Music, Art And Culture Inside The Calder Valley

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By Hannah Anstee

Bass Quake was a popular rave night that heavily influenced the town’s music scene in the 90s. It’s been 25 years since their first ever party at The Trades Club, and the guys have chosen to celebrate – back at the place where it all began.

I spoke to James Deane, Bass Quake member about this exciting reunion on Saturday 30 Sep 2017.

Bass Quake nights were legendary in Hebden Bridge – what were they actually like?

This was obviously the pre-internet and smartphone period, so there isn’t much documentary evidence in existence. To be honest, whilst it’s a pity that there aren’t many photos from this period, it’s probably not entirely a bad thing as the parties back then were pretty wild affairs with some shenanigans best consigned to the memory banks.

Bass Quake at the Trades was pretty special. We used to hire a huge Court Black-Box sound system, get a few lights and a smoke machine from a local supplier and off we went. There weren’t any noise level restrictions, so we used to get complaints from half-way up the valley, because geographically, The Trades sits in the bottom of what is effectively a large amphitheatre.

Sometimes, when we were particularly busy, people would try and climb through the toilet windows to get in and we saw a few very poorly forged tickets presented at the door more than once, but usually we just let them in anyway because they had gone to so much trouble. They were real events – there was always a tremendous sense of community, belonging and being part of something pretty special and intimate.

People make parties and we couldn’t have had a better, more up-for-it crowd to play to. They often cheered each new track as it was mixed in and they didn’t want to leave when it was time to stop. There was a lot of energy in that room. We did many parties in other venues around Bradford, Todmorden, Halifax and Burnley and although some of them were brilliant, The Trades Club was always our spiritual home.

Who were Bass Quake?

The first parties had a few core resident DJs, myself, Martin Deane and Will Oliver, and also Ewan Cawood played regularly early on. The four of us had already worked together at our ‘Lego Burger’ residency at The Yard club in Huddersfield so it seemed sensible to stick together for the early Bass Quake events. Gavan Fleming became the fourth resident in early 1993.

 

Over the years we hosted many guest DJs in a variety of venues including John Berry (E-Bloc), Paul Waine, Matthew Roberts (K-Klass), Matt Bell, The Mighty Woz & Mick Heburn (InExile), Welly, John Stapleton (Dope On Plastic), Mike Anstee, John Gilpin (Phat Records) Scott Crawford (Word Of Mouth/ The Hub), Slackears (Listen To The Beat / Chapter 4), The Howard Brothers, Marcus Intalex and Louie Finch (Boogiejuice). Because The Trades only had a 1.30am license, it was always tough time-wise to get other DJs involved, especially with four or five residents already playing.

Where did the name Bass Quake come from?

We initially came up with the name ‘Dub Quake’ whilst planning a party at The Trades Club back in 1992. I can’t remember who came up with the change to ‘Bass Quake’, but we did a couple of events under the old name before putting on the first Bass Quake party at The Trades on Saturday 26th September 1992.

Explain about the UK music scene at the time?

Dance music was very dominant during most of the 1990s. This was particularly true of the early part of the decade when house music and its many derivatives took over the music charts and permeated every corner of the UK. Back then if you were a DJ, you’d spend most of the weekdays (and all of your money) either practising or hanging around in record shops, particularly in Manchester or Leeds. Weekends were spent trying to find a good party, which often meant travelling long distances. But, Hebden quickly developed a very vibrant dance music scene of its own.

And what was the Hebden scene like?

