#AAC15 Memories

We are asking performers, supporters and former staff members to send in their favourite memories of AAC over the last 15 years. Whether that’s in the form of a sentence, paragraph, photography, merchandise or ticket stub. These will then be posted out on social media and on our website (anonymous or not, up to you!) to celebrate 15 years of AAC.

Submitted by Angela & Simon

“Thought I would send this in as a memory of Arlington (during lockdown and enjoying your on line show of The Zoots from our porch decking in the garden)”

From current Sales & Marketing Manager Dean

My favourite memories from my 4 and a half years at Arlington Arts Centre have to be from October 2019, specifically the 10th, 11th and 12th. PP Arnold, Kris Barras (pictured) and Turin Brakes provided the level of performance that you would only expect to see in a larger venue with the intimacy of AAC making the evenings more special than they already were. Three nights, three world-class performances in front of three sell-out crowds.

From customer Jon

King King supported by Laurence Jones, now travel to see both …….. Summer Sun supporting Nordic Giants were amazing the Little Unsaid were surprising, Davina and the Vagabonds, Dan Burnett could go on for ages.

From customers Amanda & Terry

Live music is so uplifting and we feel eternally grateful that we have such a fantastic venue on our doorstep, season after season Arlington Arts hosts amazingly talented performers, enriching our lives each and every time we visit.

In 2006, the numbers in the audience were only sometimes more than the number of band members and staff, yet Arlington continued and is now thankfully well supported by lots of people who appreciate such an amazing venue with great performers.

One of our earliest memories was Karima Francis,  a singer songwriter from Blackpool. We sat cabaret style around tables in front of the stage, audience numbers meant this was primarily the way we viewed shows in the early days. Karima was absolutely amazing, reminding us of a young Joan Armatrading, but with that stereotypical lack of self-confidence, asking throughout the performance whether we were enjoying the show and seemingly surprised with the resounding YES. We all went home with a stick of Blackpool Rock with Karima Francis’ name through it and one of her CDs, which is still a favourite.

From former Director Tony

Has it been 15 Years already?! I remember my first day – there were only two of us to run the venue and the weddings at Mill Hall (Mary Hare Primary School) were organised from here too. We literally had to do everything!

Our first big show (in March 2007) was hosting Seasick Steve, just three months after he appeared on the Jools Holland Hootenanny! The place was packed but we’d had a problem with the beer delivery – it arrived late and it arrived short. I ended up driving to three supermarkets during the support act to get top up stock – and even then, we ran out by the end of the night! Back then we had quite a small but broad programme, with a string of pretty decent comedy firsts, catching Russell Howard, Michael McIntyre, Joe Wilkinson and Rhod Gilbert on the
way up.

However, it was music that became the bedrock on which we established our reputation. Over the years we welcomed many amazing heritage artists, well known bands and some pretty outstanding tributes too, but for me it’s been those rare one-off shows like no-other that have been landmarks in my part of the venue’s history. The first shows from Davina and the Vagabonds, and Rev Peyton’s Big Damn Band were legendary – as was the Midsummer Party with Vintage Trouble. Every show with Bob Log III, Patti Plinko and her Boy, and Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou were magic and I still follow them as artists (those that are still making music).

I think the music show that has stayed with me the most was the Nordic Giants – we were such an unusual venue for them, they were relatively new artists and only really playing bars and clubs at the time – nothing on the arts centre circuit like us. Their combination of musicianship and visuals was a truly transporting experience. I’ve booked to see them in Brighton in February and even contributed to their Pledge campaign for the new album.

Of course, any venue is a joy to work in, made more so by colleagues that have come and gone over the years, contributing so much to the culture of Arlington Arts, so it’s a good moment to thank Emily, Rosanna, Ellie, Grover, Eleanor, Tom, Linda and Sophie who have formed integral parts of the team over the years, as well as the many bar and voluntary staff that have kept the doors open and the beer flowing. Of course I wish the current team: Helen, Dean, Patricia, Vicky and Gareth all the very best for the next fifteen years – long may your brilliant work continue to keep us entertained and awestruck! Tony