Independent venue week 2018, a week celebrating the existence of small music venues around the UK. We thought we would put together a blog including some of the best independent venues that exist around Derry. No matter how big or small the independent venue, they play an important role in hosting live music events in 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 our city as part of their tour.
Sandino's bar on Water Street is a venue known 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 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.
ST COLUMBS HALL
St Columbs Hall is a historical independent venue in Derry that 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.
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. 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 Danny O'Reilly to the venue and this April see's the return of Hudson Taylor, we can't wait.
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, to listen to the bands that 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.
As part of IVW the Nerve Centre are hosting Help Musicians Northern Ireland with The Wood Burning Savages, ROE and Molly Sterling this Friday. If you haven't booked your tickets, get them here.
The newest independent venue to open its doors in the city, one that is only at the beginning of its journey and doing a great job so far may we add. Brickwork Lounge have taken over what was once Masons Bar (renowned for its small music events), and kept the tradition of giving the stage to local musicians alive. You can catch live music here almost every night of the week and now Sunday's mean the customers get to bring along their own records, or choose from the selection in the bar, and control the music being played!
We have only talked about a few independent venues in this blog, there are of course many more small 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 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.
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!!