Back in the nineties, Hebden had a very good record shop called System Records, and Bass Quake and Word of Mouth were regular fixtures at The Trades, there were house parties every weekend and often during the week too. Some of these are now the stuff of local legend, including the infamous parties at Weather House a.k.a. Brian’s Parties which were organised by Sarah Gledhill. We also did parties at the White Rose, which is now the Co-op in Mytholmroyd and the derelict Woodman Inn. The Shoulder of Mutton was our boozer of choice back then and we did an amazing party at Rick’s Gym above what was then called Hebden’s Pizza place, now La Perla. We tried doing some parties at the Blue Note in Todmorden, with mixed results – as a venue it just didn’t have the right vibe for some reason. The Trades was the hub of the scene really, it served as a crucible for local crews to cut their teeth and build a following. That’s the way it’s always seemed to me. They were willing to give us – and others – a crack at putting something on, helping to nurture the grass roots. Long may it continue.

How did it all end?

Thankfully there was no acrimony between us, we all moved away from the area, bit by bit, and for different reasons. Will and Gav moved to London towards the end of the 90s so Martin and I carried on doing occasional parties under the Bass Quake banner, with the last one taking place in 2002.

Martin and I moved to Preston to study and went on to co-found the ‘Trailer Trash’ all-nighters which ran at The Mill in Bradford from 2003 – 2008, whilst getting involved in various festivals, including the Beat Herder which we’ve been doing since 2006. Martin toured Eastern Europe with the band Carpathiana and we put on a few parties in Preston, but not under the Bass Quake banner. Martin and I are both still actively Djing – although nothing like as frequently as we used to. Earlier this year I played at the Nelson’s 20th birthday party in Hebden and also supported Coldcut at the Beat Herder Festival.

What can we expect from this reunion and why now?

Me and Martin caught up with Gavan for a few beers in Hebden in May 2016 and the conversation inevitably turned to our impending 25th anniversary.

James, Martin and Gavan 2016

I contacted Will and he was willing to travel up and play, then it was just a case of approaching The Trades to see if they would have us back and give us a suitable date. We settled on the 30th September – which marks 25 years and four days since the first party. Luckily I still have my vintage 90’s lighting rig. It has been great to hear from so many of the original party people, their support, encouragement and enthusiasm is what makes the hard work worthwhile. It’s not about the money, it’s about the people and the music and personally I firmly believe in the philosophy – ‘If You Build It They Will Come’. We’ve just heard that the event is now sold-out and we’re obviously thrilled that it’s shaping up to be such a good party.

What sort of music will you be playing?

All forms of House, Techno, Breakbeat and anything else that fits the 90s vibe. We’ve all still got all of our records from the 90s so there’s a lot of music to go at. I’ve been cleaning mine and spending both long hours and lots of money on Discogs, as some of my original records have seen better days, sacrificed on the altar of numerous messy parties. Martin and I have a joint collection of over 10, 000 records, so getting them organised has been a pretty big job. But it’s been very interesting revisiting this music, some of it has actually aged quite well, but not all of it.

There is a lot of music to cram into one night, so hopefully there will be something for everyone, including a lot of lost gems. Personally, I’ll be trying to represent the widest possible range of music from the 90s period and trying to play as many tracks as possible!

I’d encourage people to get there early as the quality will be there from the kick-off at 8:30pm. We have been granted a late licence so the music can go on until 2:30am. Ideally we’d like to see a reconstitution of the Hebden diaspora – albeit a temporary one – where old friends can meet-up, reconnect & have a good dance in a brilliant space. That’s what it’s all about really.

Don’t forget to like our Facebook page here for event updates 🙂

by Hannah Anstee

“This is a community pub, people come in and have a laugh or a cry. I want people to come in and be able to take their shoes off if they’re damp, sit and be comfortable, and put their shoes by the fire to dry.” – Liz Wood, Landlord of The White Swan.

 

In all honesty I can’t remember the first time I ever went in The White Swan in Hebden Bridge. I just think of it always being here – which it has – it opened in the 1700’s as a coach house with stables at the back.

I fondly remember countless evenings over the last twenty years – Christmas day night was always a cracker (sorry). After dinner I’d head down, with my many siblings, to meet up with our mates and their families to share terrible jokes and get nicely drunk.

