More to music scene than the festivals

The String Villains play frequently at the Crown of Lights monthly band nights at the Comrades Club, Heckmondwike.
The String Villains play frequently at the Crown of Lights monthly band nights at the Comrades Club, Heckmondwike.

If you caught this summer’s Cleckheaton Folk Festival, HeckyFest or DrigFest you may think you have the local music scene summed up.

But behind the highly promoted day or weekend festivals lies a vibrant scene driven by home grown, talented, amateur and semi-professional musicians in pubs and clubs throughout the district. On a weekly basis there is a wide array of free open mic events playing anything from blues through to rock, pop and indie.

Heckmondwike Grammar school sixth-formers and Heckyfest openers the String Villains frequent the monthly band nights at Heckmondwike Comrades Club, which are under the Crown of Lights umbrella of events hosted by Donal O’Driscoll.

Musician John Hetherington runs the daytime Acoustic Sundaze free concert events, which provide a stage for solo artists and young bands from the area wanting the experience of performing a 30 minute set.

In the summer months these can be seen on Platform 3, the outside stage at the West Riding, Dewsbury, and all year round at the Swan, Liversedge. John has just added local music scene champions the Taproom in Batley to his list of venues, which will run the event on the first Sunday of each month.

The Acoustic Circus group, led by musician and guitar teacher Pete Long, run popular open mic events on an almost weekly basis at venues such as the Black Bull in Birstall, the Old Pack Horse in Cleckheaton and the Alma Inn, Thornhill.

They will be opening the month long Batley Bierkeller at the Taproom, Batley, on November 30 with an all-day event starting at 1pm. Find the Acoustic Circus, Acoustic Sundaze, Crown of Lights on Facebook.