Words: Sam F’kin Cooper
Images: Courtesy of the Donny punk scene and on-line.
The Donny punk family has been dealt a heartbreaking blow in recent weeks, as we lost two of our own. Pete Morgan and Jez Saxton were an integral part of our punk community. In 1977 I was only ten years old, so I’ve had help from some friends that were there…
The finest Synth based music finally has a base right here in Doncaster.
Walking past the old Vintage Rockbar about two years ago, a poster caught my attention. It was stark, minimalist and industrial with the heading: ‘Donkaster Elektronische Freundschaft – Live electronic music in Doncaster’. Doncaster was to have a dedicated electronica based event.
Time passed, and with it came a new name: Doncaster Electronic Foundation. I sampled the events and started listening to their radio show defsynth.com every Monday at 9pm.
Now, I find myself sat here in DEF HQ about to go on air! Head honcho, DJ and mastermind Derek Williams is close by, preparing for tonight’s show.
He’s a driven man with a burning desire to bring quality electronica to Doncaster.
As the programme spins out he shows considerable skill chatting knowledgably with his listeners, gifting them obscure but brilliant music skipping across genres from darkwave to synth pop, coldwave, industrial and goth.
I was impressed and somewhat alarmed, when I was asked to contribute. My suggestions stray slightly from the wonderfully rich carpet of electronica he’d laid out for our delectation as I usher in archaic things as guitars and pianos.. Oops!
After the show he tells me how he’d wanted to bring a regular and vibrant electronica event to Doncaster for quite some time. Believing that ‘If you could just get people through the door, some of them are bound to love it aren’t they?’ Yes – they are! The success of the last two events in 2015 proves this.
Large crowds packed into the leopard, for Def’s Halloween special, to see delights such as the glamtronic Jan Doyle Band, horrifically great John Merrick’s Remains and simply superb The Webb.
Finally, back where this all began at a packed Vintage Rockbar, was a truly international affair on Nov 21. It featured Poland’s Sexy Suicide, the USA’s Night Club and Sheffield’s own Promenade Cinema.
DEF offer a platform for local artists to perform alongside acts from around the UK and beyond. The same bands he promotes also appear on his radio show.
As I left Defsynth HQ I felt that this was something new and exciting taking place in Doncaster. If your tastes are in tune with Depeche Mode, Human League, Ultravox and Gary Numan, there’ll be something there for you at DEF, so get yourself to one of their shows and listen in at DEFSYNTH.COM.
The next DEF live show is at the Leopard on the 6th Feb and features Hungarian band Black nail Cabaret, Canadian band Soft Riot and Derek’s act – Jan Doyle Band.
Doncaster town centre is set to turn into a hive of creative activity this June (19 – 21) when the Right Up Our Street team take over.
The second DNweekeND will be a cram packed with cultural events and activities with surprises around every corner.
From the Frenchgate Centre to the Waterdale Centre and Nigel Gresley Square, Market Place to the Mansion House and many places in between Doncaster town centre will be buzzing with creative activity.
Taking place from June 19 to 21 this festival of arts will take over public spaces, arts venues, shop units and shopping centres – indoors and outdoors – for one weekend only.
Andrew Loretto, creative producer for Right Up Our Street, said: “In 2014 more than 8,000 people from across the borough joined in with DNweekeND and this year we have some of Doncaster’s best local artists and groups plus national and international acts bringing their work to our town.
“This cultural explosion will light up the streets, inside and outside, for three days showcasing an eclectic mix of music, theatre, dance, installations, art, poetry, circus and spectacle.
“Empty and unused shop units will be transformed into quirky spaces and this year we are working with existing Doncaster businesses to bring something extra special to the weekend – from cosy one-person performances in a cafe to yarn-bombing market stalls and dancing in pubs!”
Historic Doncaster spaces will also be transformed into performance venues, the Mansion House will be opening its doors to performances of new writing from playwright Richard Hurford who has been working with local writers to create responses to the town centre and the Marketplace will be host to No Fit State who will be kicking off their international tour right here in Doncaster with their quirky and vibrant street circus show Open House.
The Doncaster Big Sing will bring together singers from across the borough to preview a brand new composition inspired by the history and future of Doncaster.
“In total more than fifty acts will be transforming the town with everything from intimate one-to-one performances to large scale theatrical performances, from walkabout interactive street performance, to chilled-out hammocks by the world music stage, the DNweekeND promises a weekend to remember here in our home town.
“We do hope that people from across our town will come along and take part in this fantastic free event for all the family and show just how creative Doncaster can be,” added Andrew.
To find out more visit www.rightupourstreet.org.uk