This week, fourteen venues across the country, including Durham's Motorco Music Hall, are partaking in the stateside debut of Independent Venue Week, which runs July 9-15. Billed as "Record Store Day for venues," it's designed to commemorate independently run music venues through a series of shows, spotlighting smaller clubs and giving them the chance to build relationships with new patrons, artists, labels, promoters, and media.
"It's a first step, but I'm a believer that venues should try to work together, as I think there are a lot of benefits to be had if we do," says Glenn Boothe, the former owner of Local 506 who now works as Motorco's marketing director. "IVW helps highlight that, although we are locally owned and operated, we're not alone in this pursuit to bring great artists to our local communities."
Independent venues benefit artists, fans, and the industry at large, fostering an environment where talent can flourish without big-money backings from major labels or promoters like LiveNation. To Boothe, Motorco's participation in IVW could help get its name circulating outside of state lines, while elevating its local presence.
"We wanted to participate to both highlight the need for independent venues as well as be highlighted. It's nice to be part of an event that includes nationally renowned venues like [Washington, D.C.'s] 9:30 Club," Boothe says.
Though IVW runs for seven days, it only manifests as an individual show for participating venues. For Motorco, that show is with River Whyless, a folk band from Asheville.
"Although we weren't limited to doing this with a local act, we actually were hoping that we could use this event to highlight a solid local artist that people outside of NC may have also heard of," Boothe says.
Featured artists in other venues around the country include The Lone Bellow, The Get Up Kids, and Western Medication. The IVW concept began in the U.K., and its fifth edition there this year boasted a ten-fold increase in participating venues since year one.
"We hope we can expand in the US in the same way," said IVW's Sybil Bell in a statement. "It sets the scene to make this a true celebration of venues globally over the coming years."