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Independent Venue Week 2023

Independent venue week

If you’re a live music lover, you’ve probably got a story about an amazing artist you saw once, years ago, in a small venue with a handful of other dedicated muso enthusiasts, who is now headlining the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. And you haven’t stopped telling that story to anyone who will half listen ever since.

Independent live music venues are the incubators of tomorrow’s music stars. They provide a country-wide network that nurtures talent and embraces diversity and originality.

But what makes them even greater, is they don’t exist to facilitate stardom – that’s a happy bonus. They exist to be at the forefront of new music, at the coal face of creativity, to take risks, to create scenes and communities that revel in those joyous musical moments and share them with a couple of hundred like-minded fans.

This week (30 Jan – 5 Feb 2023) is the 10th anniversary of Independent Venue Week. For the past five and a bit year’s we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Bristol venues to present Bristol Beacon’s artistic programme while we’ve been transforming our own spaces. And with every one of those gigs we’ve presented in all of Bristol’s fabulous venues, we’ve had a taste of what it means to be part of that incredible scene.

Here are some of our highlights from the past year of presenting music in some of Bristol’s much-loved live music spaces.

If you love live music like we do, this week we urge you to:

  • buy a ticket
  • experience something new and unforgettable
  • support Bristol’s independent venues
Two people perform on stage. The person to the right has an acoustic guitar.
Indigo Sparke, The Louisiana, Nov 2022, photography by Josh Collins (GOSH)

The Louisiana

The part of the show we always love the most, is when the crowd has to part to let the musicians walk from the dressing room, through the audience and onto the stage. Everyone gets to brush with future stardom!

This show with Indigo Spark back in November 2022 was a beautiful evening.

What’s On

Jamz Supernova, Strange Brew, Dec 2022, photography by Giulia Spadafora

Strange Brew

One of the newer kids of the scene, Strange Brew has quickly jumped to the top of people’s go-to live music and club venues. And for good reason.

This all-nighter we held with Jamz Supernova at the end of 2022 was one of our all-time faves.

What’s On

A vocalist on stage performing to a large crowd of young people
Master Peace, Rough Trade Bristol, 2022, photography by Giulia Spadafora (Soul Media UK)

Rough Trade Bristol

Brilliant records, intimate live music space, amazing coffee…if they didn’t lock the doors, we don’t think we’d ever leave. Whether it’s a simple in-store performance from an indie icon, or a packed gig with a breaking new artist in their live room, gigs at Rough Trade are always special.

We were so glad we finally got to present Master Peace, after years of postponement, to a packed room in 2022.

What’s On

A full band performing on stage. There are two synth players, a drummer and a singer.
Wayne Snow, Exchange, Nov 2022, photography by Josh Collins (GOSH)


Probably the epitome of what it is to be an independent live music venue. Community owned, not one, but TWO event spaces under 250 capacity, and home to a record shop, coffee shop, recording studio, and a record label. If only they could create an extra calendar month to fit more gigs in!

In November 2022 we brought London Jazz artist Wayne Snow to perform, a Scandinavian hardcore band were probably performing downstairs in the Basement at the same time – testament to Exchange’s eclectic programme.

What’s On

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Independent Venue Week

Support independent venues and grassroots music in Bristol and across the South West

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