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Anna Calvi named Independent Venue Week 2020 ambassador

Independent Venue Week will take place from Monday, January 27 to Sunday, February 20 and expects up to 220 venues to take part

“Independent venues continue to provide a vital platform in every artist’s career”: Anna Calvi

Independent Venue Week has announced that Anna Calvi is to be its 2020 ambassador.

It’s been an exciting year for Calvi, having received the Mercury Music Prize nomination for her third studio album Hunter, bagged the Fender Play Award at the Q Awards, and crafted an incredible soundtrack for the hit show Peaky Blinders. Check out our exclusive interview with her about the making of her Mercury Prize-nominated album here.

Calvi will be taking over from this year’s ambassador, the grime artist Novelist, who we heard from recently at BBC Introducing Live about his songwriting processes.

“As an artist who spent many years developing my art in small venues across the UK, it’s such a pleasure to be named the ambassador of Independent Venue Week 2020,” Calvi said.

“At a time where independent venues continue to provide a vital platform in every artist’s career, yet still struggle to keep their doors open. It’s more important than ever for every artist, no matter what size, to continue our support and be vocal about their vitality.”

Independent Venue Week will take place from Monday, January 27 to Sunday, February 20 and expects up to 220 venues to take part. The celebration continues to increase its reach across the country through the number of venues taking part, audiences it is engaging with, locations where venues are signing up and genres of music covered.

For 2020, 194 venues have signed up so far, which includes 58 venues that are taking part for the first time. The oldest venue set to take part is 202 years old St James in Guernsey, while the youngest is Peckham Audio, which opened in October 2019.

BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Sounds will be supporting Independent Venue Week again in 2020 as Steve Lamacq takes his afternoon show back on the road from Monday 27 to Friday 31 Jan from 4-7pm. Lamacq will tour five different locations around the country, visiting venues, meeting artists and chatting to the pioneering people behind the grassroots venues we love and cherish.

89 per cent of participating venues are outside London as Chloe Ward, UK director of Independent Venue Week emphasises engagement with venues in villages, towns and cities all around the country.

“We continue to encourage venues in locations away from the main touring circuits to sign up. It is so important for artists and gig-goers to be able to enjoy live music regardless of where they live. Not everyone has the means to travel to a city centre, especially later in the evening, and we don’t want that to be a reason that people aren’t going to gigs.”

Independent Venue Week founder, Sybil Bell, commented: “The increased support from Arts Council England this year has helped us retain the brilliant team who joined us last year in Charlie Rickard and Ruby Horton. The difference in having people who already understand the project as we roll into another year is enormous and allowed us to do so much more across the board. It’s really been the most enjoyable and fun year working on the project.”

Arts Council England is joined by founding Independent Venue Week partners PRS for Music and The Musicians Union. Fred Perry is returning for a fourth consecutive year along with Yorkshire Tea who are back for the second time, and PPL. Yamaha is taking part for the first time this year.

Stay tuned for more information to follow.