Independent Venue Week – Exeter Cavern
Grow Playlist by Becky Grinham
Something a little bit different to the usual Playlist this month…I’ll be highlighting a very significant week that ‘celebrates the spirit of independence and the culture of live music’. Taking place on the 28th January – 3rd February this year across the UK (and further afield), Independent Venue Week will honour all those that create, sustain and relish the small music venues that provide a platform for a plethora of artists, sound engineers, promoters, producers, designers, bar staff all under one roof in an intimate space.
There are hundreds of independent venues that play host to creatives, some to name locally are Exeter Phoenix, Kingskerswell Parish Church (Newton Abbot), The Apple & Parrot (Torquay), The Junction (Plymouth) and so forth.
I checked in with Pippa Wragg and David Goodchild, owners of Exeter Cavern, one of the cities independent music venues that has proudly supported thousands of artists, whilst encouraging many local innovative projects.
Since opening in 1991, you’ve hosted some cracking bands, local and international. Can you give us a rundown of your achievements?
Yes – it’s difficult to calculate, but we’ve put on between 15,000-20,00 bands. Prior to opening the Cavern, we had been part of a loose collective of bands, artists, skaters and promoters, The idea was to bring the best underground acts from around the world to the City, while simultaneously creating a platform for emerging Exeter bands. Early shows included the likes of Hole and Fugazi, but the first Cavern show was on St Valentine’s Day 1991, with US band Quicksand headlining over Dutch band Nations On Fire, and local lads Beaver Patrol. There have been a lot of notable shows with the likes of Muse, The Hives, Kaiser Chiefs, Bastille and in more recent times The 1975 and George Ezra.
What led you to create a platform for local artists and live music venue?
Most cities have a small independent venue like the Cavern. In the 70’s and 80s, Exeter’s main indie venue was Routes on the Quay, who played host to the likes of The Ruts, The Police and The Sex Pistols. After Routes closed, the only places to put on small shows were the various pubs around town, and frankly, they didn’t really understand the punk/DIY scene. It was at that point we knew we needed a dedicated live music venue in Exeter, and modelled the Cavern on venues we had played at in our own bands, such as TJs in Newport.
I know it’s hard to narrow it down to one but…what local artist do you think Exeter should keep an eye out for in 2019?
Discount Lindas, a vegan/feminist punk band who are very active on the DIY scene. They also have a label, Circle House Records, and promote a lot of shows.