6 of the Best Things about the York Music and Arts Scene Right Now

York is often overlooked as a place where cool stuff happens. When most people think of York, they think of walls, castles and hen dos. But, in our experience, there’s another side of York that really should be getting your attention.

By Graeme Smith

1. York Theatre Royal has reopened

Following a complete refurbishment, the historic Theatre Royal came back with a bang earlier this year. It’s certainly worth a visit, as we discovered when we went to check out Seven Brides for Seven Brothers there.

WEB York Light & 1984 YTR Seven Brides Cast credit John Saunders


Photo credit: John Saunders

2. Sickeningly talented young musicians

They start ‘em young in York. A hotbed of music education programmes, it’s no surprise that this city is also home to some great bands that are barely out of school (and in some cases, still in school!) Due to its modest size, The Basement is a perfect venue to catch tomorrow’s stars headlining shows, as we found out with Little Resistance and Doomed Nymph last year.

photo credits: Graeme Smith

3. Film pioneers

You may not have heard of Jack Spring, but he’s been putting York on the map in the film industry for awhile now. With a hotly-anticipated full-length feature on the horizon, we took some time to enjoy his short film The Great Yorkshire Bank Robbery when it premiered at City Screen.


Photo Credit: Wilde

4. Touring legends at Fibbers

Although we all mourned the loss of The Duchess over the Summer, the grief was quickly overcome with the memory that Fibbers is still alive and kicking. Sure, you don’t always get the modern day flash-in-the-pans playing there, but it’s THE place to catch touring stalwarts like British Sea Power tearing it up in an intimate setting.

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Photo credit: Andy Argyle

5. Generous folk

Any stereotypes about Yorkshire people being tight are completely dispeled when you think how we rally around to help those in need. After the horrific floods late last year, York’s musicians did their bit with a string of fundraising gigs, spearheaded by The Ainsty. Add to that Gear4music’s annual multi-venue festival to raise money for Oxfam, and many, many more.

Photo credits: Ruth Hunter

6. York’s homegrown heroes

York is home to some acts which are so good, you find yourself scratching your head and wondering why they aren’t international superstars yet. At least for now it works to our advantage, as we get to catch them playing hometown shows. We’re talking about the likes of King No-One and The Magnificent Seven, to name just a couple.

Photo credits: Andy Argyle