The Crescent WMC, York

Professor John Schofield, Archaeologist, Lecturer and Part-time DJ

The way I think about heritage has changed. Some thirty years ago I completed a PhD in Archaeology, started work on heritage protection for English Heritage and went to occasional gigs to relax. I think Girlschool at the Ipswich Gaumont was my first, with some very early Pogues gigs following soon after. But these two things were separate – work and play.

Now, I have come to share an increasingly pervasive view that heritage has a much broader definition – incorporating: the past all around us in its many tangible and intangible forms; the influence it has had on places we inhabit and use today; and how it shapes the future. Music is a significant part of that heritage. Being an archaeologist has ensured I see society and its diverse manifestations in the round. Thus, for me music (like the heritage of which it is a part) is opera and ballet (the high arts, as traditionally described) but also gigs in smaller venues, such as here at the Crescent in York – a former Working Men’s Club. 
Architecturally this may be interesting and everyday rather than glamorous and iconic, yet as a venue it is fabulous – great sound, a vibrant atmosphere, and a good space in which to enjoy live music. York is fortunate in having a few such venues, and the fact it also has a great music scene can be no coincidence. 
Heritage is an ecosystem – everything is linked together to create a living and socially meaningful whole. York is a heritage city. But we shouldn’t forget that heritage is not just about the past, or about great buildings. It is also about the everyday, the present and the future; and it is both tangible and intangible – places and activities; objects and traditions. All these things come together here at the Crescent, especially on gig nights!