Wakefield’s Weakness: It’s Biggest Strength

In response to @nichihodgson and her recent rather scathing account of Wakefield found here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/23/rhubarb-fools-force-wakefield

Now then.

Wakefield is a thriving, wonderfully rich and beautiful City. It isn’t as big or bolshie as Leeds, and it doesn’t have a fancy train station… more like two mediocre ones barely joined together really. Wakefield just has a decent sized road running through the middle of it… which has turned into a drinking walkway for Saturday night drinking enthusiasts of which a small number generally cause a scene of some note, but that in comparison to many Cities, the “vibe” here is safe and only mildly loutish on the main “strip” that is Westgate. That’s it. That’s the only bad thing about Wakefield. It’s a bit rowdy on Westgate on a weekend. Well I’ll be struck down with a stick of rhubarb if that’s enough to keep me from living in and loving this fabulous City.

You see there’s an enormous majority of people here that know something you don’t.  The weakness is the strength. Everyone who lives in Wakefield knows about the Westgate run, and can pick and choose whether to join in or not. I’ve done it myself many times many moons ago and it is a great laugh on the whole. Because we all know where the potential trouble might be (of which there is barely any of real note), we all know where not to be. Ergo we all go to the fabulous places that can be found in and around Wakefield, in a scenic route of “little walks” you can achieve a beautiful night out with enriched company of friends and strangers alike and spend time with some of the friendliest and down to earth people with open minds that there is.  The pubs and bars and restaurants in Wakefield are dotted with gems a-plenty, which are frequented by Wakefield’s biggest attraction. It’s people. If you know where to go in Wakefield (and it is EASY to find out) then you can enjoy one of the best kept secrets in the north… Here’s a rhetoric to get you thinking…

Why do people like Kal Lavelle, Antonio Lulic, Ryan Keen, Jharda, Rosie Doonan, Jon Gomm, Gary Stewart, Skint & Demoralized, Howard Marks, The Cribs etc. to name a tiny few *keep* coming back here?? It sure ain’t for the money…

It brings me on to the other side of the social scene here… namely the music scene. (And before you start, yes there’s loads more here than just a music scene!!)

This place has a goldmine running through it… of talent, great venues, and the right outlook on what performing music is all about…

In Wakefield, there is no pay to play scheme, no horrible competitive atmosphere that reeks of falseness and egos, or horrible dingy venues that keep your shoes once you’ve paid a quid on the door for your free bottle of Castaway (‘Players’ closed down ages ago!).

There is however no short supply of gigs to get, gigs to go to, open-mics to visit and play at, theatre’s to see quality show’s at, galleries (yes, there’s more than one!). We even have a Sculpture Park that is actually beautiful to walk around and is not just a gimmick, a friendly and bustling city centre through the day with great coffee venues and places to people watch, with loads of *ace* shops when you know where to look and who to ask (it’s not hard this stuff). We even have beautiful places literally *everywhere* with a short drive from the city in *any* direction and I challenge anyone who disagrees with me there! The night life is the best time to experience Wakefield though, in my humble opinion… because it is then that the fabulous folk of Wakefield descend upon its many wonderful and friendly bars and restaurants…

Ever been to Harry’s Bar on a Wednesday night? Awesome night right there. Eaten at The Cowshed on Northgate on a Friday night? Stunning food, best service there is. Been to the Open-Mic Monday at The Hop? Loads of talent that’s not forced in your face. Excellent. Ever chilled out at Fernandes Bier Keller on a Sunday afternoon? Everyone should do that once in their life. It’s cosier than ‘Cheers’. Seen Dr Feelgood at the Cathedral? No? *shakes head* Georgie Fame at the Theatre? No? This is the tip of the Iceberg really… and yes, this is my own personal account of experiences… But.. This place is just *so* rich with people and life, that I’m proud of it, and I’ve barely got started, there is *millions* to do here.

It may not have a “Harvey Nich’s” and you might have had to get your FCUK top at TK Maxx, but for one, you’d have got it cheaper there any road, and for two, you can FCUK right off if you think this “City” *wags finger* is all about the recent regenerations and making it less “Dingy”… Wakefield is a smouldering candle of decency, generosity, creativity, and above all…

Lovely people and “Yorkshire-ness”.

Now where’s me Rhubarb Crumble?

Ryan Mitchell-Smith

Wakefield, Yorkshire.

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