Norwich Arts Centre hosts gigs as part of national celebration of small venues
PUBLISHED: 09:42 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:42 30 January 2018
Independent Venue Week, which aims to highlight the important contribution independent venues make to the music scene, will see the Norwich venue, which has been graced by everyone from Nirvana to Coldplay, stage two gigs.
Norwich Arts Centre is hosting two gigs this week as part of Independent Venue Week, a celebration of small music venues around the UK.
The St Benedict’s Street venue is amongst scores of places across the country taking part in the week-long series of live events, running until February 4, to highlight the important contribution independent venues make to the music scene, both nationally and locally.
The venue will mark the event with Swarb! It Suits Him Well on February 1, a touring tribute of minstrel friends celebrating the music of the great Dave Swarbrick, who sadly passed away in 2016. The performers will include the Canadian folk/reggae fabulous Jason Wilson Band from Canada, Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick and Simon Swarbrick, Swarb’s maestro fiddling nephew and protégé
On February 2 the venue will also host upcoming band The Hempolics who mash up reggae, roots and pop via a passion for soundsystem culture.
Led by production genius Grippa and songwriter Dan Collier, they were one of 2017’s underground success stories, thanks to their distinctive sound being championed by BBC 6 Music.
Over the years Norwich Arts Centre has seen an amazing array of shows from performers who have subsequently gone on to achieve fame.
Amongst those who have appeared are bands such as Coldplay, Nirvana, Oasis, Muse, Kasabian and The Manic Street Preachers as well as blues legend Dr John. Stage performers like Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, top comedians like Dylan Moran, Jack Dee, Josie Long, David Baddiel and Rob Newman have all graced the stage over the years.
The venue has also received the prestigious ‘NME Best Small Venue in the Eastern Region’ award in 2011, 2012 and 2013; while in 2015 and 2016 it was named received the Live UK Music Business Awards for Best Venue Teamwork.
Norwich Arts Centre’s director Pasco-Q Kevlin said: “I’m very proud that Independent Venue Week are celebrating what we do. It’s a fantastic time for initiatives like this, they highlight exciting new music but also the venues that work hard to support that music.”
The Arts Centre is one of a handful of venues in the region taking part. Others include The Junction and the Portland Arms in Cambridge, The Smokehouse in Ipswich, The Bassment in Chelmsford, and the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket.
The John Peel Centre hosted Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 6 Music show on Monday, the first of five different locations around the country he his broadcasting live from as part of the week.
Featuring on the show was Independent Venue Week founder Sybil Bell, Nadine Shah, and John Peel’s widow Sheila Ravenscroft, who is patron and director of the centre.
Jane Cox, John Peel Centre manager, said: “We’re really pleased that Steve Lamacq came to broadcast as part of Independent Venue Week.
“This week is a fantastic opportunity to champion the hard work of small venues, such as the John Peel Centre, across the country and the bands of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers.”
Following in the footsteps of previous Independent Venue Week ambassadors Frank Turner and Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, this year’s champions are hip-hop legend Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels and jazz-pop star Jamie Cullum.
“I can’t imagine the British music scene without these venues,” said Jamie Cullum. “Independent venues were essential to me. People talk about independent artists, labels, and record shops, but independent venues get a lot less air time.
“I think people forget that running a music venue is not something you do to get rich. It is run by people who love the life of music, bands, and music making.”
• Find out more about Independent Venue Week