The Wakefield Music Collective is a non-profit making organisation run by music loving volunteers. Formed in 1991, the aim was to promote live, local music as well as providing help, advice and information for both established and new bands looking for a break, whether on a local level or nationally. At 11am on the 10th of August 1991 The Muldoons took to the stage to kick off Clarence Rocks Off. As with all good festivals the rain fell but 3,000 live music lovers turned up to watch the event. Other performances on that day were supplied by local outfits Brick Supply, Moonpump, Fear of Jazz and Ada Wilson, and from out of town the Jed Thomas Blues band, Piccolo Chickens and 100 Men.
1992 saw Clarence 11 – The Revenge. Saturday the 8th of August was the date and the event kicked off at 12.45 with music from Cherry Bus Pass. Other acts taking to the stage that year where Gentle Ihors Devotion, Architect, The Deal with headline act PADD.
In 1993 the Collective put on an event for national music day. The Mick Jagger inspired event took place at The Post Haste in Wakefield on the 26th of June. Money raised from the event was donated to the Wakefield Drug Project. Also that year the Collective organised mini rain free festivals in the Post Haste every Saturday.
Clarence 111 took place on the 7th of August 1993. With a start time and still only taking place over 1 day the Bandstand played host to The Birthdays, The Roosters, Quelladrive and the Infamous Daw Green Stompers to name but a few. Also in 1993 The Collective got involved in the Wakefield Folk Roots Festival.
In 1994 the Collective ran a Battle of the Bands competition with the Wakefield Youth Service. Heats too place at all the Youth Clubs in the area and the Winners where Blunt. With the other finalists Fourways and Bubble Frenzy they all had one a slot at the Clarence Park Free Festival. The annual Clarence Park Free Music Festival followed another National Music Day event at the Post Haste.
This year the Collective decided to be brave and booked the Bandstand for two days. August the 6th and 7th were the dates and taking to the stage this time acts included Gaelforce, Blunt, Chest, The Bobby Charlton’s, Dazed and Confused and The Blueflies to name but a few. The Collective also organised the weekly SLAM night at the Post Haste where punters could expect to be entertained by local bands. 1994 also saw the launch of the Collectives very own Fanzine “Feedback”.
1995 saw the Collective organise a VE Day event on Monday the 8th on May at The Post Haste in Wakefield. Under the title “Last Post” 10 bands did their stuff for nothing to raise funds for the up and coming Clarence V Festival. Acts taking to the stage included Two Man Cuppy, Scrawl, Brick Supply and Two Dogs. With an admission price of one pound the event raised over two hundred pounds. Clarence V took place on the 29th and 30th of July with The Muldoon’s kicking the event off on Saturday. Other acts taking to the stage that day included Picasso, Metamorphosis, Junkhead and the headline act were Gangshow headed by ex-Motorhead axe-man Wurzel. Sunday’s event kicked off with the Valley of the Dolls who were followed by Blackstone Edge, Two Dogs, T-Box Mini. The headline act for Sunday was Brick Supply.
In 1996 the Collective organised two fundraising events for this years Clarence festival. The first event took place on the 27th of January at Henry Boons in Wakefield and featured an array of talent including The Bobby Charltons, Planet Lounge, Skint, Homegroan and Two Man Cuppy to name but a few. The second event took place, again at Henry Boons in Wakefield on the 25th of May. Bands giving their time for free this time included Omega, Soil, Comic Book Heroes, Blackout and Two Man Cuppy.
The festival took place over the 27th and 28th of July. Now boasting two stages the event kicked off on Saturday at 1pm with The Muldoon Brothers on the main stage. Other acts on that stage included The Solicitors and Huggy. The second stage kicked off at 2.50pm with Sleepwalker doing their stuff, other acts on that stage included HG and Return to Chaos. Headliners on Saturday were Lenny and the 5 MG’s. Sunday saw Blackout, Omega, Dazed and Confused and Chest, to name but a few entertained the crowds.
The 1997 festival took place over the weekend of the 26th and 27th of July. Once again the event kicked off with ever-popular Muldoos playing the Main stage. Other acts playing that day included Strongheart, Kava Kava, Rosko and the day’s headliners were Gretschen Hofner. Sunday’s bands included Tinto Basso, Torment, Old Man Stone, Patsy Matheson and headliners The Beekeepers. This year the event also boasted a beer tent stage where The Deal and guests entertained punters.
July the 24th and 25th were the dates live music lovers marked in their diaries in 1998, the date on this year’s Clarence Free Music Festival. As well as the usual main stages on which acts such as Young Americans, Brace, Bodixa, Skaface and Kava Kava did their stuff. This year the festival boasted a dance tent with performances form an electric bunch of dj’s over the weekend.
