About time right?! December will be our 14th gig at Wharf Chambers and we’re only just having a chat here with them.
When did Wharf Chambers begin and what was the building before?
We have been going for four years now. Before it was Wharf Chambers the building was a radical social justify called ‘the Common Place’ and before that a hosiery factory.
What similar places inspired you to start Wharf and how far do you think you’ve achieved what you set out to do?
There were some really good things about the Common Place and it was clear that Leeds has a need for a lefty/radical social space but that project was volunteer run and wasn’t sustainable as a business. We have kept a lot of the morals and ethics that we liked about that place but also created a not for profit, workers co-op business and hopefully will be able to stay up and running for a long time.
So is anyone in charge then? If not who decides what happens?
Nobody is in charge/ we are all in charge/ you are in charge. All of our decisions are made collectively. The daily running of the place in our weekly bar meetings. The bigger more long reaching decisions in our quarterly development meetings. And the decisions are fed by information we receive from our members club via the members meetings and through online surveys and e-mail feedback you give us, some serious decisions like price changes or memberships being revoked are often sent to members meeting to be approved by you. http://www.wharfchambers.org/the-club/
Why do people need to be a member and where does the £1 joining cost go?
There are several reasons that people need to be a member or a guest of a member to come to wharf chambers; It is a legal requirement of our members club licence, we believe that collective ownership and collective responsibility of a space will make it a more interesting, more engaging, safer, more welcoming and more accessible. The £1 all goes towards improving the place. Which we are happy to receive suggestions about. We have improved our seating area, heating, decor and hope to improve the kitchen and cooking facilities soon
There’s quite a range of music and events on at Wharf but do you have any guidelines as to what you want or don’t want on at?
We love that we have a range of events on here. Part of us being a members club is that the space is used by our members. We very rarely programme any of the events. They are all organised by our members. We try to steer people into putting busy events on at the weekend and maybe quieter ones during the week. But apart from that we are willing to let people try anything at least once (as long as it isn’t something that doesn’t fit with our safer spaces policy http://www.wharfchambers.org/the-club/safer-spaces/
More recently you’ve had the Vegan Fried Chicken and the Vegan Cafe, is serving food something that’s going to continue?
Yes, we would really like to keep doing/do more good, affordable vegan food for people.
What bands that we’ve missed should we be getting at Youth Anthems?
Haiku Salut, Bloom, Pardon us, Big Joanie, Joey Fourr
You recently put out some great guidelines on increasing diversity and inclusivity at Wharf. What would be the top things we could do at Youth Anthems to build on this?
Youth anthems is already a part of this. It’s important to us that young people and families are welcome here and have someone to come hang out and listen to live music
Top three desserts that you’ve seen served at Wharf?
That Old Chestnut Tiffin, Sesame Snaps, great coffee
How can people get more involved with Wharf?
Be a member, attend our members meetings (you get e-mails with the dates in) put on events here. Just come down and hang out.
We’re having a raffle at the Cowtown gig, what prizes should we be getting in?!
A new kitchen for us to win?
Any parting words?