York is an extremely musical city, with lots of gigs taking place across the week – whether they’re by major label bands in the middle of a UK tour, or local bands who regularly play in the city. Because of this, we decided that it was time to take a closer look at some of the venues that have helped bring fans and bands together in recent years.
By Jane Howkins
Feature Photo: York’s Rick Witter on stage at Fibbers – photo by Andy Argyle
Fibbers is possibly the most iconic venue that York has to offer. There were some fears over what would happen after its move from Stonebow House a couple of years ago, but as anyone who has been to a gig at the Toft Green building can testify, those fears were unfounded, and Fibbers is bigger and better than ever, with both local and big bands featuring in recent months.
2. The Crescent Community Venue
Someone not from York might find this a strange venue, considering that it’s situated within a former working men’s club. However, The Crescent is fast becoming one of the places to be on an evening, with a variety of smaller artists being put on here, including our very own York Calling associated gigs!
3. The Fulford Arms
The Fulford Arms is a bit of an institution ‘round these parts, especially if you’re into the heavier side of things. It may be a pub by day, but by night it’s… still a pub, but one where you can usually find a great selection of local bands, from the punk, rock, and metal communities. Always a good vibe, and a good crowd – and the beer is pretty tasty too!
4. The Black Swan Inn
The Black Swan is another pub, but it generally tends to have a slightly different roster of artists than The Fulford Arms, being the home of the award-winning Black Swan Folk Club, who put on shows or an open mic each Thursday evening. If you’re a folk fan looking to meet a few like-minded individuals, then head on down. Watch out for the ghosts, though!
5. The Basement
The Basement is the one place on this list that people don’t always seem to know exists, so we’re glad to be able to introduce people to a new venue. It’s found underneath the Picturehouse Cinema, on Coney Street. It features a variety of events, including gigs, movie nights, and the now infamous Fleeting pub quizzes.
6. York Barbican
The Barbican is where you would usually go when seeing a more well-known artist, with the capacity at just over 3,000 people, if you include both seated and standing sections. It obviously caters for a slightly different crowd than some of the other venues on this list, but it’s no less worthy of your attention, with national treasures regularly featuring on the gig listings.
7. The National Centre for Early Music
Part venue, part historic landmark, the NCEM can be found hidden away between Walmgate and the river. As the name suggests, it’s a cultural experience, and you wouldn’t be surprised to find a medieval band of minstrels playing here, particularly at Christmas. However, the centre caters for a range of artists and has featured the likes of John McClusker and Lucy Rose in recent years.