Independent venue week has been running from the 26th of January until the 1st of February. A week celebrating the existence of small music venues around the UK. We thought it would only be right for us to write a blog and big up a few of the best independent venues that there are around Derry. No matter how big or small the independent venue, they play an important role in attracting live music events to our city. They provide local people with opportunities and spaces needed to get their voices heard, whether it is playing their very own gig or supporting other artists that come to Derry.
SANDINO'S - Sandino's bar on Water Street is a place known in Derry for putting on a good gig or two in its 'back bar.' Behind the curtains of the main bar area you will find a small space that is regularly used by all the people who are at the heart of Derry's music scene. From local DJ's such as BEKUZ to local bands who are breaking their way into the music industry, Sandino's provides them with the perfect space for putting on small intimate gig's or in fact doing the opposite and throwing really loud parties. Whatever the music event is, it's always a good one in the back bar. http://sandinoscafebar.com/
ST COLUMBS HALL - St Columbs Hall is a historical independent venue in Derry and has a lot of its original character still present. With its high ceilings, large spacious hall & a grand balcony looking down onto the hall itself, this place can be transformed into something spectacular. The venue (which was once an old theatre) is no stranger to hosting live music events within the city including the annual Celtronic festival which see's a number of the biggest names in electronic music come to Derry to celebrate a week of live music across several different venues. https://www.facebook.com/StColumbsHallDerry/ http://www.celtronicfestival.com/
THE GLASSWORKS - Yet another historical building used for events in the city is the Glassworks. Back when Derry was awarded City of Culture in 2013, this venue was used for live music events including RTE's 'Other Voices' giving the venue a lot coverage in the media. The Glassworks is a former 19th century Georgian church and you automatically get a sense of this as you walk up the steep steps, past the huge pillars and through the tall wooden doors and find yourself surrounded by stained glass windows. Since being established as a music venue in 2013, this old church has seen many musicians take to its stage including Derry's very own SOAK. A recent gig hosted by a new events company, MRK Events, brought Hudson Taylor to the venue (a band we're big fans of) as well as other local supporting acts. https://www.facebook.com/glassworksderry/ https://www.facebook.com/MRKeventsie/
THE NERVE CENTRE - The Nerve Centre is an independent venue that we are quite familiar with. A place that we ourselves attended a lot growing up, listening to bands who not everyone might of known but all of which had a relatively large fan base. Established in 1990, the Nerve Centre has been another independent venue in the city responsible for putting on music events, giving local artists / bands the opportunity to play intimate gigs and bringing artists from further afield to the city. One that stands out for us was going to see the good old General Fiasco here. http://nervecentre.org/
We have only talked about a few independent venues in this blog, there are of course many more small music venues across the city. We just wanted to give a few of them some recognition and highlight the importance that independent venues have. Not just the venue's themselves, but also the people that run these places and continually work hard to make the venues the vibrant little places that they are. Independent venues give musicians a chance to be heard, the opportunity to play their first ever gig and of course create memorable nights for everyone who attends. Always have a look at what is going on in the independent venue's around our city and make it your mission to go to the events that they host, we should support these venues and the artists that play within them as much as we can. They could be the ones selling out arenas and playing festivals one day, or the artist and venue that you go and see might just become your new favourite thing... As an organisation that aims to be a platform for all independent culture, this time next year we hope to do something to mark independent venue week in Derry, watch this space.