Nicky Crewe - Ticket Rewind

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 8 / 11 / 2019

Nicky Crewe - Ticket Rewind

In our 'Ticket Rewind' series, in which our writers reflect on their old gig tickets and their stories, Nicky Crewe wonders when is a ticket not a ticket now we have the ticketless gig and shares memories of a significant paper ticket found as a bookmark.


I started going to concerts and gigs at a very early age. Back in the early sixties package tours were an affordable and acceptable way to see your favourite bands. Parents were happy to say yes to a night out with friends at what was effectively a theatre or cinema, rather than a beatnik cellar club. So at the age of ten, in 1964, I went to see the Kinks at Eccles Broadway and I have never looked back. Except of course I am looking back now because this column is called 'Ticket Rewind'. Sadly those package tour tickets aren’t hiding in a box in the attic. My early teenage years were too chaotic, as my time was divided between boarding school, the Far East and return trips to Manchester to stay with friends. I found a few tickets in a box of treasures, but I put them in a safe place a couple of years ago when I moved house and have struggled to find them since. I’m sure it happens to us all. As I spent more time in Manchester and Leeds in my late teens and twenties, I was often in the fortunate position of being either on the guest list or working at the venue. I was in a band, I had friends who were in bands or who were roadies, I worked for Alan Wise and for Factory on the door. There was never any need for tickets. I even worked at festivals in the early seventies as a member of a wholefood co-operative who took brown rice and veg to the cold and muddy crowds. So there is a real shortage of tickets as evidence in my life, but a wealth of memories. Nowadays of course the physical ticket is a rare artefact. We book online, use our phones to check in, and if we have a paper copy it is an anonymous print out. I’ve been thinking about this piece and what to write about for a while, hoping something would jump out and inspire me. True to form, it did, just last week. There’s a bit of a story to this too. I have recently become involved in promoting a series of events in Sheffield called Talking Gigs 2. The format is an interview and a concert with artists who have a personal, musical and cultural story to tell. My fellow promoter and I were interviewed on local radio last week by Alan Deadman, himself no stranger to world music promotion as founder of Sheffield’s JuJu Club, championing world music in the city for at least the last thirty years. He asked if I’d been involved in promotion before, and I started to say no, but remembered I had once booked Shirley Collins and her show 'America Over The Water' for an arts festival I was working on. Coincidentally I had taken Shirley’s book, 'America Over The Water', off the shelf to read again as research for our next Talking Gigs 2 booking, the Local Honeys. They mention being inspired by Shirley Collins and Alan Lomax’s work in their publicity, so I thought it would be a good time to do some homework. There as a bookmark was a ticket for her show, Saturday 16 August 2008, as part of Bakewell Arts Festival. Ironically this wasn’t a ticket I had needed on the night because I was the organiser. I’d seen Shirley and her great friend, the actor Pip Barnes, do a performance for Off The Shelf literature festival in Sheffield in 2005. I was familiar with her music, both with her sister Dolly and then her wonderful collaboration with Davy Graham, 'Folk Roots, New Routes'. Until I saw her read from her book 'America Over The Water', I hadn’t appreciated the significance of her work with Alan Lomax, or the emotional blows that had led her to literally lose her voice. It was a wonderful evening, I bought a copy of the book, she signed it for me, and I thought, I’d love to meet her again. The following year she was at The Green Man festival in the Brecon Beacons and so was I. The Literature tent was the place to be, with Joe Boyd interviewing Shirley, Vashti Bunyan and Donovan. Once more I was impressed by Shirley’s story and the enthusiastic reception she received. There was a lot of love in the room. So when we were planning the 2008 Bakewell Arts Festival I had the wild idea of booking Shirley Collins and Pip Barnes. This was more than a booking. I arranged their accommodation, I got to spend time with Shirley and Pip, taking them to see some of the sights of the Peak District over the weekend and the evening’s performance was as enthusiastically received as I could ever have wished for. I’ve watched Shirley Collins’ career revive and develop over the last few years. There’s so much interest in her work and legacy. She is singing again, and there is another book and a new album. There is a documentary film about her too. I have very special memories of that weekend for other reasons. It had been a difficult year for me personally and to have something I’d hoped for and dreamed about go so right, for me, and for Shirley and Pip was a turning point for me. We all kept in touch for a few years afterwards, though I have lost that connection now. I wonder if she ever thinks of her weekend in Bakewell. I hope so.

Also In Ticket Rewind

Band Links:-

Play in YouTube:-

Picture Gallery:-

Nicky Crewe - Ticket Rewind

Post A Comment

Check box to submit


A Life in Music (2021)
Nicky Crewe - A Life in Music
In the first in a new series, 'A Life in Music', in which she will be talking to a Pennyblack writer about how music has affected and influenced them, Cila Warncke chats to Nicky Crewe.
Factory Records Memories (2015)

Digital Downloads

Most Viewed Articles

Most Viewed Reviews