Music

For the love of live music: Independent Venue Week

Independent Venue Week is in full swing, celebrating the the spirit and culture of independent music venues with seven days spent shouting about how truly great small music venues across the UK are.

Here, the Ticketmaster Blog team round up some of their favourite small music venues across the UK, and tell us why they hold such a special place in their hearts.

The Charlotte, Leicester

“My pals used to go The Charlotte ALL THE TIME when we were younger (they’re much cooler than me). I really only have one vivid memory of going myself, but my word, what a gig! It was Hundred Reasons just after Ideas Above Our Station had catapulted them into the mainstream, and the gigs were a warm-up effort ahead of their first festival slots. It was loud, sweaty, and stupendous.”

Matt Buttell, Content Editor and Blogger

Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

Known to us English lot as ‘Welsh Club’, Clwb Ifor Bach has long been the true home of independent and alternative music in Cardiff. With a broad spectrum of music being played there you could listen to six different genres in one evening. It was also somewhere you didn’t mind giving cash to even as a poor student because of the importance it played to the Cardiff music scene”.

George Hellens, Client Marketing Manager

Scala, London

“From Union Chapel to Royal Albert Hall, The Roundhouse to O2 Brixton Academy, large or small, London is blessed with some of the best venues in the world. So what makes Scala my favourite? Well, it has character, initially built as roman swimming baths it then became London’s most famous home for horror film fans, famous for their all-night screenings. This latest incarnation is just the latest chapter in the building’s history, and isn’t it nice that buildings still exist long enough to have a history. But what really makes the Scala tick is its proper old school – the beer is rubbish, the walls sweat, you come out dripping if you come out anywhere close to the front, if some salesman turned up at the front door with a new Dyson hand dryer for the bathrooms it would be promply tossed out of the nearest window. Like in all great venues, it’s imperfections is exactly what makes it perfect. Management – just keep the air con off, we want it sweaty!”  

Alex Towers, Client Marketing Manager

WSTR tour diary

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

“To me the Brudenell Social Club is the definition of DIY spirit. Situated a considerable distance away from the city centre, it’s a non-profit venue run entirely for the local community and there are gigs nearly every night of the year. I’ve seen all manner of amazing artists perform here, but I’ve also spent countless nights in the adjacent bar room, enjoying the convivial atmosphere, friendly staff and cheap beer.”

Dan Hudson, Ticketmaster Blogger

Tunbridge Wells Forum

“Taking a date to a gig in a venue previously used as a public toilet doesn’t immediately shout out success, but there’s clearly something magical about Tunbridge Wells Forum. And it was not only my 15-year-old self that benefited from this mystical power. Having attracted the likes of The Libertines, Green Day and even a young Adele, albeit each in their early days, you’ll find it hard to name a more iconic venue in Kent that holds a special place in the hearts of so many now-grown-up teenagers and twenty-somethings of the surrounding area.”

Tom Cummins, Client Marketing Manager

The Fighting Cocks, Kingston 

“There’s something about the Kingston music scene that’s ingrained in my DNA – even though I’ve never lived there. I’ve seen some incredibly intimate (and sweaty) shows at The Fighting Cocks in particular, thanks largely to the good folk at Banquet Records, who’ve helped the links of Modern Baseball, Marmozets, Cancer Bats, Don Broco and Lower Than Atlantis tear up its tiny stage.”

Jessica Bridgeman, Blog Editor

The Parish, Huddersfield

“Stuck in between Manchester and Leeds, Huddersfield isn’t exactly the first town name on the tour poster. However Events Manager Mikey Baird has worked tirelessly to bring huge shows to the intimate West Yorkshire venue; The Bronx, Cancer Bats and Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano have all previously graced the venue, whilst Creeper, While She Sleeps and a flurry of hardcore shows build up the start of this year’s roster.”

Daniel Rourke, Ticketmaster Blogger
Heck Black Heart Dr Martens

Photo: Jhitta Gobinder

The Black Heart, London

“One independent venue that particularly stands out for the rock/metal community is The Black Heart in Camden. A stone’s throw from Camden Town station, neatly nestled down a back street, The Black Heart plays host to all manner of bands; from sprightly pop-punk hopefuls to the grimmest black metal overlords and everything in between. It’s often chosen as a spot for bigger bands to host album launch gigs, where the upstairs 150-capacity room gets beyond sweaty, and if you ask nicely enough, you can even host your own club nights there.”

Callum Galbraith, Ticketmaster Blogger

St Mary’s Art Centre, Kent

”Thanks to Smugglers Records, a few years ago I saw Mercury Prize nominee Sam Lee at this venue. This particular gig has stuck with me for such a long time and it’s safe to say this magical venue had a large impact on that. The building is a restored church said to date back to at least the 11th century, this resulting in some stunning acoustics – which I can only say you have to experience yourself to appreciate.”

Flick Heath, Ticketmaster Blogger

The Anvil, Bournemouth

“It can be pretty hard for smaller towns to keep venues open but Anvil – previously known as iBar – has thankfully managed to hold the Bournemouth scene together. Bar upstairs, stage downstairs; sure, it’s tiny, and there’s that reoccurring theme of everyone’s favourite venues being absolute sweatboxes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Hosting local acts and smaller tours, it really comes into its own when bigger acts get booked to play and you briefly fear for your life when you head downstairs. Beartooth, Gallows, Cancer Bats… I’m not entirely sure how the place is still standing. And it’s across the road from a late night ice cream parlour. I’ll even forgive the fact that the Jukebox doesn’t have Break Stuff.”

Becky Mount, Ticketmaster Blogger

The Boileroom, Guildford

“As a resident of the Surrey, area the majority of my gigs growing up took place at The Peel (sadly no longer around), The Boileroom (Guildford) and The Fighting Cocks in Kingston. There’s nothing as invigorating (yet exhausting) as soaking up live music in these dingy sweat boxes. The Banquet Records team continue to be a huge part of my music life, their events in Kingston, including the gigs at The Hippodrome, have delivered some incredible evenings in the last 12 months alone.”

Sophie Eggleton, Ticketmaster Blogger

Let us know your favourite small music venues across the UK via @TicketmasterUK.

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