With the new year getting closer with full velocity, there are many exciting gigs to come. Independent Venue Week 2023 is now less than two months away and we are all excited to witness the broad range of talent to be hosted across many venues all over the country, in celebration of independent venues, music, the people that own, run and work in them.
We have got talking with Matt Hogarth from Future Yard, Birkenhead, to discuss the venue and artists that have performed there and their involvement with Independent Venue Week.
Once again, this year, you are part of IVW23 - why is it important for independent venues to get recognition through this initiative?
It feels almost cliched to say but it never fails to be an important point to make, but independent venues are the breeding ground from where the world's best live artists as well as new movements are primarily conceived. In a way that no corporate space could ever offer independent venues provide an environment which allows for free expression, experimentation and the ability to grow. It's always been the same way since subculture began, whether you are looking at The Cavern in the fifties and sixties, The Hacienda in the Eighties or the likes of The Windmill nowadays: independent venues incubate communities of like-minded individuals to build something strong and unique. A corporate venue simply cannot do that, they don't hold the soul to allow that.
We also believe that we can make the world a better place through music. Whether that be providing community projects, educational programmes for young people, giving kids their first ever gig or just putting on a great night out, we believe that a music venue can and should sit at the centre of a community. Independent Venue Week fortifies our beliefs and the great work other venues across the country are doing.
Part of your role is in-house booker, when it comes to booking bands/artists, are you looking for certain genres, or types of acts to bring to the venue?
We don't really confine ourselves to genres or types of acts. Though there are plenty of issues with the streaming age for artists one of the benefits is the ability to have entire world of music at your fingertips. Previously music fans were probably more tribal but I think that it's becoming the case music fans are just fans of great music and we try to reflect that. Whether that means Malian Desert Blues, the best new American Hip Hop duo, an iconic Eighties synth group or our Head of Event Management going wild in a wrestling ring leading his alt rock group we try to bring something for everyone.
For me it's about finding the right balance between your favourite artist and your next favourite artist; putting household names next to what we believe is the best new thing. That's what really brings me joy, the ability to see an artist flourish and keep coming back to bigger and bigger audiences.
Future Yard favourites M(h)aol, alongside Sprints and Thus Love are returning for IVW23. Are there any other bands/artists you're particularly looking forward to having perform at Future Yard for IVW23?
M(h)aol are already a firm favourite at the venue having played this year's Future Now Weekender right before Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. They were one of my highlights of the whole event so we can't wait to welcome them back. I actually sent Thus Love a message when they first released their first song before they had an agent saying that when they did come to the UK we'd love to have them on so that feels like a nice bit of kismet.
We've really gone to town this IVW and to be honest it's incredibly difficult to pick out one show that sticks out from the bunch. It's lovely to be welcoming James Yorkston and Nina Persson back after they played here earlier this year with added Bill Ryder Jones and Philip Selway, I feel that will be pretty special.
We've also got The Mysterines playing, it's boss seeing a band from the Wirral absolutely smashing it out of the park, I mean they're off on tour with Arctic Monkeys next year so that's going to be wild. Elsewhere we have incredible artists all over the show, you can't really move for them.
Caught English Teacher at Green Man this year and was captivated and really looking forward to catching Loose Articles, Francis of Delirium and White Flowers finally. Then to finish the week off we're offering somewhat of a sonic destruction with LIFE and perhaps one of my favourite bands we've had this year Mandy Indiana. As you can tell by how much I've just reeled off we've got a pretty chocker week.
Have you ever had the chance to book a dream band/artist to perform at Future Yard?
We've only been open for two years but we've had some artists I'd never dream of welcoming through the door. I'm not really one to pick favourites as it's really hard but one that means a lot to me is Bill Ryder Jones. His music has been a constant throughout my adult life and helped guide me through some pretty difficult times. He's been a massive part of our journey from headlining our festival which evolved into the venue, showing constant support for us along the way. I'm really excited to be working with him on Yawnfest which is a celebration of his studio and the community around it, it feels like something a younger me just couldn't fathom. We're still in our infancy but I'm almost certain that we're set to work with plenty of dream artists, both those that are firmly in my sights and those who might not even exist just yet.
That being said if there was ever a Gorky's Zygotic Mynci reunion I'll be first in line for that one as I was eight when they last played.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
For me the thing that brings me the most joy is watching a show go from paper to the stage. It's watching a room full of people come together to enjoy something and the community that brings with it. It doesn't really get more rewarding than that.
What do you hope the rest of 2023, post IVW, has to bring for Future Yard, Birkenhead?
That's a whole other article in itself but it's a big year for us. Having started when the pandemic first hit we've suffered our fair share of hardships in getting up and running as have countless venues up and down the country but next year feels like an important one. We've got some huge shows already booked in with the likes of The Orielles, Slum Village, Badly Drawn Boy, Steve Mason as well as those I've already mentioned above and so many more. It's just the tip of the iceberg really. We've got a few tricks up our sleeves and we can't wait to share them with you.
Don't miss your chance to see some amazing artists as part of Independent Venue Week 2023. Book your tickets now.
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