Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

Tamworth Arts Centre : History

Click here to return to Tamworth Arts Centre Contents1989 - Who the F**K do you think you are?

Tamworth Herald – 03/11/89
Musicbox – Letterbox
Tamworth Arts Centre? It’s a terrible place!

Dear Sir/Madam,
I was at a concert in Tamworth recently. I’d gone to watch a band called Sweet Revenge who had played in a venue in Coventry and I took a great interest in them.

When I arrived there at the venue I got quite a shock. I thought that Tamworth was a big place on the music map.

Andy my friend told me that the people and atmosphere in Tamworth was great.

I can only say he was bulling me.

Everybody I talked to was ace, just ace, but as for the venue – the local Tamworth Arts Centre! If that room was the only place bands can play, I pity them. No lights, wobbling stage and not a poster in sight.

If Tamworth has only one place to play, then all I want to know is, where the hell are all the big names that Tamworth is supposed to be famous for, where they are supposed to perfect their craft?

Then Andy told me that it cost £40.00 to hire the room “What?” I shouted!

A room like that in my area would be destroyed by the fans. In my opinion they should not even pay half price for it. The bands were great, very tight sets. A lot of people were there, having a good time.

I praise Tamworth and the Tamworth music scene, but please get out of the local Arts Centre, or at least get them to do it up a lot.

I am in a band called Claw. We were going to come and play here – but not in that place.

Smily Davis
The Hill

Sam Holliday replies – I decided to print this letter because it is the third such one I have received on the same subject and I felt it needed publicising because it came from outside of Tamworth. I happen to be an Arts Centre fan and feel that on a good night it has a perfect atmosphere for a lively show. I must admit however that the £40 fee seems a bit harsh for what bands actually get and the Arts Centre cannot afford to get complacent. Incidentally I have been invited to join the Tamworth Arts Advisory Council (who control the Centre) as a representative for local bands and I would be interested for YOUR comments on what you would like to see from an Arts Centre YOU largely finance.

Tamworth Herald – 17/11/89
A few moments after this page was completed a letter from Arts Centre boss Dave Fortune arrived on my desk answering the criticisms of the venue expressed in a recent letter. We hope to print it next week alongside the launch of the annual poll.

Tamworth Herald – 24/11/89
Musicbox – Letter Box
Support the Centre!

Dear Sam,
With regard to the letter sent in by Mr. Davis recently published in your column about Tamworth Arts Centre. I would like to make the following comments in reply.

Firstly I would agree that the people and atmosphere in Tamworth (Arts Centre) are great and I would like to thank all the bands who have given their support since this letter was published.

We all agree with Mr. Davis that a new stage and better lighting would make for a better gig. I have been pressing the Arts Centre Management Committee for a new stage and improved lighting over the past months. Unfortunately our financial constraints and the multi-complexity of the Arts Centre means that what we would like and what we are able to achieve are not always one and the same.

We are proud of the excellent relationships that exist between ourselves and the bands and their supporters. If Mr Davis & Co. feel they have to smash up a room that doesn’t meet their own expectations without regard for other users of the premises, then they are quite welcome to stay in Coventry.

It is our policy to make the Arts Centre available to local bands whenever possible and try only to cover costs. All door money is retained by the bands themselves.

We are aware of the shortcomings of the Arts Centre but we are trying to improve things on a very limited budget. The Arts Centre is run on a self-financing basis and there is no complacency about the situation.

The door is always open for suggestions and constructive criticism (not destructive Mr. Davis!)

One such suggestion has come from KRAZE – that they themselves play here for a weekend and the door money be put towards a new stage!

Dave Fortune,
Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald – 01/12/89
Musicbox – New stage at Centre
Tamworth Arts Centre is hoping to install a new stage this weekend for the use of local groups.

The downstairs stage will be added to by new lighting in a bid to give the popular Arts Centre venue a new professionalism.

