Three-day party planned to mark York venue’s extraordinary first year

Open decks and club nights have been a big part of the Crescent success story. Photograph © KOBA studio on Flickr
28 Sep 2016 @ 6.54 pm
| Entertainment

It was an empty and neglected working men’s club, destined to be turned into flats.

CresFest 2016

The Crescent Community Venue, 8 The Crescent, York YO24 1AW

Fri Sept 30 (5pm-midnight), Sat Oct 1 (noon-midnight) and Sun Oct 2 (2pm-11pm)

Free

More details

But a year after being reinvented as the Crescent Community Venue, it has established itself as one of York’s most vibrant spaces for gigs, games and much more.

Brothers Ed and Bob Leyland took over the old Crescent WMC off Blossom Street towards the end of 2015 after hearing it was up for sale.

Bob had previously run a reggae-themed night there and was sure it could still thrive as a music and social club. Ed decided to leave his job in London to be a part of the story too.

With the help of a petition set up by former club members they were able to secure the venue in the face of competition from a developer keen to turn it into flats.

Inclusive for all

Seafret kick off the Crescent's live music programme in November 2015. Photograph @ Simon Godley
Seafret kick off the Crescent’s live music programme in November 2015. Photograph @ Simon Godley

Since then they have moulded the venue into a place that is “inclusive for everyone” in Ed’s words. The Crescent hosts a range of activities, including darts, dominoes, bar billiards and more recently table football. Vintage video gamers also flock there for the Sore Thumb Retro Games days.

In its first year the Crescent has also established itself as one of York’s buzziest music venues. As well as regular club and open decks nights, it stages a huge range of live gigs.

As a statement of intent, the first band they brought to their stage was Seafret, a duo who have established a large following both in the UK and abroad.

This passion about live music was just what York needed in the wake of the demise of the Duchess, which closed when Stonebow House was sold.

Bigger acts to come

Onwards and upwards… the Crescent. Photograph: YorkMix
Onwards and upwards… the Crescent. Photograph: YorkMix

For Ed it has been a huge year. He “immediately quit” his sales job in London, pulling his “first ever pint” in the Crescent in November 2015.

“Being your own boss is massive, overwhelming,” he told YorkMix. “But there are two of us and we rely on each other.”

With the challenges came rewards. For Ed the highlights of year one have been seeing the venue filled with people, and the chance to spread the word about great new musicians.

“We like to be a step on that journey for upcoming bands to get up on a stage for the first time.”

What does the future hold? Ed and Bob plan to keep upgrading the building, investing “time, money and effort to improve it aesthetically”.

The venue is booked up till February “and of course we are wanting bring bigger size of acts to the venue as well as variety of acts such as comedy”. Ed also stresses the importance of involving the wider York community.

“We want to also support local communities if they need it,” he said. “Everyone is welcome here as long as the cause is good and the people are nice.”

What’s on at CresFest

Boss Caine is among the VIP party people
Boss Caine is among the VIP party people

So bring on the party! CresFest 2016 is a beer, art and music festival at the Crescent Community Venue from Friday September 30 to Sunday October 2, with free entry during the entire weekend.

A packed schedule is in place including live performances and DJs. The likes of Boss Caine, the Burning Duck Comedy Club and Purple Radio are on the bill.

On the Saturday from noon till 8pm there will be arts and crafts stalls and workshops with a dedicated kids area.

A silent art auction will also take place over the course of the weekend with art being provided by local artists, and within the games room from the Friday night a range of “old skool” games will be set up for the public to play.

If that wasn’t enough there’s also a beer festival. Guest beers are coming to the Crescent from the likes of Brew York, Half Moon Brewery and Treboom Brewery which will be found in the back room, to accompany their regular beer, lager and spirits at the front bar.

With local music, art and retro games from Sore Thumb on Gillygate, the Crescent is keen to support local businesses and talents.

Ed said:

We want to give something back to the regulars who have been here throughout the year.

It’s a free event to showcase in that weekend a little bit of everything that we have to offer during the week and to really support local artists and business.

Happy first birthday to the Crescent – and here’s to many more…