venues? What are your favourite experiences at music venues? These stories will be shared across Horizons social media throughout Independent Venue Week.
Sessions will be broadcast across the week on bbc.co.uk/horizons – at midday every evening a special programme with sessions and mini documentaries about the venues.
The tour has been supported by Creative Wales and BBC Introducing.
Gerwyn Evans of Creative Wales said.
‘At Creative Wales we all love our independent venues and music. We have continued to support our music sector through the past months and are now delighted to support this tour. It is great to see music once again filling our venues with sound even though no crowds can come through the doors yet. Every venue has a great story to tell and we look forward to the successful return of live music as we come out of the pandemic. ‘