 

Christmas in The White Swan 2007 (Left to right – Kala Wild, Maddy Duke, Me and Sarah Royle)

 

Anyway, today I’m sat in here on a rainy Monday morning chatting to Liz about life. Hebden is buzzing at the moment, there’s no doubt about it. The floods initially brought devastation, but they also brought change. Some people cut their losses and departed and this left space for others to move in. Lots of interesting new shops, bars and cafes have popped up and there’s great vibes in the air; it’s a brilliant place to be.

 

The White Swan however, is struggling. A combination of more competition, less folk actually in town during the week, and endless resources lost in the flood are having a big impact. Once a big employer in the town, Liz is currently having to work the bar herself in the evenings, just to save a wage.

Liz:

During the week I’ve never experienced anything like I have now, you might not have anybody in or you might have two in all night. We offer home cooked food and before the floods we used to do lunchtime and dinner. At the moment I’m just doing lunchtimes as we don’t have the footfall – a lot of places have opened up that are doing food. 

 

Liz:

When we came here this was a working town, people came here after work and had a pint on their way home. Friday teatime we’d have the bank staff, Calrec staff and the road sweepers, everyone came. All those have now gone. We have become a dormitory town, people work away, come back into town, go home and don’t come out and use us.

 

Liz originally comes from North Yorkshire but came from Rastrick, Brighouse to Hebden Bridge, over 36 years ago, to run the pub with her husband.

Liz:

I’d always come to Hebden Bridge, as a little girl we came to the Crags, and with my husband we came walking. We’d never had a pub. I had no plans and no idea – truth. My husband, all his life, had a desire to run a pub. We both had good jobs and I was quite happy with my nice bungalow. Be he wanted it.

 

He wanted to create a community pub, where old ladies can come for their lunch and feel comfortable and happy. He always did look after the older people. The food was at the right price so you could bring your children and it not cost an arm and a leg to be a family.

 

He could see the potential of The White Swan – obviously it wasn’t like it is now. He gave his three months notice at work, I thought ‘he’ll never leave’, but he did. So I kept working for a while, because you don’t know how it’s going to go, but then he told my boss: ‘That’s it now, she’s married to me.’ So we both came in here and from then it’s history. He died eighteen years ago on the 21 June, he asked me to carry on and that’s what I’ve done.

 

 

Liz isn’t on social media so she isn’t able to promote her business in the way that others can. If she has an event on she puts a poster in the window. Liz feels that everyone is glued to their phone nowadays:

Liz:

I watch people walk down in the morning to go for the bus or the train and they’ve got earplugs in. They don’t hear the trees rattling or the ducks quacking, or anything. We should be looking around, take time to stand and stare, we all have time. We’re missing out.

So why should you go the The White Swan?

Well, it’s a fantastic, traditional pub atmosphere, that you don’t get many places anymore. On tap they offer four cask ales, five draft ciders, seven lagers and a smooth Guinness. A pint of Black Sheep is £3.35 the others are £3.40. A small glass of wine is £2.65. They have a juke box and a beautiful beer garden at the back which includes a heated smoking area and they have regular live music. Home cooked food is served at very reasonable prices. There’s nothing specifically vegan on the menu but Liz says she’ll make anything for anyone – and she will.

If a glass of wine at £2.65 isn’t enough to tempt you, here’s perhaps aother reason you should consider The White Swan for a drink if you’re in town:

Liz is a kind and caring woman and very community minded. She supports Hebden Bridge Cricket Club, the Hebden Bridge Saints football team, the Light Opera Society and many others. She holds charity events for local causes and local people.

The White Swan is also a great venue for hosting your own event. They’re open to anything – weddings, birthday parties, barbecues, music day events, record sales, disco’s with everyone dancing. Dogs are welcome. Children are welcome.

As Liz says:

Anybody that approaches me – I’ll do anything they want. It’s basically a community pub for everybody. All I try to do is give love, we both did, we care, and share. It’s not about making a lot of money, it’s just about surviving, which is very difficult. People are my main concern. I think it’s a very hard life at the moment, very lonely. I try to help people that are in trouble. People can come and talk to me, knowing that it’s not going to be talked about and laughed at – it’s all about the people.

