Youth & Culture: Feeling unwelcome?

By October 14, 2014

Music. Leeds.

[Marsden at night]


Friday just gone, I attended the Marsden Jazz Festival. Art folder in hand, a rucksack on my back and layers upon layers of warm clothes. Evidently I stuck out like a sore thumb and I knew it. Marsden, the quaint little village outside of Huddersfield on the way towards Manchester, is filled with sounds of running water from the nearby river.

It soon came to my attention that as I walked through the village, people of my age were few and far between. As I mentioned, Marsden is a village, therefore street lighting was poor, so much so that even the ridiculously bright torchlight from my iPhone scarcely makes a difference. It didn’t feel very welcoming at all, certainly not for a festival by any means.

The Jazz festival takes over the village itself, not too far from the idea of Live At Leeds where independent venues do their part within the festival to host the various different acts.

The atmosphere in the first venue I went to, a homely pub at the top of a hill, rose in tension as soon as I stepped through the doors. Glares from the audience began to burn my back. Not only glares, but sighs and tuts. Hostility was at a high – we definitely weren’t welcome. But why? Why was I made to feel unwelcome? Surely the youth of today are the future’s ‘stars’? This blog post is seemingly negative throughout, but it represents how the ‘youth’ among us are viewed by a small majority of music fans. This must change. Yes, we may not have the extensive knowledge, the life experience, but we have as much right to watch live music as the next man (may I just add, it took 20 minutes to walk to this venue & it was up a massive hill!)

The second and final place I went to was beautiful: the venue was small but well structured and the music, extremely powerful and thrilling in ways I didn’t know Jazz could explore. However, yet again, age seemed to matter and I was turned away! What worried me was not that I had been turned away, but what provoked the people who did so. I hadn’t ordered a drink, I was there through the University and more importantly, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I understand I should have carried my ID that would have informed people I was nearly 20, but to be asked to leave at 8:45pm in a family pub when it was clear I wasn’t underage was demoralising (note to self: always bring ID).

But what can we do about it? I’m unsure, but hopefully my words will be heard and acted upon. My memories of the Marsden Jazz Festival will be negative, I sure hope next year I don’t experience the same hostility and prejudice as I did Friday night.

The music was excellent – it’s just a shame some audience members weren’t as free spirited.

Catriona Chadderton

OCTOBER 2014 from Cat’s Monthly Column with TSOTA



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