Following on from the success of 2019’s Future Yard festival, NEAR FUTURE Pop-Up Music Venue to open in Birkenhead this Spring.

The first show announced for the new space on Argyle Street sees ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK return for their first Wirral show since 1979.

Presented by the team behind Future Yard Festival, NEAR FUTURE will be Birkenhead’s only dedicated live music venue.  Initially opening as a pop-up with a series of live events between April and June 2020, it will feature some of the most exciting emerging new artists from across the UK – and very special returning local icons.

Future Yard’s Craig Pennington said, “with Future Yard Festival we proved that there is an audience for new music in Birkenhead. The response from the public, from artists, from the media was just fantastic. We want to create a place where we can present the best new artists all year round, not for just one weekend a year.” 

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The first Wirral show from ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK since 1979 marks the announcement of the new venue. “This Pop-Up Venue from Future Yard offers an opportunity for the creative kids on Wirral to test their dreams out in reality, like OMD did 41 years ago,” said OMD’s Andy McCluskey.

The electronic pioneers – who are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary with a sold-out international tour, during which they’ve been labelled “Wirral’s Kraftwerk” by The Guardian – will take the opportunity to revisit the material they performed at their last show on the peninsula; at West Kirby Youth Club in August 1979.

The 9th May performance will feature a selection of tracks from the band’s debut album, songs that McCluskey and co-founder Paul Humphreys showcased on that night in 1979. The show will also be a two-man performance, mirroring the original show.

Andy McCluskey: “We would like to celebrate as much as we can about the fact that the last time we played on Wirral, we were still a two-piece and we hadn’t even made our first album. We’d just been made an offer, we were about to go on tour with Gary Numan. Our world was about to change, but this was the closing of chapter one. So it will be nice now to reflect upon that moment again… ‘who would have known, 41 years later?’”

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This performance by OMD, focusing on the moment which shaped their future career, shines a focus on the integral role of local music venues, as a space for artists to shape and hone their craft.

Alongside the live events programme, the NEAR FUTURE community music venue will offer an opportunity for local people to develop live audio and production skills, through SOUND CHECK; a new industry training programme developed with leading national companies. 

Following this initial pop-up, the ambition is to cement the venue as a permanent fixture in Birkenhead. 

Future Yard – a not-for-profit CIC – was set up to utilise music to bring about meaningful social change in Birkenhead.

Future Yard’s Craig Pennington says, “Wirral – and Birkenhead – is a place with music in its DNA, but it’s been so long since we’ve had a dedicated live music venue in our town. We believe that music venues are the maternity wards of creative culture. They are always the trailblazers, the first cultural flagpole when it comes to thinking about a place differently.”

“With the venue, we want to create a place where amazing shows happen, where international touring acts share the stage with emerging local talent. But we also want to create a place where local people can learn the skills to develop new careers in live music; sound engineering, lighting design, event promotion. In the long run, we want to create a place where we develop and support new emerging artists.”

“We believe – and there are examples around the world that support this – that through utilising the power of music, we can change our town for the better, inspiring local people, creating life-changing opportunities and shaping a new music future.”

“Initially we’re starting with a Pop-Up Venue and a fantastic run of shows this Spring. If it all goes well, we’ll be doing everything in our power to make it permanent. This is the Near Future. This is just the start.”   

The full programme of events will be announced over the next fortnight. Visit futureyard.org for details and sign-up to the mailing list to receive updates as shows are announced.

Details of the SOUND CHECK training programme will also be announced through futureyard.org in the coming weeks.  

NEAR FUTURE is supported by Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.  

Future Yard Festival took place in August 2019 and was the Future Yard team’s first project in Birkenhead. The festival was hugely well received by the public, artists and media. 

FY 2019 festival wrap-up video

The Quietus
“As waves of distortion and emotive lyricism ripple over the entranced crowd I enter into myself, experiencing introspection, community and a belief in the romanticism of Birkenhead.”

Clash
“Merseyside’s musical community might have just stumbled upon its hallowed ground.”