Subculture Uncovered: The Crescent, York

 

Tuesday 2nd July 2019

The Crescent in York, like its Yorkshire cousins, Trades Club, Hebden Bridge and Leeds Brudenell, began life as a working men's club. The 70-year-old traditional social club got a new lease of life in 2015 when local promoter, Harkirit Boparai and her business partners bought the two-room club and relaunched it as a community venue.

In its four years, Harkirit et al have turned the fortunes of the 250 cap club space around, bringing in a varied schedule of visiting bands, local talent and, perhaps more unusually for a contemporary music hangout, a bar billiards league and a dominoes team.

As well as three or four gigs a week, The Crescent has regular open decks sessions on Wednesday evenings in its front bar, with Mondays and Thursdays set aside for its domino and billiard players.

While Leeds may have its huge student population and Hebden Bridge has become a sort of gig tourist destination with the success of its thriving scene, its easy to overlook Yorkshire's county town when it comes to counterculture, but The Crescent punches above its weight when it comes to pulling in sought after bookings, as well as providing a place for local bands to put on self-promoted gigs. 

"...Wonderful little local venue, places like this are really important" - Mr Scruff 

York has lost many of its old venues to the constant grind of property developers and commercial landgrabs. The limitations set by York's walled boundary, and its historic features make its pubs and clubs a prime target for gentrification with venues like Fibbers getting demolished to make way for swanky apartments, so The Crescent came along at just the right time to fill a niche in the city's landscape.

Mr Scruff, Nightmares On Wax and Horsemeat Disco are among the big-hitting club experiences that have stopped off at The Crescent, and diverse live bookings include Sunflower Bean, Jon Newman, She Drew Gun and high voltage US rockers, Electric Six.

The Crescent sets itself apart from similar repurposed spaces though with its desire to continue its role as a community space, as the working men's club did before it, albeit in a much more modern manner. Interwoven with the music you'll still find the billiards league but also family arts events and projects such as the brilliantly named New York Brass Band. The Crescent is also a perfect size for intimate comedy gigs - but thankfully it's James Acaster and Josie Long as opposed to the sort of comedians you would have once found in a working men's club.

Whether it's participation in York Zine Fest, retro computer games night on a Tuesday, line dancing on a Wednesday or watching Steve Mason or Cabbage on tour, the space that makes it possible, in York, is The Crescent.

Find out more about The Crescent and its upcoming events at thecrescentyork.com

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