If you’re in Hebden Bridge why not pop in for a drink or some lunch – Liz makes great homemade pies 🙂

 

by Hannah Anstee

Welcome to our new website What’s on Hebden Bridge!

 

WHAT’S IT All ABOUT?

An events site for Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas, including Todmorden and Mytholmroyd.

WHY?

I have lived in Hebden Bridge for 35 years and like to think that I’m fully integrated within the community and know most of what’s going on. Lately, what I’ve been finding more and more, is that there’s just so much happening in our creative valley that it’s hard to keep track of it – I’ve missed gigs and events because I wasn’t aware of them and I know others have too.

I’ve built this website whatsonhebdenbridge.com as a place to collate all of the cultural events that are happening in the area.

I wanted to be able to just click on a date and see what’s going on in the town on that day and that’s what I’ve done.

EXAMPLES OF EVENTS

Food festivals, bands, gigs, open mic, retreats, exhibitions, fairs, specialist markets, book launches etc – so anything and everything. 

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME?

Well, alongside living in the area and wanting to see what’s on, you can also list any events you may be organising on the site. If you are a venue/organiser/artist/musician we’d like to work in partnership with you to promote your listings and invite you to visit the site and list your events. It’s completely FREE to do this and also very simple and easy, and even video content can be uploaded. You can do this here.

*** I’ve already put quite a few events on, so make sure you check first that I haven’t already added yours, and if I have you can easily claim it once you’ve registered.***  You can register here.

EXTRAS

The site will be full of event listings and also feature relevant, engaging content in the form of blogs, news items and reviews. I’m a trained lifestyle journalist and have worked on titles such as The Independent, Yoga Magazine, Lovin’ Manchester, Psychologies Magazine, and Record Collector. I also have a Masters in Journalism.

Dan O’Shea, another Hebden Bridge local and trained journalist will be co-editing the site with me. Dan has worked for the Manchester Evening News and will be specialising in children’s, family and community events.

If you would like Dan or I to attend your event or have any ideas for potential features/blog posts then please do drop us a line. You can reach us on events@whatsonhebdenbridge.com.

If you’d like to know more, have any questions or would like any help using the site or uploading listings then please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. It would also be great if you had any feedback at all about the site in general, we’ve been building it for the last few months and it’s an ongoing process.

 

 

Many thanks for taking the time out to read this, we hope to inform, entertain and inspire you – so let us know if we are achieving this and any other ways in which you think we can.

by Hannah Anstee

This weekend Inkfolk celebrates its 5th birthday and closes the doors on their last four-day party. I chat to Chris Price, Charlotte Mellor-Meecham and James Holroyd about the good times.

When I first heard about Inkfolk in 2012 I was dubious. I couldn’t understand how a one room basement in a disused, old cotton mill could hope to offer art, cinema, music and dancing all under one roof. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Now in its fifth year, the festival is a massive success, both creatively and commercially and has become a Hebden Bridge institution.

Inkfolk is a four-day festival (five times a year), held in a basement called Machpelah in Hebden Bridge. Inside you will find exhibitions ranging from photography, fine art, illustration, projections and installations.

Musically every evening is different, spanning all genres, including folk, techno, dub, drum and bass, disco and house. Charlotte and Chris utilise the diverse local scene of up-and-coming live acts, bands, DJs, established outfits and music obsessives to create Inkfolk’s unique house-party vibe.

Chris Price and Charlotte Mellor-Meecham (below) are the couple behind this legendary event.

 

 

Charlotte describes how it all started:

“We pooled together our resources and experience, using our skills as an artist and DJ to create a space that could house all forms of art exhibitions, showcase independent films, play all types of music, supply a bar and host proper parties.”

