LONG DIVISION: Brilliant music and a packed arts programme at Wakefield festival

The MembranesThe Membranes
The Membranes
Post-punk legends The Membranes are among a posse of brilliant bands descending on Wakefield for the city's Long Division festival this weekend, which is headlined by the irrepressible Billy Bragg.

They are both part of an impressive music line-up at Wakefield Cathedral that also includes Charlotte Hatherley, The Surfing Magazines and King Creosote.

This is just one of more than a dozen venues including Warehouse 23, St Austins and a BBC Introducing stage outdoors in Wakefield Bullring hosting a huge and impressive Saturday (June 2) of live music for this year’s revamped Long Division festival, which has bounced back bigger and more diverse after a year off with the help of funding from Wakefield Business Improvement District and Arts Council England in particular.

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A full arts programme means that as well as the traditional Saturday of continuous live music, arts installations, exhibitions, workshops, storytelling, poetry and a host of other related events taking place until Sunday.

Among these are Write Place Write Time, a panel on the writing andcreative process of music featuring Billy Bragg and The Guardian’s deputy music editor Laura Snapes at Wakefield Town Hall tonight (Friday June 1).

Visible Words From Invisible People involved people from Wakefield’s homeless community working with artist Richard Wheater on a project that aimed to develop their visual language through light, to communicate their stories to the wider public resulting in a series of extraordinary neon signs which will be displayed at the festival as part of ‘A Manifesto For A New Wakefield’ supported by Arts Council England.

Headliner Bragg’s music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic themes.

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The brilliant song A New England appeared on his first album Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy.

Among other bands and artists taking part are the rubber masked, quad-bass player toting noise rock enigma of Evil Blizzard, Ghanaian pop singer Wiyaala, Leeds up and comers Fizzy Blood, the politically charged and critically acclaimed Life and rising post-punk rockers ZoZo.

Two emerging bands worth having a listen to are Drahla (Warehouse 23) and Mi Mye (BBC Introducing stage).

Long Division was founded in 2011 and is dedicated to promoting independent, creative and forward-thinking artists and encouraging engaging and unique new work.

It is Wakefield’s largest festival of its kind and has hosted top bands including British Sea Power, The Cribs and The Fall. #

All timings and tickets at www.longdivisionfestival.co.uk