1999 saw the Collective organise a District Battle of the Bands competition for original bands with members aged between 16-25. Heats took place at various Youth Clubs in the Wakefield and 5 towns area with the grand final of the event being held at McDermott’s on Cheapside on Bank Holiday Monday May the 29th. The winners could look forward to a slot at this years Clarence festival, recording time and a voucher towards equipment.
In 2000 the festival took place over the weekend of the 28th to 30th of July. This year we had a beer tent set up on the Friday night which played host to the runners up and other competitors from this years Battle of the bands competition plus Sebastian Fly and Wrinkle who then became the very well know Cribs. The Saturday event was headlined by the B-Eagles on the main stage with P.A.I.N playing the last slot on the Lite Structures stage. Other acts playing on Saturday included Johnny the Fox, Blanche, Jed Thomas and Innocent OJ’s to name but a few. Sunburst Deluxe, the brilliant Be Bop Deluxe tribute outfit, headlined Sunday’s line up. Other acts playing on that day included Young Americans, Bluefoot Project, The Snapp, Maine and Remedy.
Our 2001 event boasted 2 stages, 26 bands and 1 beer tent. Taking place over the weekend of the 28t hand 29th of July the show was opened by John Otway and headlined by Four More Heroes. Other acts taking to the stage that day included Dr Blue, Nailed, Mr Shiraz and Soberskin. The Flying Seamen opened the festival on Sunday at 1pm followed by The Solicitors, The Jacasta Project, Rebel Truce, Web, Catalyst and headlined by the excellent Edie and the Hotrods. This year also saw the start of the Music Track project. Working with local schools, youth service and faceless theatre company the project encouraged young musicians aged between 12 – 18 to work together on recording their material and performing live. This project ran until 2008 and saw over 200 young people get involved.
In 2002 sessions were held at the Kube bar in Wakefield where potential acts could showcase their music to the Collective with a view to gaining a place at this years event which took place between the 26th and 28th of July. The event kicked off on the Friday with an invitation only event in the beer tent followed by the kick off of the main event on Saturday at 1pm with the Innocent OJ’s. The Saturday headliners were Squo-7 and other acts doing their stuff included Commonside, Welsh T Jam Band, KO Kaine Milk2sugars. The Flying Seamen kicked off on Sunday at 1pm followed by Seed, The Negatives, Gabriel, Lyca Sleep, Swansong and headlined by The Bluefoot Project. The beer tent played host to Dr Blue and guest.
Now in its thirteenth year the date for the 2003 event was the 26th and 27th on July. Acts who entertained the audience this year included Denzil, Inamba, FULC and The Sex Pistol Experience. The Flying Seamen took to the stage on the Sunday for the third year running to whip up the audience as they always do. Also on stage that day was The Dead Pets, Born to Run and Worm.
In April of 2004, the 24th to be exact the Collective held a warm up gig for Clarence. Held at the Snooty Fox in Wakefield White Buffalo headlined with support from other acts vying for a place on the stage at this year’s event. The annual two-day event took place over the last weekend of July. With an impressive headline by The Crew supported by a brilliant pyrotechnic light show other acts on the Saturday included Kiss the Dawn, AB Negative, Swine and Vib Gyore. On Sunday Lord Bishop headlined and on that day other acts taking to the stage included Cobain, Waking the Witch and Malibu Stacey.
Saturday the 23rd of April 2005 saw an all-dayer take place at the Snooty Fox to give organisers a chance to hear some of the contenders who were hoping to play at this year’s festival. During this time the Collective was also running a Battle of the Bands competition. One of the prizes was a place at this year’s festival. Runners up were Last Day of Vengence and the Winners were The Labels. This years festival took place over the weekend of the 30th and 31st of July. Strangebrew headline on the Saturday night with other acts taking to the stage before hand included New Vinyl, 3mh, Coney Island Jesus and Last Days of Vengence. Sunday’s event boasted a headline show from The Labels and other acts such as Rise to Addiction, Kid G and Neophonics doing their stuff on stage. In the beer tent Jon Gomm, Belinda Hooley, Rob Nichols, Mister Do and Fawn supplied acoustic sessions. Also the sun was shining as Rangin Kala performed on the hillside.
In 2006 we decided to allocate a number of slots at the festival to promoters. This giving the promoters a chance to nominate bands that they thought deserved to play at this year’s event. Also the Battle of the bands competition had become an annual event at various venues in the city. Due to funding problems this year’s festival had to be re-organised. While the bandstand stood idle the Snooty Fox became the place to be over the weekend of the 29th and 30th of July. Bands playing included Theory 1, Les Jocks from our twin town of Castres in France, Last Gang, Xi, Metro, and Rebel Yell.
The Bandstand has been an ongoing concern and a sub-committee, made up of three collective members, representatives from Faceless Arts Company and the council’s Parks and Public Realm have started to meet regularly to discuss securing funding to repair the roof and other renovations. Other repairs internally were authorised and the matter of the state of the doors were raised as a security issue.