 

Chris agrees:

“Yeah there was nothing going on in the town at the time. I was already doing WTF which was just a monthly party in an old pub. There was something else needed to give the young people and everyone else a place to go. So it was kind of set up for that, and also just for us just to do something interesting.”

 

The Saturday night is often the ‘golden ticket’ and always sells out. Chris explains why:

“The Saturday is predominantly house, disco and techno. There’s no pretentiousness, just good music, good sound and great people. The people are really important; musicians and party-goers alike.

 

We’ve built a team of mega residents with Andi Hanley, who was the Body and Soul resident. Foss, who’s been doing stuff since he was 16 like me. James Holroyd, who’s obviously an amazing DJ and has been the Back to Basics resident for 20 years. Of course we had Joe Lucas for ages too until he went fishing.”

 

“It’s a community dance vibe. Everyone’s welcome, it’s all people and it’s all ages. People from 18-60 and older. We’ve sold tickets all over the UK, people come from everywhere. I don’t know how they know about it, it must be word of mouth – we look after people and it’s a great party.”

 

Over the years Inkfolk has sold tickets in 42 towns and cities in the UK, people come from everywhere. James Holroyd (Inkfolk resident) knows why:

“Hebden is just a unique place. I don’t know what it is, there’s something in the water that attracts really good people – really open minded people. Lots of people have moved there, I always see loads from Manchester and Leeds, people gravitate towards it. Also it’s a very close community but it’s also really loose and open.”

 

“The mill’s brilliant and the promotion’s great. Charlotte dresses the place up really good, it all looks good and feels good and it’s just dead laid back.

 

“I always come away saying ‘that was the best one’. It’s always really difficult to get out of there. It’s really difficult to leave. It’s nice to play, because you get really open ears, people are responsive to anything. I’m always finding records and I suddenly think ‘that’s an Inkfolk record’.”

 

The festival has also showcased some brilliant films over the years using a pop-up style cinema. Stand out ones include ‘High On Hope’ the film about the origins of the rave scene in the eighties. ‘Stop Making Sense’, the Talking Heads film where the whole room got up and danced and more recently the award winning film by Ben Davies, ‘Northern Disco Lights’.

Back in the early days they tried doing a kids cinema event but it didn’t last too long. Chris elaborates:

“It was because all of the mums. They left their kids with us and we had about 40 kids to look after between me and Charlotte and always after a massive Friday night – it was hardcore. We put Japanese manga on for them like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle – they loved it. Yeah it was good but we let that go after three.”

The most talked about night is Manuel Gottsching playing his album E2E4 live at the cinema in October 2016. He’d never played in the UK before and many people were puzzled that this guy was coming over to Hebden Bridge to play this massive gig.

Chris explains how it came about:

“I didn’t know what to do for my 40th, so I did that on a whim. I saw him billed at Dekmantel and thought ‘ok maybe we can do that’. It had never been done – it’s a seminal album that spawned a generation to make dance music and I knew it would be amazing – 82 emails later we had it. It was the first time ever in the UK so a premier for England. We sold 492 tickets in a 500 capacity so we nearly sold out but not quite.”

 

“It was interesting to do but it was very testing in so many ways, basically because we’d never done anything on that scale before. On the night I warmed up with Moonboots and Rough Fields. Manuel Gottsching played and he was incredible, the whole cinema was dancing.”

 

Charlotte’s film was played on the cinema screen during the night and it blew everyone away. She told me:

“It’s such a beautiful building and I got to show my visuals on the cinema projector that I’d been working on for months, alongside his performance. It was such a thrill. Then we all headed back to the mill and celebrated in true Inkfolk fashion.”

 

Manuel loved Hebden Bridge, Chris said:

“He said it was his favourite gig that he’d ever played other than the one in New York. That only topped it because they painted the concert hall in the chequerboard from his album.”

 

So why is Inkfolk coming to an end guys?