Arts Centre chief Dave Fortune had been hoping to put in a new stage for some time after complaints that the old one was unsafe. He hopes now that the new platform will be in use for the first time when Catch 23 and The Big Noise play the Arts Centre on Sunday December 10.

Dave said he has been delighted with the level of support shown by bands since the publication of recent criticism and metal kings (and queens) Kraze are setting up two special concerts in January to raise money for the stage improvements.

More details as and when we get them but the ‘stage’ is clearly set for an even better Arts Centre.

Tamworth Herald – 01/12/89
Musicbox – The Centre is ACE!
We all know that Tamworth’s music scene is in a class of its own, and ‘Musicbox’ can take much of the credit for that. However, there is another major reason for its success which we all tend to forget. The Arts Centre.

When a band is formed, they need somewhere to play, and in most towns this is a major problem. In Tamworth, it’s simple. All you have to do is ring Dave Fortune at the Arts Centre to find out which band has booked the venue on the date you want to play, a quick phone-call, and you will probably get a support slot. When you have played a few gigs, you join forces with other bands, choose a date, and you put on your own show at the Arts Centre. It really is as simple as that, and because the hire charge for the centre is sensible, you only need to charge £1.50 on the door to make enough money to pay all the bands. The room is big enough to hold most audiences and although it is best with a full rig, the room is small enough for a vocal P.S. to cope. A good crowd is assured, and you can be sure of a constructive review in the local press.

We now take all of this for granted and never stop to think how lucky we are. Just try to book an Arts Centre out of Town and see what happens. The odds are that your application will have to be put before the committee for consideration and in the unlikely event that you are allowed to play the cost and restrictions placed upon you will be prohibitive.

Of course, the facilities at the Arts Centre must be improved, but the cost of bringing them up to an acceptable standard are minimal and we could possibly raise sufficient funds in just one night. A word of warning though, there are people waiting in the wings who will try to move in and run things when someone else has paid for the improvements. At the moment, bands are able to promote their own Sunday night gigs, and we should try to keep it that way.

Other venues in Tamworth are being used for regular gigs and providing all of the bands are being paid, and they are not held on Sundays, we should wholeheartedly support them. However, if they start to clash with Arts Centre shows, we should want no part, as they will do more harm than good.

It is the Arts Centre which is the life-blood of the Tamworth music scene and next time you doubt it, just ask yourself how much you get paid elsewhere. We need someone who understands the needs of local bands sitting on the Arts Centre Committee and we can make it an even better place. Any spare time Sam?

Alan Webster,
Manager – Catch 23,

Tamworth Herald – 22/12/89
Musicbox – EUPHORIA!
CHRISTMAS starts with a bang tonight (Friday) when Tamworth Arts Centre stages a unique mixture of anarchic theatre and a top quality Indie disco.

The play is provided by the excellent Tic Toc Theatre Company who specialise in getting young bottoms on seats and have already triumphed with other magical moments like the football nutters lament ‘hooligans’. Tonight’s offering is ‘A Christmas Carol’ the Dickens classic which has been somewhat stylised and includes a lot of live music and a lot of fun.

Once you have enjoyed that undoubtedly festive fun you can then take yourself downstairs in the Arts Centre to a special Euphoria disco. Music form the likes of Happy Mondays, De La Soul, Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses, Pixies, Wonderstuff, Birdland and The Wedding Present is assured and this promises to be the first of a series of such cult-discos.

“Euphoria will be a Friday night ‘happening’ and hopefully it will take place every two weeks with a ‘rave’ and a band,” explained one of its protagonists Lee Revelle in a recent manifesto. “The first one on December 22 should be a real highlight and the bar will be open until midnight! It will be the last chance of the decade to enjoy an event at the Arts Centre and with any luck people will leave their regulation sour faces at home and start to bev it up!”

Sounds fun and at £3 for a joint play and disco ticket (admission is by ticket only from the Arts Centre) you should not miss this if you can avoid getting ridiculously sloshed at lunchtime.

Happy Christmas.

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