Kelham Island Gets Set To Welcome Arctic Monkeys Fans
17th September 2018
Local businesses across Kelham Island are gearing up to welcome fans of the Arctic Monkeys this week, as the band return to play four nights in their home city.
Home to some of the city's most popular pubs, alongside a growing number of independent shops and music venues, Kelham Island is to play host to a relaxed, informal fan village celebrating the world-famous Sheffield band, designed to attract gig goers before and after the sell-out shows at the FlyDSA Arena. A pop-up photography exhibition of the band opens at Kelham Island Arts Collective on Ball Street today and will run until Sunday, 23 September 2018. The photographer, Zackery Michael, has curated an exhibition that will run in London and Sheffield during the Arctic Monkeys UK tour. The exhibition will showcase previously unseen photographs of the band captured during the making of, and touring, of their current album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Sheffield fans are being encouraged to head to Kelham Island and check out the exhibit and then enjoy a few drinks and a bite to eat before and after the shows. The inspiration for the Arctic Monkeys fan village comes from Geoff Barradale, the band's manager for over ten years, and Alexis Krachai, who runs local PR company Counter Context. Alexis, who also chairs a group at the Chamber of Commerce that explores ways to attract more visitors to Sheffield, said: "Over 50,000 people are going to enjoy the Arctic Monkeys this week. Going to an amazing gig is one thing, but Sheffield can also show local and visiting fans that a night out around Kelham is equally as memorable. "The aim is to get the people heading to the arena to also spend some time in the city centre both before and after gigs. This way, everyone wins. The arena becomes even more popular with touring bands and the city's local businesses see increased footfall. Four shows of this magnitude provide the perfect platform to showcase the city and that a concert in Sheffield is as good as any major city in the UK." The idea of creating a special experience for Sheffield's proud Arctic Monkeys fans started months ago, explained Alexis: "Geoff had the spark of inspiration for a fan village when we were enjoying a beer down at Kelham earlier this year. The aim was quite straightforward; support local businesses and charities, and give fans a cracking night out that doesn't need to start or end at the arena. "We wanted to create something that highlights exactly what Sheffield is all about. It's about the buzz, the community and having a good time. It's about people having a chat and deciding to work together. It's about having a spark of an idea and deciding to run with it. "By sharing our contacts and getting several key influencers in the city on board, it all came together beautifully and Sheffield is now ready to give a warm welcome to Monkeys fans from across the UK and abroad." Venues, bars and pubs down at Kelham Island have also got involved and are keen to provide fans with plenty of variety for all ages. The Sheffield Brewery Company on Burton Road will be hosting a Tranquility Basement night, providing a pre- and post-gig celebration on Friday, 21 and Saturday, 22 September. The event is being hosted in Albyn Works an old polish factory in Neepsend with enormous Victorian cellars. Built originally in 1875, this historic site was left to ruin but was rescued and has been carefully restored by a family business since 1981. Pete Rawlinson, Co-Founder of the Sheffield Brewery Company, said: "Everyone at the company loves music and the Albyn Works has been home to loads of Sheffield's start-up bands. Ollie from Bring Me the Horizon started here, so did Vitamin Z, and more recently, Cellar Door Moon Crow. When we heard about the plans for a fan village down at Kelham, we jumped at the chance to put on a special couple of nights and we can't wait to throw open the doors and host a Tranquility Basement Night." Duncan Shaw, Manager of The Fat Cat one of Sheffield's most acclaimed pubs, also has something special in the offering: "We have created a limited edition 4.2% blonde craft ale called 'Tranquility' to celebrate the Arctic Monkeys return to Sheffield, which will run alongside the photography exhibition and offer gig goers something new to sample during the week. "Available from Monday in the Kelham Island and Neepsend areas, £20 from every keg sold will also go towards the Cathedral Archer Project homeless charity." Tracy Viner from the Cathedral Archer Project has thanked That Fat Cat for their genorsity. She said: -We work with homeless people from sleeping bag to employment, supporting them to overcome their issues and have fulfilling and enjoyable lives. We can only do this with the generous support and kindness of local businesses that help to raise