2007 saw the Collective back on track. The annual Battle of the Bands competition was all up and running. The 22nd April saw the Snooty Fox play host to a fun raising gig for Clarence take place featuring Dusty not Digital, Hulafrau and Rayne. The final of the Battle of the Bands competition took place on the 5th of May at the Snooty Fox. Theory 1 was the winners and a massive 1,380 pounds had been raised during the competition to go towards this years Clarence Park festival. This year’s festival had been brought forward by a week and took place over the 21st and 22nd of July. Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction headlined the Saturday night with other bands doing their stuff-included battle of the bands winners Theory 1, Whisky Dogs, Scion, Eris and The Solicitors. Goggle Eye Psycho and Jason Wakefield played in the beet tent. Sunday’s event was kicked off by Metro who was followed by Subnova, Jon Gomm, Quelladrive and many more, and in the beer tent the audience was entertained by Welsh T, Crosscut Saw and Hummingbird.
The first Wakefield Blues festival organised by KT Promotions with support from the Collective took place during November at a number of venues in the city. Bands playing at the event included John Gomm, Crosscut Saw, Ryan Mitchell Smith, Dr Blue, Mojo, Blues Positive and The Welsh T Band.
In 2008 the annual Battle of the Bands competition took place during the spring raising more than one thousand pounds towards this year’s festival. June of this year saw the Collective put the first Brass band concert on the stage of Clarence Park bandstand for over 20 years. Crofton Silver band played to an appreciative audience of avid listeners.
The weekend of the 26th and 27th of July played host to this years festival. With scorching sunshine all weekend the event was the best attended to date with bodies scattered on the hill not a blade of grass in sight. This year the bandstand was the main stage playing host to what has been described as the best line up of the festival in a lot of people’s memories. On Saturday the main stage was headlined by blues genius Stephen Dale Petit, other acts included Crygirlcry, Kolorado Rock Machine and this years Battle of the Bands winners The Bundesrats to name but a few. The beer tent played host to interludes where supplied by the Black Horse Poets. With the sun still shining Sunday saw the Jess Gardham Band headline on the main stage. Other acts on the day included Inamba, Rosie Doonan and band and Hank Muldoon and the Hangovers. In the beer tent John Doe, Lapels, Hoover Manouvres and The Deal entertained the audience. In September Crofton Silver band once again took to the bandstand stage, and again the sun shone all afternoon.
On going meetings over the last two years with regard to the renovation of the bandstand made a giant leap with the renovation of the roof organised and paid for by the council. Also internal renovation was completed by the collective, with cherry on the cake being the successful bid to Wakefield Community Foundation Grass Roots Grant for funds towards the cost of shutters being fitted to the bandstand. With match funding promised from the council, work should start by summer 2009.
Also this year the second Blues festival organised by KT Promotions kicked off on the 6th of November with the excellent Dr Feelgood taking to the stage at the Strafford Arms in Wakefield with support from the Welsh T Band. Other venues playing host to the event included the Jockey, O’Donoghues and the Talbot and Falcon. On Sunday the 9th the bandstand played host to two of the acts taking part in this years Blues festival namely Matt Johnson and The Deal.
On December the 14th the bandstand once again played host to the sound of Brass. Taking to the stage to lead a Carol Concert were Yorkshire Brass Quintet.
And so to 2009 when the Collective put on hold the usual 2 day festival but are looking at ways of reinvigorating the event so that they can put on a bigger, better, refreshed festival next year. However, the Collective have a number of replacement events up their sleeves. Plans are to make more use of the bandstand, which includes a Family Music Day at the end of July, more brass band concerts also the Collective want to hear from Voluntary and Community Organisations who would like to use the facilities at Clarence Park. Events already booked to take place at the Bandstand this year are as follows:
2010 saw the Collective being involved in a number of events across the city including the annual solstice gig, young band show case, Equinox gig and a return of the Free Clarence Music Festival all held at the bandstand. The bandstand is looking in great shape and playing host to more and more events which includes regular Brass Band performances. The Free Clarence Music Festival is back this year with a strong line which included the best local and national acts on the circuit. The annual KT’s Blues Bash took place between the 3rd and 7th of November at a number of venues in the city including Fernandes, O’Donoghues, The Hop featuring 12 Bands. The highlight has to be Dr Feelgood doing what they do best at the Cathedral which was a sell out gig and we expect more events being organised at what must be the most ornate and beautiful venue in Wakefield.
We were also asked to plan and stage a concert at Light Waves for Next Generation, local VCS organisation who work with children and young people. The theme was ‘Love Music, Hate Racism’ and featured local young people writing own compositions and performing.
The Collective also continued to support Thursday night gigs – KT’s PURE Music @ the Hop which features electro acoustic or Blues Bands each week continuing through 2011 and 2012.
Collective History by Andy Philpott – thanks Andy!