We do all sorts
(keep scrolling down for dedicated sections on LIVE MUSIC and BASE CAMP)
We’ve delivered a ridiculously broad range of arts and entertainment events over the years. If there’s one common thread it’s the desire to create something new or do a better version of what’s out there already.
We’ve set up a venue of our own and booked a few decent bands – more on them below. We’ve done festivals, seasons, subtle interventions and massive one-offs – helping bring venues, outdoor spaces and even whole towns to life.
We’ve been behind some of the most successful club nights in the history of the North East, ground-breaking independent cinema seasons, art shows in weird spaces and midnight world-music takeovers in town centre bars. We’ve done a Sophocles tragedy as a pre-disco warm-up (because, why not?), mouth-tingling kitchen takeovers, baby raves and pop-up museums.
We’ve been place-makers [so we’re told].
We’ve created jaw-dropping public art, drawn on a lot of walls, and had some proper fun with video projectors, super-8 and slides. We’ve done ‘an audience with’ prize-winning authors, legendary actors and social pioneers.
We’ve taken over empty shops and helped set up new ones.
We’ve also entertained massive crowds at Tall Ships and Stockton Riverside, co-ordinated the much-loved Middlesbrough Music Live festival for 11 years and booked for legendary venues including the Arena, the Cornerhouse and the Empire.
We’ve learned a lot along the way and passed many of those skills on, giving opportunities and training to literally thousands of new and established artists and creatives.
We’ve snagged a few bargains from bands on the way up [Muse £100, Oasis £125 and Coldplay a bit pricey at £150].
We’ve had Fatboy Slim kipping on our living room floor, hosted Blur the week they had their first hit then welcomed Damon Albarn back on a train with his Africa Express.
We’ve done Snow Patrol at the Dickens Inn and St Vincent in the room above the Central. We’ve also asked someone else to run our Arctic Monkeys show at Hull Silhouettes cos we couldn’t be arsed with the drive down [oops].
We’ve blown the electrics – thank you My Bloody Valentine – and done shows where somebody has played the fiddle and tap danced at the same time [good work Gordie McKeeman]. We’ve literally propped up the speakers when Frank Black did This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven at the Cornerhouse and seen our in-house DJs go on to appear on Top of the Pops [Go! Steve Hillier and his Dubtstars].
We did Middlesbrough Music Live eleven times over, with up to 13 stages and 50,000 people.
We’ve watched Desmond Dekker down a full bottle of rum, get borderline-comatose then smash it out of the park and been gutted to turn Joe Strummer down for MML because it didn’t feel like the right thing at the time.
We had the Killers booked for £500 then lost the show and decided that Robbie Williams wasn’t worth the risk at £5k as we weren’t sure his solo career would work out. We’ve had bizarre convo’s with Jools Holland [he’s exactly like you’d imagine], and and we *may have shed a tear when Booker T launched into Green Onions at ARC.
That’s just a fraction of the story though. It’s not just about the famous ones. It’s about the amazing sets from bands who never became household names, maybe never wanted to. They were among some of the greatest nights we ever put on. So many amazing shows, many of them from homegrown Teesside acts, that were all memorable in their own ways and take their own important place in the cultural history of this area.
Base Camp was a case in point, playing host to some absolutely mind-blowing sets (all manner of weirdness!) and giving testimony to the fact that our support for emerging music – local, national and international – remains undiminished.
It’s always been less about the history and more about the excitement of the next show. We’re still hard at it, working with some great acts, big and small and working to bring some new and interesting venues into play – keep an eye on the Current Shows & Projects page to see what’s in store.
Base Camp: 2018-2022
Our DIY make-it-up-as-you-go-along venue was very special indeed, and the transformation from a scruffy sprawling building in an unloved part of Middlesbrough’s town centre into one of the most vibrant and dynamic venues in the country is without a doubt our proudest achievement.
We commissioned artists to make work for almost every inch of the building, inside and out, and then put together a programme that was every bit as vibrant as the decor.
From punk gigs to Nudey Dudey life drawing classes, maker-markets to a football shirt museum, drag bingo to vegan cookery classes, warehouse dance nights to student art exhibitions, world cinema to Queer creative writing, silversmithing classes to band practice rooms, digital networking events to burlesque chair dancing to hula hoop classes, we tried every last thing we might possibly be able to get away with.
For a single venue to do this range of events under one roof was absolutely unprecedented but somehow it worked. And the thousands of people that we welcomed through our stunning Slutmouth-designed doors became a very special community.
Sadly the building was sold at the end of 2022. When we announced our closure the reaction online and in person was testament to the incredible impact that the venue had achieved within the North East cultural scene over a short period of time. Base Camp the building will live long in many hearts.
We’re now in the process of taking the BC ethos and energy out into new and established venues across the North East, so keep those peepers peeled to see what comes next… it’s about to get interesting!