Two Wakefield city centre buildings that were closed down will be main venues for Long Division Festival 2021

Two city centre buildings that had closed down and could have gone to ruin will be back to their best to host this year’s Long Division Festival.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 2:36 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 10:37 am

The former Market Hall building on Union Street and Warehouse 23, which shut down earlier this year, will be the main venues for the festival alongside pubs and bars throughout the city.

Warehouse 23 – which had hosted the likes of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, John Lydon’s Public Image Limited, and Joy Division, and New Order founder Peter Hook – closed down in April leaving a huge gap in

It has now been reopened as Venue 23.

Long Division Festival director Dean Freeman and venue owner Karl Johnson at Venue 23 on Smyth St.

Meanwhile ‘Wakefield’s Old Market Hall’, the festivals’ largest ever venue, will be used this year for the first time.

It will be only the second time that the huge space has been used for live music following Wakefield Council’s Festival of the Moon in 2019, which hosted Public Service Broadcasting.

The £3m hall opened as a market in 2008 and the last trader left in 2018.

It seemed unclear what to do with the huge empty shell until work went ahead to turn into an arts and events space.

Festival director Dean Freeman said: “It’s such a strange mix of emotions to ‘be back’ with another lineup announcement. It honestly felt like the early days again, where it was exciting just to design a poster and see those names laid out, ready to share with the world.

“We want to give people the best Long Division we can.

“Not the biggest ever, but one that celebrates not just our ten years, and not just the return of live music but also the power of community.

“People being together – even if it’s with 1 metre gaps and masks and sanitising their hands every 30 minutes.

“Even if half the audience is watching via a stream. It’s going to be great.”

Alongside the venues new artists have been announced including Glasgow indie act Glasvegas and critically acclaimed Welsh producer and multi-instrumentalist Catherine Anne Davies and her project The Anchoress.

Leeds-based art-rock trio Mush will play as well as Speedy Wunderground signed quartet The Lounge Society.

Also joining them in Wakefield this September line-up are two on-the-rise Hull artists – shoegaze five-piece BDRMM and garage-rock six-piece Low Hummer, supported by Leeds-based indie-folk duo Sunflower Thieves.

The lineup also includes Crake, Venus Grrrls,Hadda Be, Knuckle, Home Counties, Adore // Repel, Mt Doubt, Bunkerpop, Cowgirl, Mayshe Mayshe, ODAS and In The Morning Lights.

September’s festival will mark the 10th anniversary of Long Division.

Earlier this year organisers held a seated gig at Balne Lane Working Men’s Club.

Dean admits he was “anxious” before the gig but its success and the safety measures in place gave him confidence for the main festival later this year.

He added: “It’s nice to think about 2022 when it will be a normal festival but I’m just excited about this one.

“During Long Division Wakefield is great. There’s so many people having a really good time and a really positive atmosphere across the city.

“It’s the best time in Wakefield for me.”

Music: Long Division Festival director Dean Freeman and venue owner Karl Johnson at Venue 23 on Smyth St, Public Service Broadcasting at the Market Hall (picture by PSB Pictures), The Cribs at Long Division in 2014, and the Festival of the Moon artwork in 2019.

Picture: Shutterstock

Dean Freeman

Festival director