Wakefield, known to some as Shakey Wakey, welcomed back the long-standing festival Long Division for a whopping 10th year. The multi-venue, multi-genre festival showcases all that is local.
Long Division was created in 2011, and partnering with Ossett Brewery, the inspiration was for a festival celebrating local talent and bringing in visitors to Wakefield. Over the years the festival has had huge names such as Beans on Toast, Eagulls, Los Campesinos! Pulled Apart By Horses, We Are Scientists and the most famous band to come out of Wakefield…The Cribs.
Supported by Arts Council England, festivals like Long Division are so needed to give artists experience and exposure, shining a light on local venues and the hard work crews do to put on shows like this. Here is my round-up of the acts I saw and the brilliant venues they were held in.
First up was Hands Off Gretel in the Former Market Hall. A heavy-sounding 4 piece that really brought the energy. You could hear the band from walking around outside and to say they were a midday slot, they brought a very impressive crowd. There’s most certainly a gap in the market for a band like Hands Off Gretel, grunge/punk/rock who clearly had great uniform performance and clearly work well as a band. Also at the Former Market Hall was CUD. This was a bit later on the day, which was the beauty of this festival – that you could pop into different venues to see what vibe you were wanting. A buffet of sounds around the city. CUD were a crowd favourite, with a large number of people who came out to see them especially, and with their stage presence it’s clear as to why the lead singer had a Bill Bailey look with an Al Wilson voice and brought a The Cure vibe. My only criticism of this band was that the sound quality wasn’t great at all – the bass was too loud and it was distorting the finer details of the songs.
A venue that I was very impressed was and would be going back to next time I visit Wakefield was Vortex. Although small in size, it has a very authentic feel to it. Pleasure Centre was the band we chose to see at Vortex and I can honestly say this was one of my highlights of the day; a young band who brought such huge energy. Donning excellent racing suits, they just looked so right for their music. They gave big punk energy crashing into each other and just showed that even if you’re playing to a small crowd you can still treat it like your Wembley.
Going from Punk to…a chapel, the next act was Luximon at Westgate Chapel. To utilize the chapel for an acoustic artist was an excellent choice. The venue enhanced the qualities of Luximon’s tracks and with the snippets of spoken word really made it a unique experience.
Finally, saving the best for last was Too Many T’s at The Establishment. I have two words – Money Gun. Any act that brings props is a win in my eyes. They had the looks like Silent Jay and Bob and sounded like beastie boys. Accompanied by DJ spacebar (the laptop they used to play the tracks, which was hilarious) Too Many T’s fired fake banknotes out with their faces and mobile numbers on to get the crowd to text in for shout outs. An excellent way to involve the audience and really break down any awkwardness that comes with seeing a band you may not be familiar with. As well as bringing the comedy, they did also bring a lot of talent: incredibly fast raps and socially aware lyrics were a perfect pairing. I am a Too Many T’s fan and will 100% be front row at their next gig.
Feature photograph – Hands Off Gretel. All photography by Andrew Benge.