Music and comedy will be at the forefront of this year’s Long Division festival in Wakefield, with more than 150 events taking place over five days.
Following its biggest event ever in 2018, the festival will present installations and gigs across the city, topped with a huge multi-venue music event on Saturday, June 1.
And like last year, Long Division is hoping to make as many events as possible free as part of its mission to make the arts accessible in the city – offering among other things, free event space for local community groups throughout the festival and much more.
Headliners this year include recently reformed cult heroes Art Brut, former Coral man and critically acclaimed songwriter Bill Ryder-Jones, Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert, who will be bringing their beautiful duo project with them, fellow Glasgow icons We Were Promised Jetpacks and bis and Californian indie darling Avi Buffalo, Camberwell hip-hop duo Too Many T’s, the blissful and brilliant Alessi’s Ark and beloved Leeds DIY icons Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip are among the other names that have been announced.
And as ever, Long Division will be showcasing the very best local artists at the festival with Wakefield/West Yorkshire’s own Cowtown, Mansion of Snakes, Cruel World, Living Body, The Golden Age of TV, Brooders and many more all performing across the city.
Also announced is a very special edition of Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (known by its fans as RHLSTP) – taking place in Wakefield’s historic Theatre Royal, where the comedian will be bringing this massively popular podcast and live event to Wakefield on June 2 for a performance and recording with a special guest as yet to be announced.
This news follows the reintroduction of the popular comedy stage, with a number of exciting comedians on the bill, including Jaydee Adams, Seymour Mace, Vicki Stone and Njambi McGrath.
This year the festival team has collaborated with local teachers to devise #YoungTeam – a silver award (GCSE qualification) course for young people with a Wakefield postcode which will teach them how to how to plan and deliver sustainable DIY events themselves in their community. Applications for this are open now for those interested in events: music, dance, film, theatre, spoken word and everything in between.
Festival founder and director Dean Freeman said: “2018 was an amazing year for us; our largest ever audiences, the most artists we’ve ever booked and the most stages we’ve ever used. But for me the biggest success was the sense of community. For the first time since our early years it felt like we were taking over the city, collectively as a group of artists and creatives.
“BBC Introducing on the precinct, shows in these usually unseen places like the Cathedral and a wonderful sense of community.
“This year we feel more committed than ever to our original DIY roots and are excited to be mixing some brilliant artists from across the UK with projects like #YoungTeam which will help the next generation and offering the curation of stages out to other creative groups.
“In the context of bigger festivals in bigger and more affluent places, and among Wakefield’s towering cultural institutions we are small but we aim to continue to punch above our weight, offering unique experiences and a great time in a great city.”
Long Division will be collaborating with Wakefield College, Girl Gang Leeds, BBC Introducing West Yorkshire, Wakefield Art Walk, Bodys, The Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield BID, Backstage Academy, Last Night From Glasgow and Wakefield City Council for this years event.