The Crescent Community Venue
In these times of declining numbers of public houses, of reductions in music venues across UK cities, of inner-city gentrification taking its toll on many well-established and thriving pubs & live music venues it's heartening to see a new entertainment business growing and bucking the awful trend.
The Crescent Community Venue, in The Crescent, off Blossom Street in York, is doing all that and more. This family-owned-and-run business, in taking over from the previous role of the space as a Working Men's Club, has cannily incorporated many local and social aspects of the former WMC into their very progressive live music agenda with pub quizzes, bar sports teams, line dancing classes, Community Disco events, local meetings etc. In this way they have kept the local community involved in the new success for what was, sadly, a run-down and poorly-funded WMC. On the live music side, the tastes catered for covers just about every genre of music imaginable, with a number of York-based promoters using the Live Room for some very high-profile events. For example, I saw a Strawbs 50th Anniversary Reunion gig, a fabulous re-emergence of Soft Machine and Ghanaian superstar Pat Thomas in the hall in the space of one week last autumn – phenomenal!
¡TROPICA! Crew, and as DJs individually, often work with Crescent-based promotion team Ouroboros, providing DJ music for their live events, arranging Club Nights alongside events to create an after-party space in the bar for club-minded gig-goers and collaborating in other ways. As you'll have seen on other pages, the next Ouroboros/¡TROPICA! event is scheduled for May 8th (a Bank Holiday!) when we'll be taking over the Live Room for the first time and decorating the large space as we do our Club Nights to welcome the famous world music DJ Andy Kershaw for a live DJ set. We're excited!
2020 will see the further expansion of The Crescent as a live venue of importance, not just for the city but for the north – many events draw in folk from the surrounding area & nearby cities. The threat of next-door gentrification closing the music side of the business (effectively killing off this important place in the name of short-term profit for a 'developer') has been nixed by York Council and opportunities for further funding to help renovate, restore and develop the property are on the increase.
The Live Room at The Crescent is one of the best mid-sized venue spaces I've ever experienced. You can't 'create' a positive ambiance merely by moving into a space and throwing cash at it. That's been tried in many places and it often fails dismally in this respect. There are many aspects to creating the right atmosphere for live events and The Crescent has a good start in room shape, large-ish recessed stage, great sight lines, low ceiling which is good for acoustics, an excellent in-house PA (and great engineers it should be noted), even the bar & loos are located in the best place and are of sufficient size. The 250-capacity is also a winner because wherever you stand/sit in the room the band are close and sounding great – it makes for a very intimate live music space and performers love it as much as the audience do.
Lots of little things - those all-important details - have an influence over customer attitudes. The Crescent scores well on detail in a number of ways.
- The variety of layouts, from prim night club-style tables-and-chairs, to seated-in-rows gigs, to sweaty, messy leap-around bashes, like the K.O.G & the Zongo Brigade gig in the video above (my favourite type).
- And a fabulous mirror ball.
- And the look of surprise & cheer on the faces of newcomers when they pay for their first round.
- And a word for the York audiences too – you guys are wonderfully warm and receptive, so many gigs I've seen have been given a big positive push by your up-for-it attitude!
Many gigs I've attended have been sell-out or close to and that includes a good number I would never have imagined ever happening in York, given the relative narrowness of choice over the past couple of decades. Aside from the many shades of live music The Crescent also hosts comedy gigs, political events, themed club nights such as Horsemeat Disco, Herbal Mafia & Irie Vibes, community-led events and private gatherings. Better not forget the large, bright Games Room either – with pool, bar billiards, darts, a cracking pinball machine, classic consoles and a great selection of board games - and everything except the pool is free to play.
The Crescent Community Venue continues to attract new fans who flock there to enjoy the immense variety of events on offer and the very friendly ambiance created by the hospitable owners and their lovely staff. They're keeping music where it should be – LIVE!
Why Not join them?
DrummieDave Feb 2020