York Has a Community Venue?
If you don’t know about The Crescent Community Venue, then you clearly haven’t been reading Circulation enough. The Crescent Community Venue is rapidly becoming an institution for quality comedy, great live music and late night parties here in York. I’ve been investigating the foundations of what makes it such an attractive spot.
In recent years it’s been worryingly common to hear of music venues and events spaces shutting down. Rising business rates, private property developments, strict licensing laws and noise restrictions create a pressure which establishments up and down the country are struggling to resist. In York alone, we’ve seen The Duchess and Willow shut down in recent years. There’s even been speculation of the sticky student haunt Salvation finishing trading. Further afield these pressures almost caused legendary London club Fabric to shut down, and have seen Mint Club in Leeds close its doors for good.
Three and half years ago four local gig promoters and University of York alumni: Ed and Bob Leyland (Herbal Mafia/Irie Vibes), Joe Coates (Please Please You/Ouroboros) and Harkirit Boparai (Jazz in York/Ouroboros) decided to purchase the then Crescent Working Mens club. Gig spaces at the time had become challenging to find or improvised due to the imminent closure of the Duchess in particular. The two rooms at the Crescent WMC provided an answer to their problems, with its 250 capacity backroom and large built-in bar.
Since reopening it’s doors the now Crescent Community Venue has seen this group of promoters, who have been running parties in the city under various guises for well over a decade, bring some truly world-class live music, DJs and comedy to York. In the past years they’ve played host to the likes of: Mr Scruff, Nightmares on Wax, The Herbaliser, Submotion Orchestra, Alfa Mist, Calibre, Joy Orbison, Pearson Sound, Horse Meat Disco, DJ Hype, Altern8, Luke Vibert, Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, Goat Girl, The KVB, Ed Gamble, Josie Long and James Acaster to name just a few. On top of this, the main room often sees York-based performers. Recently groups such as established local collective The New York Brass Band and up and coming student band Jerry have headlined self-promoted events in this 250 capacity space. This broad range of entertainment is hard to balance, the venue’s calendar as of late is becoming increasingly full; just goes to show how much York needs the service that The Crescent provides.
The front bar, which is always free to visit, has allowed DJ nights such as Skin, Clkwork and Tropica to flourish. On the weekend it may be found full of dancers however, this small pub-like space generally maintains a relaxed vibe which mimics and modernises some of the ideology of the WMC it formerly was. Locals and students mingle, playing bar games and drinking cheap pints relieving the stress of the week. The Crescent not only is a venue, but it’s also a community and a massive credit to the city. With some creativity and the right people, events spaces can thrive in this climate and the Crescent is a testament to that.
Upcoming gigs at The Crescent Community Venue: