Independent Venue Week Announces Fantastic Negrito As Ambassador, Doubles Venues For Second U.S. Edition

– Fantastic Negrito
Independent Venue Week returns to the U.S. July 8-14, and the initial list of participating venues shows clear growth, with 43 participating venues in 33 cities. Fantastic Negrito has signed on as the week’s official artist ambassador. 
Inspired and modeled after the Record Store Day initiative, Independent Venue Week invites venues to participate by hosting shows under the IVW banner. The week launched in 20 venues in the U.S. in July of last year and recently wrapped its sixth edition in the U.K., where it was founded by Sybil Bell. 
In the U.S., IVW is put on by boutique music marketing firm Marauder. The company’s co-founder Rev. Moose told Pollstar last year: “Our main goal is to be able to support business owners, the people that own, run and spend their days in these independently owned venues, and try to give them a bigger mouthpiece,” Moose said. “I think it’s important for small business owners to have infrastructure that continues to give them support, so that they can continue in their own local markets. You have these entities that exist in communities, some very small and some very large, and they are just as important to the ecosystem as anything else.”
Fantastic Negrito, a former Pollstar Hotstar and Grammy winner, said in a statement: “Fantastic Negrito started playing on the streets, and independent venues gave us our first shot. In a business that doesn’t know what to do with artists that don’t fit in a box, they’re on the front lines, bringing great live music to people everywhere.” Last year’s IVW artist ambassador was Chuck D of Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage. 
The list of participating venues already doubles last year’s total, and others will be added. Some of the independent venues for the week include Motorco in Durham, N.C.; 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.; The UC Theatre in Berkeley, Calif.; The Crocodile in Seattle; The Echo in Los Angeles; Pianos in New York; Mohawk in Austin; Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago; and City Winery venues in New York, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C. The full initial list is appended.
“It’s a first step, but I’m a believer that venues should try to work together, as I think there are a lot of benefits to be had if we do,” Glen Boothe of Motorco said in a statement. “IVW helps highlight that, although we are locally owned and operated, we’re not alone in this pursuit to bring great artists to our local communities.”
While defining exactly what constitutes an “independent” music venue can be difficult, Bell quickly set criteria for participating venues when she started the event, which include that the owners can own no more than nine total venues, that the venue’s primary programming is live music, and that the building can’t be owned by a company that primarily does something other than music.
Eventbrite is the exclusive ticketing partner of IVW in the U.S., and the company’s president of music Andrew Dreskin said in a statement: “These venues and promoters work tirelessly day in and day out to bring great music artists to fans around the country and we’re proud to partner with an initiative that provides acknowledgment and support for this critical part of the live music industry.” 
US Independent Venue Week Participating Venues
191 Toole – Tucson, AZ
9:30 Club* – Washington, DC
Arlene’s Grocery – New York, NY
Beachland Ballroom* – Cleveland, OH
The Broadberry – Richmond, VA 
Cafe du Nord* – San Francisco, CA
The Caribou Room* – Nederland, CO
City Winery – New York, NY
City Winery – Chicago, IL
City Winery – Nashville, TN
City Winery – Atlanta, GA
City Winery – Boston, MA
City Winery – Washington, DC
Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA
The Crocodile* – Seattle, WA
Deep Ellum Art Co.* – Dallas, TX
Doug Fir Lounge* – Portland, OR
The Echo* – Los Angeles, CA
Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
First Avenue* – Minneapolis, MN
HI-FI – Indianapolis, IN
High Dive – Gainesville, FL
Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
The Kent Stage – Kent, OH
Mercy Lounge* – Nashville, TN
The Middle East* – Boston, MA
Mohawk* – Austin, TX
Motorco* – Durham, NC
Mr. Smalls Theatre* – Pittsburgh, PA
Narrows Center for the Arts – Fall River, MA
Pianos* – New York, NY
The Pour House Music Hall – Raleigh, NC
The Rebel Lounge – Phoenix, AZ
The Red Herring Lounge – Duluth, MN
Reggies – Chicago, IL
The Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
S.O.B.’s – New York, NY
Schubas Tavern* – Chicago, IL
Swedish American Hall – San Francisco, CA
The Turf Club* – St. Paul, MN
The UC Theatre* – Berkeley, CA
Wave – Wichita, KS
World Cafe Live* – Philadelphia, PA