Gruff Rhys announced as Independent Venue Week ambassador for Wales

"Independent venues create the conditions that make it possible for everything else to happen within music"

Gruff Rhys has been announced as Independent Venue Week 2021’s ambassador for Wales.

Having already announced Arlo Parks as the England ambassador for the eighth edition of the annual, seven-day celebration of independent music venues around the UK (taking place from January 25 to 31), now the Super Furry Animals legend will be joining her to spotlight the grassroots music community of his native Wales.

“As a touring musician – my work is completely connected to having independent venues exist,” said Rhys. “It’s about people, not the actual buildings. It’s about the energy and enthusiasm that music fans have created in towns and cities and villages and so, we need to give a voice for those people to be heard.”


Super Furry Animals, Gruff Rhys
Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys CREDIT: Gaelle Beri/Redferns

He continued: “Touring artists are completely dependent on the enthusiasm of independent promoters and venues. The reality of music is that for most people it’s a lifelong passion, and musicians can rarely make a full living out of it, so music exists thanks to people’s passion to want to hear music, share music and give a stage to exciting new music.

“Independent venues keep that spirit going and they make it possible for musicians to play – most people involved are doing it for the love of it. Those independent venues create the conditions that make it possible for everything else to happen within music.”

Ambassadors for the rest of the UK will be announced in the coming days, along more details of what the programme will involve. Visit the IVW website for more information.

The initiative, which invites a host of exciting artists to play exclusive shows up and down the country in celebration of independent venues and their communities, provides a huge spotlight on the grassroots ecosystem within the live music sector.


So far this year, 64 venues from 37 different villages, towns and cities have signed up to take part in IVW, 82% of which are outside of London.

A spokesperson added: “As we step into 2021, it is clear we are a long way from any kind of opportunity to safely enjoy live music in grassroots music venues and the health and well-being of our whole community is our priority. IVW is responding by adapting the way shows are available across the week with a range of digital events. From “In Conversations” with artists, labels, promoters, gig goers and other industry organisations to album listening parties, pre-recorded live streams, comedy and quizzes.

“There will be fewer venues and artists taking part than in previous years, but there are still stories to be told and experiences to be shared and they are as important now as they’ve ever been – many of these will be with people who are usually behind the scenes, giving a new opportunity to find out more about how the industry works. IVW is committed to putting venues and their communities at the heart of what they do by continuing to shine a spotlight on them, all around the UK, as it has done for the last eight years.”

Independent Venue Week’s Independent's Day
Independent Venue Week’s Independent’s Day (Picture: Independent Venue Week)

Last month, Anna Calvi, Sleaford Mods and more appeared on a new live album which has been released by the organisers behind Independent Venue Week. The nine-track vinyl-only album was recorded at various independent venues across the country.

‘Independent Venue Week LIVE 2020’ is available to buy from the Independent Venue Week website as well as a number of independent stores across the country.

Meanwhile, the Music Venue Trust continue to fight to save and reopen every struggling grassroots music venue in the wake of COVID-19 closures – assuring fans that its possible with continued “people power“. Visit here for more information or to donate to the #SaveOurVenues campaign.