Okay, so it’s February and admittedly a bit odd to be recapping last year now but late last year we went and spoke to some of the prominent people in the local scene to ask them about their year and try and put together a picture of what went on. We didn’t hear back from everyone but it seems like a bit of a waste not to recap a little, at least.
Let’s start with one of my personal highlights, the opening of Three Wise Monkeys live room. It feels like it’s been open for much longer but it only opened around a year ago. Opening in February with sets from Vardo & The Boss and Superglu (who were called Club Treehouse at this point), I’m reminded by Sammy from the venue that the paint hadn’t even finished drying! When asked about highlights, she has a few: “Animal Noise introducing the unsuspecting Sunday crowd to the Lederhosen wearing ‘Bavarian Techno’ badasses La Brass Banda.” is one while “The incomparable Mick Squalor and his head shaving incident on stage with Dingus Khan.” is one that certainly sticks in my mind too. Ending the year with an amazing birthday lineup as well a show from Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly (who, for the record, praised the venue and their hospitality massively), Three Wise Monkeys had a phenominal opening year!
We also spoke to Paul Hagger of SubCulture, for whom 2015 was fairly transitional; “Although we ran parties at various venues, for us this will be remembered as the year we branched out and began working directly with artists outside of event environments, developing brands and careers alongside them.” Launching their new business, Umbrella Artists, it looks like this trend will continue into the new year too. Asked about their highlights, their big one would likely be shared by many; “Thanks to the organisers of the Colchester Free Festival we were handed the opportunity to programme a full day at this years edition, which took place at Castle Park in August. With Subculture intitially starting life as a ‘rave’ brand’ we felt we had been given the chance to prove our sound can have appeal to a broader demographic and as far as we can tell from the feedback we believe it went down fairly well!”
Marc De’ath, co-organiser of the Free Fest (as well as pretty much everything in the area where creative people work together to get things done) also lists the SubCulture Free Festival set as one of his highlights, as well as the amazing ticket sales for Tankton, the ticketed nightlife element of the festival. One of his highlights, “Our local beloved saviour Anthony Roberts showed us we could infact love Firstsite,” is hard to disagree with; the events and exhibitions seem to have been on the up since he started working with them, even if he has unfortunately now left his post. He made art accessible to all, there was genuinely something for everyone. One of Marc’s highlights, “Sam Bear and Jonny Buffalo mapping the bloody Town Hall” is perhaps the event I most regret missing last year. Hopefully that talented pair will do something equally impressive this year.