Independent Venue Week unveils new board including Ben Lovett, Sarah Jones and Christine Osazuwa

Independent Venue Week unveils new board including Ben Lovett, Sarah Jones and Christine Osazuwa

Independent Venue Week has unveiled initial plans for 2024, including a new steering board who will help guide the event into its second decade. 

The inaugural board of Independent Venue Week is as follows: 

• Claire Courtney, co-founder, Earth Music Agency

• Dom Frazer, founder, The Boileroom 

• Natasha Gregory, co-founder, Mother Artists  

• Sarah Jones, general manager, Songkick  

• Ben Lovett, CEO & founder, The Venue Group 

• David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition  

• Christine Osazuwa (pictured), chief strategy officer, Shoobs

• Adam Webb, PR consultant and campaign manager, FanFair Alliance  

Sybil Bell, founder of Independent Venue Week, said: “Having celebrated 10 years of IVW in 2023, we decided it was high time to shake up our organisation and structures, get back to our roots, and ensure we can continue to deliver the maximum impact for our community. The new board will be pivotal to that process, and I’m delighted we’ve attracted such a diverse and experienced group, including venue owners, booking agents and technology specialists. Collectively, their input and expertise will be invaluable to IVW’s future. 

“Fundamentally, Independent Venue Week is a celebration of the non-corporate spaces that underpin our musical culture. Wherever they are situated, we want to boost any venue that provides a stage for the next emerging subculture, the next exciting artist, the next industry professional and the next entrepreneur. The unsung heroes who run and work in these places are the foundation of the UK’s music business.” 

Ben Lovett, CEO & Founder, The Venue Group, said: “I don’t think I can ever fully articulate how deeply I believe in the independent music industry. I don’t see it as a competition or challenge to the major or more corporate players, in fact I think they also need to exist and thrive. My point is that artists and fans should have choice and options about where and how we experience live shows and by doing that we will retain diversity across the arts. That’s so important. I’ve known Sybil for years and I think she’s continuing such a great thing, celebrating the people who dedicate their lives to creating and curating these magical spaces all over the country.”

I’m delighted we’ve attracted such a diverse and experienced group, including venue owners, booking agents and technology specialists

Sybil Bell

Natasha Gregory, co-founder, Mother Artists, said: “Every Artist we build live from the ground up, starts with independent venues. It’s the ‘seed’ the ‘root’ for this industry’s growth and sustainability. If we don’t keep tending to the very core of what makes this industry thrive, we are in big big trouble. I am proud to be a voice in reminding everyone about the immediate importance to support in whichever way we can. I see the real heroes of this industry and am grateful for everything that Sybil and her team and the community of independent venues do daily.”

With IVW due to return from January 29 to February 4, 2024, full details of next year’s event will be presented at a launch party taking place at Manchester’s inaugural Beyond The Music conference on Thursday, October 12.  

Hosted by BBC Radio 6 Music’s Huw Stephens, it will be the first IVW launch outside of London. The invite-only event includes drinks and networking and takes place at Rebellion from 2pm. The identity of IVW’s 2024 Artist Ambassador will also be revealed. 

On Friday, October 13, IVW will host a panel discussion at the conference titled The Evolution Of Independent Venues: Reinvigorating the UK’s Cultural Health?  

IVW’s legacy of achievements are presented in detail in a Ten Year Impact Report, produced and compiled by Sound Connections. 

The report, which can be downloaded here, outlines the growth and evolution of IVW to a community that has now hosted almost 5,000 individual shows and helped sell more than a million tickets. 

The report also explores the creation and growth of Independent Venue Community (IVC), an initiative supporting their network of independent venues to innovate by exploring the day-time use of their spaces. 

In 2023, Independent Venue Week celebrated its 10th anniversary with over 300 venues around the UK,  hosting more than 1,000 performances - including special shows from IVW ambassadors Philip Selway, Beabadoobee, Young Fathers and Adwaith, as well as gigs from Suede, The Pretenders, The Murder Capital, Sprints, You Me At Six, Grove, Editors, Anna Meredith, Life, Amber Arcades, Slow Readers Club, Pip Blom, The Bug Club and many many others. 

With support from Arts Council England and other partners, IVW 2023 also enjoyed coverage across BBC Radio 6 Music, with Steve Lamacq broadcasting ‘on the road’ from five venues. All these shows were supported by BBC Music Introducing, with local artists added to the bills and having their tracks played on national radio. 


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