Cloth Cat celebrates 25 years of supporting the city’s music scene

The music charity Cloth Cat, now based in Holbeck Working Men’s Club, will be hosting a really special celebration to mark its silver anniversary on Saturday (20 April 2024). They promise a free buffet, tombola and party vibes for their many supporters and volunteers.

Over the last quarter of a century, Cloth Cat has worked with all ages and backgrounds, from running free music classes for teenagers and those on a low income, hosted open mic nights, worked in schools, prisons and hospitals. The aim of the charity has been to improve people’s lives and provide a much needed creative outlet as well as delivering training in sound engineering, music production, journalism, podcasting and more.

The charity began 25 years ago when founding member Shelly Johnson saw that there was a real need in the city to bring people together through music. Shelly says:

“It’s incredible that we have come so far and have been able to help so many people along the way, it really feels like a proper family. We’re all so proud of the work that we’ve all done over the years and it’s been a privilege to meet and work with such amazing people from all walks of life through the project, and being involved in music.”

The charity is supported by countless volunteers from across Leeds, Shelly says:

“This night is a big thankyou to all of the people that have championed us over the years, the people we work with have made what we do so unique and special, no day is the same! We are constantly surprised and thrilled by the level of talent in the city, we are so privileged to be able to support people on their creative journey.

“The night will feature some of those acts that have come, arm in arm, along the journey as well as those who we have met more recently and will hopefully give you an insight into our musical history.”

Playing the gig will be Georgette Hilton, granddaughter of the legendary Ronnie Hilton. Georgette is an accomplished singer-songwriter who attended a Cloth Cat guitar course many years ago. Georgette has overcome so much to become the accomplished and confident performer she is today.

CJ & The Misfits will also be playing, they are an eclectic mix of acoustic, rap and soul, they are definitely ones to watch.
Also performing will be Rachel Modest, a singer/songwriter who has been performing solo and (but is also the lead singer of local funky soul trip-hop band, The Bluefoot Project). Brought up in the Gospel tradition, Rachel has worked with a range of other musicians and record labels, including JD73, ZR Records and ATA records. Currently, she is the Choir Director and founder of the Wakefield Community Gospel Choir and she recently reached the semi-final on ITVs The Voice UK 2022.

Also celebrating their 25th birthday, Mestisa have supported Cloth Cat throughout. In the unlikely event that you have happened to have missed them, Mestisa are a Leeds-based Latin American folk quartet who perform traditional and popular folk music of Latin America on a whole array of weird and wonderful instruments and will get you up dancing, promising to leave you with a smile on your face.

Also on the bill are Rookie Numbers. An exciting 8 piece collective playing ska, reggae and two tone. Known for energetic interactive performances, they pride themselves in bringing back 2nd generation ska and mod culture, covering material from Madness, The Specials, Bad Manners, The Selecter and more but with a twist. Get ready for a whirlwind performance.

The Cloth Cat 25th Anniversary Birthday Party – The Year Of The Cat, will be on Saturday 20 April at Holbeck Working Men’s Club from 5:30pm, tickets cost £5 and are available by clicking here.

People will also be able to pay on the door at £7 and under 18s can come in free with an adult.


This post was written by Kate Prothero

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