Exciting new Leeds live music venture for Under 18’s – Assembly

We over 18’s can all remember the angst of discovering the gig you have been waiting an age for is at a venue with a lower age limit, meaning you can’t join the party. I can only imagine the greater frustration caused when you are part of a talented young band and find it hard to get venues to host you because you are too young to legally consume the rider of a crate of red stripe. Even when you do get a slot at a venue, you might find your mates and peers can’t see you play.

This was the dilemma facing a couple of talented local bands, Guiseley’s Backspace and Macroscope from Pontefract; how to get more gigs that both they and their supporters can attend. The managers of these two bands Ian Addie and Graham Hyde have taken the thorny issue on head first by forming Step 1 Promotions to bring live music to under 18’s at an affordable price and at a transport friendly time slot.

The first Assembly event will be held at Leeds Wharf Chambers on 15th September 1:30 – 5 pm featuring Backspace, Macroscope, Growth Spurt from Leeds and The Last Programme from Wakefield. Even more accessible is the price at a meagre £2 a pop. Who could possibly refuse 50p a performance?

Halfway 2 Nowhere are always keen to support and promote new talent, so we spoke to Ian and Graham to find out a bit more about the project designed to give young bands a platform to play to a peer group audience from across the region.

Graham – “We wanted to do something that brought young bands together and got them playing to kids their own age, so they can start to develop their own scene. That way, when they hit 18, and assuming they want to carry on, then they’ve already got a bit of a following and a head-start with the other local venues.”

Ian – “Being a dad myself, I see a lot of teenagers stuck at home on their PlayStations, it can be difficult to tear them away from that stuff. But many of the bands we are talking about have a following of friends and can sell a bunch of tickets. By putting on a bill that mixes it up a bit and includes bands from different parts of the region who are each responsible for selling tickets to their own fans, we think we can fill a venue without putting too much pressure on any one band; and that way each band gets to play to a wider group of young people who are interested.”

Graham – “The other thing is cost. We’re charging just £2 admission which is far more affordable for teenagers and we’re giving our time for free. When we were choosing a venue it was also important to find one that not only allowed under 18’s in but was cost effective. Wharf Chambers is ideal because it’s a Co-operative members club and doesn’t have the same licensing or financial imperatives that many venues do.”

Ian – “…and it’s a fantastic place. It has a real underground atmosphere, which helps to make it feel like you’re part of something that’s a little bit edgy and secret.”

It’s also clear the duo have thought everything through; the Sunday afternoon slot is designed to ensure gig goers can get home using public transport, or parents can drop their kids off and do a bit of city shopping or grab a bite to eat – there’s even a cafe bar in the venue itself.

Graham  – “The other thing is that we think teenagers in general deserve a bit more credit. These days it’s all too easy to wrap kids up in cotton wool and stop them doing things. But that doesn’t help anyone. They need to be given a bit of freedom to get out, meet people and do what they want. Of course, parents know their own kids best and are the best placed to judge when they are ready to take some responsibility for themselves, but if you can generally trust them, they have friends who are planning to attend and they truly want to come along then we, as parents ourselves, think it’s something to encourage.”

The inaugural Assembly gig takes place at Wharf Chambers in Leeds on Sunday 15th September

On the bill are:



Growth Spurt

The Last Programme

Doors open at 1:30pm and the gig finishes at 5:00pm

Tickets priced at £2 and aimed at under 18’s are available directly from the bands.

Chris R

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