Small venues are key to the future

The Leadmill
The Leadmill
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Some of South Yorkshire’s most exciting venues will take part in a nationwide celebration of independent music next week.

The Leadmill, The Harley and Doncaster’s new Diamond Live Lounge will host a series of live shows as part of Independent Venue Week.

The Harley,Glossop Road,are celebrating 10 years in business in October.Staff celebrate inside the Harley which has now become of the Citys top live music venues

The Harley,Glossop Road,are celebrating 10 years in business in October.Staff celebrate inside the Harley which has now become of the Citys top live music venues

The event – from Monday to Sunday, February 1 – pays homage to the venues which provide a platform for up-and-coming bands day-in, day-out.

However, while this is rock and roll, running an independent venue is not without its challenges – the tough economic climate, parking charges and the internet are all obstacles to hard-working venue owners.

But venues such as the Diamond Live Lounge have emerged in spite of a challenging economic climate, while The Harley, The Leadmill and its sister venue Queen’s Social Club – not to mention The Washington in Sheffield city centre – have stood by their live principles and continued to flourish.

Mark Loraine, Diamond Live Lounge promoter-cum-marketing manager, says: “We opened six months ago and it’s been pretty good.

“We are all about promoting Doncaster and bringing music to this area and so far it’s going well.

“We’ve already attracted big up-and-coming bands like The Shires and will be hosting The Talks, a top ska band, as part of the week, as well as a metal night and a showcase night for Doncaster bands.

“We want bands to want to come and play here. It’s a great venue with a capacity for 700 so we are filling a niche in the Doncaster scene.”

Other more established venues, such as The Leadmill, are also taking part.

Rebecca Walker, Leadmill marketing manager, says: “We’re delighted to continue our relationship with Independent Venue Week for a second year running.

“In the tough economic climate, its great to have a week raising the awareness and recognition of independent venues across the country.

“Without smaller, independent venues such as The Harley, Queen’s and even ourselves, there wouldn’t be the investment there for emerging and up-and-coming talent to fill the larger chain venues and arenas of the future.”

The Leadmill has been at the forefront of Sheffield’s music scene for decades and this year celebrates its 35th anniversary with a series of special events later in the year.

But that is not the extent of Sheffield independent venues – The Harley is also taking part in the awareness week.

The venue, now in its 10th year, will be hosting a series of live gigs.

And there are other independent venues in Sheffield, such as The Washington, supporting the city’s local music scene.

Nick Booth, The Washington’s promoter, says: “The Washington have been big supporters of the local music scene in Sheffield for years and vice versa.”

Events during the week include Songhoy Blues at The Harley on Tuesday and Peace at Queens on Friday and Saturday, January 30-31.

The Leadmill is also hosting a night of Sheffield talent with bands such as Bear Chest on the Saturday.

* For details, visit Independent Venue Week