Manchester’s Newest Music Venue Night People & Their Support For Grassroots Music During Independent Venues Week.

January 31st, 2018 Posted by independent venues, Manchester, Music News, music venues No Comment yet

Independent Venue Week returned to venues across Manchester and all over the UK this Monday. Marking its fifth birthday with more venues and ambassadors than ever before, the 7-day celebration is back to remind the nation of the importance of Independent Venues and local artists. Night People, one of Manchester’s newest venues, kicked off Independent Venue week in Manchester on Monday. The current site of the legendary Twisted Wheel club, cited as the first venue to host the iconic genre of Northern Soul, Night People is quickly becoming a virtue to Manchester’s live scene, hosting new bands three times a week. We spoke to the venue’s owner Chris Slater about his thoughts on the impact of IVW on Manchester’s live scene and more.

After attending his first gig with his dad (“I remember we went to watch Paul McCartney at the Albert Dock in Liverpool” says Chris), and later seeing Oasis at the Empress Ballroom (“It was the day ‘What’s The Story’ came out”), Chris knew this was the industry for him: “To be fair it made me want to be in a band – the next best thing was running a venue!”. Having been actively involved in London’s live scene, it was only recently that Chris decided to return to his northern roots. Discussing the effects of venue closures in London and across the UK, Chris shares his stance:

“I’ve lost plenty of jobs because of it, but I think people keep adapting. There is a gentrification issue, but it also keeps things fresh. It’s not a bad thing if some venues shut, as long as new ones are replacing them in other areas.”

Discussing his opinion on whether in order to be successful a venue must be a part of the community, Chris explains: “Definitely – they have to! Especially small venues.” Having hosted nights for asylum seekers, neighbourhood watch meetings and more, Chris is no stranger to community spirit. “We’ve got to fully immerse ourselves in everything that’s happening.” He adds. Naturally, as a grassroots venue owner, Chris holds an ethos of rooting for the up and comers. “It’s not just the bands,” he explains. “It’s the promoters and the sound engineers and everyone that’s involved in putting a show on. It’s a learning ground for everyone. We take the risk with smaller promoters because everyone has to get started somewhere, so it isn’t just the musicians, its everything else that comes with it. We’ve got lots of space to fill so the thing to do is get using new and upcoming bands and promoters who remember you in a few years. Like Night and Day has noticed, if you help people in the beginning they will remember.”

The importance of Independent Venue Week’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed with Chris:

“They’ve been really good to us”. Expressing his dismay with older institutions such as PRS, the UK’s leading royalty collection society, Chris explains that the society’s inflexibility could be detrimental to musicians and venues alike. “Thankfully, I know things like Independent Venues Week and Music Venues Trust are standing up to them!”

Among the acts playing at Night People in honour of Independent Venue Week is folk revivalist John Stammers and surf/psych rock band The 99 Degree. The week, kicked off with a fundraising event for the city’s homeless, will feature a plethora of fresh Manchester artists. “We’ve got all sorts on,” Chris shares. “So yeah, i’m excited!”. IVW serves as one of the best initiatives to showcase upcoming talents from city’s across the UK and demonstrates that despite venue closures, the nation’s grassroots scenes are thriving. Citing The Big Peach, Goa Express and Freakout Honey as Manchester bands to keep an eye on, Chris explains: “There’s a lot of up and coming psych rock bands coming out of Manchester; that’s the most exciting stuff, definitely.”

Having started out with just 17 venues in 2014, this year will see 180 venues staging shows in honour of IVW between Monday 29 January and Sunday 4 February 2018. Supported by public funding from Arts Council England, the week-long showcase provides some well deserved recognition for some of the UK’s most important venues. For tickets and more information, please visit: https://www.independentvenueweek.com/official-venues/

Words – Hannah Walford

 

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