Last week, the UK music industry celebrated its fifth annual Independent Venue Week (IVW) – a seven-day celebration of small music venues up and down the country. The grassroots campaign has grown from strength-to-strength in recent years, with now over 190 venues taking part in 2018 – from Aberdeen to Exeter and Belfast to Norwich.

Independent Venue Week 2018 Review with Vauxhall

To support, Vauxhall Motors has joined forces with IVW for its ‘Vivaro On Tour’ campaign. Now in its fourth year, the partnership offers up-and-coming artists free use of their Brit-built Vivaro throughout the year as they tour the country. So to celebrate IVW, we went ahead and joined Vauxhall on our very own mini UK tour, hitting three venues over the course of the week in our Insignia Grand Sport to see how small venues are helping breed the country’s next big things!

Our first stop took us to Camden’s legendary Dublin Castle. Having hosted everyone from The Arctic Monkeys and Billy Bragg to Amy Winehouse and Madness, this London stalwart seemed like the obvious place to kick off our IVW and it didn’t disappoint, with energetic performances from The Trusted and Suspects.


We then headed to Cambridge to see Martin Carr, formerly of The Boo Radleys, at the Cambridge Junction. A much more low-key affair than the sweat-drenched Camden pub, Carr performed suave and sophisticated material from his latest record ‘New Shapes of Life’.

We then took our now much-loved Insignia Grand Sport east to the Norwich Arts Centre for a Friday night filled with the rootsy beats of Hempolics. Having been called “the best band in the UK” by Faithless’ Maxi Jazz, we expected big things and weren’t let down with an incredible eclectic set-list featuring influences from hip-hop, reggae and electro. The perfect way to finish off our tour!


IVW was a real eye-opener as a whole and illustrated the importance of giving artists their first experience of playing live in front of an audience. Everyone has to start somewhere, and Vauxhall’s ‘Vivaro on Tour’ campaign seems to be playing a key role in it. Previous bands who have loaned the Vivaro include the likes of The Slaves, Yak and Sunset Sons; saving these up and coming bands a substantial amount on rental fees – something that’s crucial when starting out in the music industry.

The Vivaro On Tour campaign offers up-and-coming British artists free use of a Brit-built Vivaro throughout the year, as they tour throughout the country. If you’re a band that’s in need of a van to take on tour, the Luton-built Vivaro is up for grabs. Go to or contact [email protected] for further information.


While all words are our own, this post has kindly been sponsored by Vauxhall Motors.



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