York live music venue to close – set to reopen in a ‘new form’

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The Woolpack Inn, York. Photograph: Michael Jagger on Wikipedia
The Woolpack Inn, York. Photograph: Michael Jagger on Wikimedia
One of York’s most music-minded pubs, The Woolpack on Fawcett Street, is to close as a venue for live bands.

Co-owner of the pub Paul Crossman says the pub will “cease trading in its current incarnation at the end of August”.

The Woolpack, formerly owned by Punch Taverns, is the most recent purchase by Paul and business partner Jon Farrow, who also own The Slip Inn and The Volunteer Arms.

Over the last year they turned it into a live music venue, with many bands from York and beyond performing there.

In a message on the Woolpack’s Facebook page, Paul said he is “extremely proud of the events we have managed to put on over the past year or so, and I am hugely grateful for the support that we have received” from both musicians and artists.

“We set out with the simple intention of supporting the original, the adventurous and the diverse, and once we began to mine York’s rich underground scene we found a real embarrassment of creative riches, of which, in my opinion, the whole city should not only be aware but also very proud,” he said.

“However, the sad fact is that we have had to finally accept that it is no longer financially viable for us to continue in this form.”

The pub still has a full diary of gigs for July, with August filling up too.

But at the end of that month it will close.

York music fans are dismayed. “Real shame. Really unique venue with great atmosphere. Thanks for the good nights we had there,” wrote Jon Taylor on Facebook.

Paul concludes: “It is looking likely that The Woolpack will be resurrected at the start of October in a different form, but one which will please a great many people.”

YorkMix understands that the Woolpack will stay as a pub but with a new concept.

In his interview for our series of pub podcasts in May, Paul – who also runs The Swan on Bishopgate Street as its leaseholder – described how he and Jon didn’t see themselves as bosses of a pub company, rather “just really a pair of enthusiasts”.

He added: “Our freehouses are not only surviving – they’re actually thriving. And these were pubs, don’t forget, that the Pubcos were trying to close as unsustainable.”

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