“Trevor, the owner has built flats above on the top floor, in fact he’s renovated the whole thing now into office space and a Steiner school. He was actually ok for us to carry on but we made the decision to finish here. It wouldn’t be fair on the new residents to have a four-day party underneath you.”

 

And finally what’s the weirdest moment from any of the nights?

Chris: “Yeah, that was a Friday night for Depthcutz, a drum and base and jungle night. It was really busy and this girl was trying to get in. It’s 150 capacity and we were bang on and the doormen couldn’t let anyone else in because it was just too packed. So she decided to go over to the canal and jump in and swim across to the other entrance. She still didn’t get in as she was 14. She was stood in a pool of water at the top of the steps pleading to come in. Madness.”

 

Charlotte: “Yeah we’ve had some pretty wild times over the years and some hilarious moments too. The most random object I’ve found at the end of a night was a giant tub of fish food; it turned out the owner didn’t even have a fish. You try working that one out when you’ve had no sleep for four days.”

 

So what’s next then?

“Love International festival in Croatia, we’re doing that again, that’s a great festival to play at. We”ll collaborate with Joe Black and put Mr Scruff on again, we can’t do it this year because he’s totally booked out. There’ll be a few little bits, some one day events and we’ll just keep our toes in.”

Any final comments?

Charlotte: “We couldn’t have done it without the continued support of our families and friends and the community of Hebden Bridge. I just want to say a really big thank you to all the artists and contributors that I had the pleasure of working with and curating. There was a whole host of talent coming through those doors and I’m just glad I got to be part of it.”

 

Chris: “Yeah a massive thanks to everyone involved and also the staff of course. It’s been interesting and it’s been amazing.”

 

No Chris and Charlotte – THANKYOU! 

 

The final ever four day Inkfolk starts TONIGHT folks… it’s sure to be the best one yet… see here for details.

 

by Hannah Anstee

Roll up roll up!

Nothing really gets me going more than vintage fashion. So it’s with great excitement that my first ever post for this new site is about Yorkshire Vintage Fairs coming to Hebden Bridge this weekend. Victoria Benn and Claire Walton are the team behind this fantastic event. They chose Hebden Bridge to hold their first ever vintage fair – an excellent choice!

 What to expect?

Inspiring vintage fashion, interiors and vinyl from a range of suppliers including our very own Elwood and Hotcakes. Retro Spectacles will also be attending, specialising in vintage glasses and vintage sunglasses from the 1950s 1960s 1970s and 1980s. They also offer a prescription lenses service.

There will be eighteen vintage stalls alongside a fabulous vintage inspired cocktail bar (looking forward to seeing what’s on offer here!). The Town Hall cafe is open as usual serving delicious homemade cakes.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you…

The Fabulous Miss G will be entertaining you. Singing dancehall classics from the 40’s to modern classics such as Amy Winehouse, her beautiful voice will inspire and delight you throughout both days.

Who are Yorkshire Vintage Fairs?

Claire has been involved in the world of second hand markets and antiques since she was a child. Her dad has been an antiques and salvage dealer for as long as she can remember. Most of her childhood memories involve time spent with her family at antiques fairs and garden shows, up and down the country. After a few years teaching English abroad and trying other careers, she found herself back in the UK stepping back into the world she know best; hunting out salvage and selling it on at fairs and in shops.

Victoria has loved vintage for ever. Her Granny (now 96) introduced her to the wonderful and fascinating world of second hand ‘treasure’ when she was a child. The 80s saw her and friends rummaging in second hand shops for that alternative eclectic look. The 90s saw her furnishing her first home through sale rooms and jumble sales. She’s spent the last ten years or so honing and indulging herself with the items and eras she likes best. A visit to her home confirms it’s unequivocally, Mid Century.

Victoria and Claire are looking forward to meeting you all for what is sure to be a great weekend of vintage, vinyl and very good cocktails!

The event is at Hebden Bridge Town Hall, Saturday and Sunday 10-4.30pm. See you there 🙂

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