WHILE the big corporate outfits do a fine job, there’s nothing quite like seeing an up-and-coming artist in an intimate independent venue. Which is why we have always been such fans of Independent Venue Week. This year’s fun takes place next week, and features a lively looking show at the ultimate indie venue – The Cellar.

A magnet for new bands, DJs, party people and music-lovers for more than 30 years, the Frewin Court venue, just off Cornmarket, has remained fiercely independent since its early days as a rockers’ pub called The Corn Dolly – making it the perfect place for a celebration of non-corporate venues. On Thursday it plays host to three local acts busy making names for themselves, Maiians, Cassels and Rosie Caldicot.

The night is a joint venture between the venue and BBC Introducing.

* With the county plunged into a deep chill, summer could not seem further away. Yet we are consoled with images of sunlit fields and hours of al fresco music thanks to our local festival organisers, who keep dropping tantalising line-up announcements.

The latest is Towersey.

The festival – Oxfordshire’s longest running, has a stellar line-up featuring Billy Bragg, The Wonder Stuff, Kate Rusby and Ultravox star Midge Ure, for its 52nd instalment, from August 26 to 29.

They’re joined by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, the Tom Robinson Band, Edward II, Nizlopi and Nell Bryden.

Towersey favourites Roy Bailey, Rusty Shackle, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, along with BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Award winners The Young’uns (Best Group), Welsh act 9Bach (Best Album for Tincian), Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker (Best Duo), and Nancy Kerr (Best Singer).

Festival director Joe Heap said: “We’ve got a great mix of acts this year performing across six stages including at least four chart-toppers in Billy Bragg, The Wonder Stuff, Midge Ure and Nizlopi.”

Tickets are on sale now with adult day tickets from £40, youth tickets for £28 and child tickets for £18. See towerseyfestival.com