For the first time in its eight-year history, Independent Venue Week (IVW) will feature four ambassadors, one for each of the home nations.

With fewer venues and artists involved than usual due to the pandemic, IVW will involve a series of digital events in venues throughout the UK from 25-31 January.

Some 79 venues have signed up so far, with 82% located outside London. The initiative is part funded by a Cultural Recovery Fund grant.

Hip-hop artist Jordan Adetunji has been named ambassador for Northern Ireland, singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald (pictured) will represent Scotland, former Super Furry Animals frontman turned solo artist Gruff Rhys will be the Welsh ambassador and singer-songwriter Arlo Parks has been declared England’s ambassador.

With Covid-19 lockdown measures preventing the venues welcoming audience members, IVW will this year feature an array of streamed content from featured venues, including interviews with artists, album listening parties and performances.

Adetunji said, “Independent venues play a vital role in creating economic opportunities, while at the same time showcasing and promoting the works of many local artists like myself. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together venues, artists, events operators, and the public – especially in these challenging times – to highlight the importance of independent venues.”

Rhys said, “As a touring musician – my work is completely connected to having independent venues exist. It’s about people, not the actual buildings. It’s about the energy and enthusiasm that music fans have created in towns and cities and villages and so, we need to give a voice for those people to be heard.”

IVW partners include Creative Scotland, See Tickets, Yamaha, Fred Perry  PPL, The F List.