All great movements in popular music have had an independent venue or group of independent venues at its center - Jazz came to life at the Birdland and Village Vanguard, the mod movement of the 1960s came to life at the Goldhawk Club and Railway Hotel in London, Merseybeat was birthed at the Cavern in Liverpool, the 60s British beat boom established itself at London’s Marquee. In San Francisco one the most famous venue / movement relationships was birthed at the Avalon Ballroom, Fillmore and Fillmore West among others. Punk had the 100 club in London and the legendary CBGBs in NYC, Disco Fever spawned the birth of hip-hop in the Bronx, the Hacienda in Manchester spawned countless bands and the acid house scene, the list could continue to fill this and many more pages, but the clear and distinct message is that all movements of all different types had venues that were essential to their foundation and creation, but the one clear distinction is that every one of these venues was independent.
The relationships between any of these special venues and the scenes they helped create is entirely symbiotic, no corporate venue by its very structure can ever be an effective breeding ground for such movements, which are in and of themselves, the very lifeblood of the wider culture.
The IVA is an alliance of 20+ venues and more joining all the time. Our current members include:
Bimbo's 365 Club
Boom Boom Room
Bottom Of The Hill
Cafe du Nord / Swedish American Hall
The Great Northern
The Lost Church
Madrone Art Bar
Neck Of The Woods
Royal Cuckoo Organ The Lounge
With the increasing corporate monopolization of the live music industry we have already seen a mass loss of independent venues across the nation. Nowhere can that be more clearly seen than in San Francisco where half of the venues have either gone out of business or have been taken over in the last five years (or both).
Independent venues have already been on the ropes for some time as we all know and the addition of this current crisis could easily take more important venues under.
The Independent Venue Alliance has been formed simply to give a unified voice to independent venues in each city and potentially nationwide. It is not a union. It is not a chamber of commerce. It is not a business organization of any kind. It is an alliance. By coming together we can hopefully amplify our shared cause, not only through this current crisis but beyond to the crisis that was already decimating independent venues across the nation and the world.
Although each of us may have their own taste, their own style, audience and history, we all share something in common, independent venues are a hub for their community / culture / sub-culture and function in a way that is always going to be vastly different from the corporate model and cannot be replicated or done away with.