Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980

Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980
futuramatixThis was the second Futurama festival and it took place at Queens Hall, which was in the centre of Leeds. The Saturday line-up featured U2 (low down on the bill), Echo & The Bunnymen, Soft Cell and Siouxsie & The Banshees (who headlined). I attended the Sunday with my mate Dave and it featured The Psychedelic Furs, Gary Glitter, The Durutti Colum, Classix Nouveaux, Young Marble Giants, Hazel O’Connor, The Soft Boys, Flowers, Naked Lunch, Blurt, Artery, Notsensibles, Vice Versa, Desperate Bicycles, Frantic Elevators, Athletico Spizz 80, Brian Brain, Tribesmen, Boots for Dancing and Household Name. We arrived during the afternoon and missed some of the bands. Queens Hall was a cavernous building, which was originally a tram and bus depot. It was used as a concert venue during the 1980s. It has since been demolished and is now a car park.
When we arrived it looked like a war zone. Punk fans from all over the north, and further afield, had decamped there for the weekend, and had been in the venue all night, sleeping on the floors; there was trash everywhere. We saw faces that we recognised from Middlesbrough Rock Garden, which had closed for the weekend as everyone was going to the festival. We chatted to a few people; everyone was talking about how great Siouxsie (who had headlined the Saturday night) had been. There were stalls around the place and pop-up art performances in dark corners of the hall. I recall one performance which involved a guy having a crap in a bucket; we moved on. The bands were playing on a stage at the end of the massive hall. futuramaflyer
This was an opportunity to see bands who went on to stardom: The Frantic Elevators became Simply Red, and Vice Versa became ABC. There was a great mix of bands at the event and the atmosphere was wonderful, really friendly. Although on the surface this festival appeared messy and shambolic, it is actually one of the best I have every attended for the musical range and the feeling in the crowd. Highlights of the day were Hazel O-Connor, who was in the charts with “Eighth Day” and became the robot from “Breaking Glass”, Durutti Column featuring Vini Reilly’s meadering guitar, and the 4″ by 2″s who were a proto-Oi! band featuring Jimmy Lydon (John Lydon’s brother) and also at one point featured Youth of Killing Joke. But the highlight was an incredible performance by Notsensibles, a punk band from Burnley who had some success with their single “I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher”. Their set included a lot of tongue-in-cheek songs, all performed in their strong Northern accent. They’d brought a large contingent of fans, who all sang along with every daft song. Notsensibles motto was “all we want to do is make silly records and play silly gigs”. There is a video on YouTube of them performing “Death To Disco” at the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIGrhea75qU
The festival ran very late into the night (inevitable given the incredible number of bands who were performing) and we left around midnight during Psychedelic Furs set to drive back up North and home, thus missing the headliner who was (also incredibly) the now shamed star Gary Glitter. The Futurama festival had a history of choosing off-the-wall headliners; on another occasion the closing acts was a reformed Bay City Rollers (now that must have been something to experience). A crazy, mad, fun event with some great bands. Happy happy days ๐Ÿ™‚

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by marcus austin on March 17, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I was there both days, it was my first big festival and it lived up to the hype – although everyone there spent most of the time saying the previous year was better ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Saturday line up was better than the Sunday, it seemed to be indie on saturday and old punks on Sunday. I’m pretty sure there was a rumour going around that Spandau Ballet were going to play, as they were getting some real promotion in the NME that week.

    There were three of us down from the Boro and we slept in my mini in a car park round the corner overnight, as It was a much better option than the cold wet floor in the Queen’s Hall. We also saw lots of Rock Garden people there, it was like a Rock Garden end of summer trip.

    The place started to look like a war zone early on the Saturday, beer cans, plastic glasses, fanzines, newspapers and comatose punks covered the floors, and then around Saturday afternoon the loos started to overflow. It was like the somme in the mens loo. I don’t think they made any effort to clean up. But who cares the music was just brilliant.

    I’m sure they broadcast a TV programme of the event but I’ve never seen it. Links???



    • Posted by vintagerock on March 17, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks Marcus
      Your description of the “war zone” is exactly how I remember it when we arrived on Sunday
      Cheers Peter


  2. I went both days (having left Essex at stupid o’clock on Saturday morning) and slept in the hall overnight. Needless to say, my sleeping bag was fit for nothing but the bin by the time I got home (covered in beer, dirt and god knows what else). It was great to have seen so many bands before they made it really big and also some good bands who never amounted to much. There were so many highlights (like Blah Blah Blah playing in full Elizabethan costume!) and things I’d forgotten until I saw the various references to the festival on t’internet. A great festival.


  3. […] of four video parts of the Futurama 2 festival, from The Queens Hall in Leeds (UK) on 13th andย 14th September 1980, broadcasted on BBC 2, on the 1st Oktober 1981. This video clip starts with Classix Nouveaux […]


  4. Posted by Lee on December 27, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    I hitched up from Birmingham with a friend and spent my entire cash on entrance to the Saturday. Went principally to see the Bunnymen but also saw Soft Cell (pre Tainted Love), Altered Images and U2 as well as countless eccentrics. The venue was a huge drafty hall with the toilets slowly flooding as the day progressed. Didn’t wait around for Siouxsie but slipped out into the night and slept on the upper deck of a bus parked up for the night in the local depot. Legendary but felt in need of a good shower at the time.


    • Posted by vintagerock on December 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Happy days Cheers Peter


    • Posted by Philip Rutherford on May 6, 2019 at 10:35 am

      Hi Lee. Me and my friend hitched from Hexham via Newcastle Upon Tyne, the music was great but terrible conditions, we eventually went out, tried to sleep in the open market, then went to the bus station but were moved on by Police in the early hours, we might have bumped into each other. Sleep deprivation makes one anxious,I felt a lot of apathy from the audience, maybe that was me as i live in a small town. Got a lift from a lady who was at the festival dropped us off at the Tyne Tunnel, nice lady, cannot remember her name. We went back the following year but via National Express, with Bauhaus and The Bunnymen outstanding, skipped the second day as the bill was not as good as the first day except for maybe Japan, Tom Verlaine and Alternative TV.


  5. Posted by Steve Barnes on July 28, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    This was a musical epiphany for me. I was heavy into prog and went principally to see Robert Fripp (King Crimson) play with his band The League of Gentlemen and aso a friend of mine was playing with Brian Brain. The whole two days opened my eyes to the sheer energy and joy of the new wave/alternative genre. Since then, I’ve never looked back and kept a genuine open mind to all types of music. Went on a pilgramage recently as my son lives in Leeds and sadly the Queens Hall is now a car park….sniff…..


  6. Posted by Mark Watson on January 5, 2023 at 8:31 pm

    It was at the end of the summer hols between my first and second year at leeds poly, and was I glad to leave Hartlepool and get back to Leeds! Two great days of music. I spoke to John Peel in advance of the Siouxsie set, he was leaning against a pillar, asking him if he knew who was playing guitar with them. I’ve no idea mate, he replied, I’ll be as surprised as you when they come on. My other brush with fame in Leeds was sharing a pint with Bono *during* the first song at a gig of theirs at The Fan Club – there were only five of us standing by the low stage at the start of their set, and he took a pint from one bloke and went along the five of us taking a sip himself and passing the pint to the next in line.


    • Posted by vintagerock on January 6, 2023 at 9:38 am

      Thanks for sharing Mark. It is personal memories like this that make events so special. It was a great event. Happy days Peter


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