our profile to new audiences as well as much needed income. Fans wanting to get to the arena with as little hassle as possible will be pleased to hear that local taxi firm, CITY Taxis, are offering fixed taxi fares. Paul Gosney from CITY Taxis said: "Everyone at CITY Taxis is absolutely buzzing for the homecoming of the Arctic Monkeys. Sheffield is really developing and Kelham in particular is becoming a fantastic new hub with great restaurants, bars and pop-up events attracting visitors every night of the week. "To support the fan village and our favourite band, we are providing fixed fares of £7.30 on all pre-booked CITY Taxis from the Exhibition on Ball Street to the arena on all four concert dates. This of course allows fans to leave the car at home and enjoy a couple of drinks as well." The work to create a fan village at Kelham is just the latest idea that is seeing the area become one of the most thriving, fashionable communities in the North of England. In the late nineties and early noughties, there were only a handful of places you could enjoy a genuinely good pint with your pub dinner. The Kelham Island Tavern and The Fat Cat usually came top of that list, the latter of which started the Kelham Island Brewery in 1990. Fast forward to today and Sheffield is widely known as 'the real ale capital of the world', with Kelham bang at the heart of the renaissance of independent brewing. The rise in small local breweries within the area, including Neepsend Brew Company, Stancill, Sheffield Brewery Company, Blue Bee and Steel City Brewing, has brought life and industry back to formerly disused units. Ben McGarry, Chairperson of Kelham Island Community Alliance, said: "The vision for the neighbourhood revolves around an independent spirit; this would fall apart if the only businesses who could afford to operate here were large corporations. We have to use opportunities like the Arctic Monkeys homecoming to support our local businesses so they can continue to grow and thrive." Tim Bottrill, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Property Forum, also commented: "This event represents Kelham to a tee. It's all about local and independent businesses working closely with local residents to create a real sense of community and a genuine buzz. Fans will be coming from far and wide to enjoy four amazing nights at the arena, but to also enjoy the best that Sheffield has to offer. The unique combination of independence, vibrancy and heritage means that there is no better place than Kelham to celebrate the return of the Arctic Monkeys." Vine Hotels, owners of a number of hotels across the city, has already seen a positive impact from the forthcoming shows. Paul Brown, Divisional Director, Vine Hotels and Mosborough Hall Hotel said: -Hosting major events in the city is a key aim for Sheffield. With the Arctic Monkeys returning to their hometown of Sheffield for concerts next week, we are already seeing the positive commercial benefits of attracting such popular events to the area. Bookings are strong, with many guests deciding to make a longer stay of the event, not just one night. The extra time spent enjoying the city not only benefits Hotel providers such as Mosborough Hall, but has the additional benefit of increased business for local restaurants, shops, taxis, small businesses and independent companies too. High-calibre events will play an increasingly pivotal role in developing Sheffield as a leading UK destination, and we are delighted to play our part in ensuring visitors have the best possible experience. The younger generations, who were not even born when the band first arrived on the scene, are also keen not to be left out. Alexis Krachai's 9-year old daughter has also got involved in the act. After hearing what her dad was working on, she created a menu inspired by some of the band's well-known songs. Top eats, that will hopefully be served down at Kelham, will include 'Four Out of Fries', 'Do I Wanna Nacho?', 'One Pork Perspective' and 'Why'd You Only Ever Call Me When Your Pie'. The menu finishes off with 'No.1 Parkin Anthem', a take on the hit song from the band's 2013 album, AM. Ayla Krachai said: "I heard my dad on the phone talking to Geoff and wanted to get involved. I love music and I love cooking so I created this menu. My mum showed me the song titles. I hope that one of the local venues might turn my ideas into food that the Arctic Monkeys fans can enjoy next week." The long-term aspiration for many involved in the week-long experiment is to show that Sheffield can host large volumes of music fans and give them an unrivalled experience that lasts long in the memory. With more and more people looking to enjoy authentic and independent experiences in the city, particularly around the area around Kelham Island, Sheffield has all the potential to become a must visit destination in the UK.