Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Alison Mosshart is artist ambassador for this year’s Independent Venue Week. (Photo: James Swanson)

Independent Venue Week, running through Friday, shines a spotlight on programming from more than 100 independent venues in the United States, including Once Somerville and Harvard Square’s Club Passim. 

Once Somerville hosted The Town & The City Festival Webcast on Saturday with a diverse group of artists, including Walter Sickert of Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, performing everything from rock music to poetry. Other programming includes an Afrofusion Halloween Friday Nite party, a Seattle-based livestream of Nite Wave’s Best ’80s Prom Ever! and Sen Morimoto’s album release staged at Lincoln Hall in Chicago.

Beyond the music, a series of #IVW20 Talks, runs all week, featuring takes on the state of live music and venue operations. A panel of note for local viewers: JJ Gonson, owner of ONCE Somerville, participates in “Community Servants: How your Venue works with the Neighborhood” at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The weeklong event hopes to establish live music venues as more than just spaces to house performances, but also as places to build community and find a sense of togetherness. Building off of the momentum of Save Our Stages Fest, a similar event positioning indie venues as pillars of their communities, the event continues to stress the need for legislation protecting these institutions. Without support, the majority of these spaces will likely be shuttered by the pandemic’s economic fallout. 

“Independent venues are incredibly important to our musical history as a country, and they are incredibly important to our future,” said Alison Mosshart, of the bands The Kills and The Dead Weather in her role as the event’s artist ambassador. “So much great art is born on those stages. Ninety-nine percent of the bands you love would not have crossed your radar had independent venues not been a vital part of their journey.”

Doing its part in providing swift, direct relief, the the National Independent Venue Association event hosts a music memorabilia auction with proceeds benefiting the association’s Emergency Relief Fund, which offers funding to more than 2,000 indie venues in need. 

A schedule of Independent Venue Week programming can be found at