Michael Ainsworth inside The Grayston Unity's new home in Halifax town centreMichael Ainsworth inside The Grayston Unity's new home in Halifax town centre
Michael Ainsworth inside The Grayston Unity's new home in Halifax town centre

The Grayston Unity: See inside Halifax bar and music venue which has doubled in size and opened today but is still 'smallest music venue' in UK

A bar and music venue “created by people from the town who know and love it” opens at its new home in Halifax town centre today.

The Grayston Unity has moved from Wesley Court to bigger premises on Horton Street and opened its doors for the first time this afternoon.

While it has doubled in size – now covering three floors – its owners are still laying claim to the “smallest music venue in the UK” title thanks to the tiny space on the top floor which has just enough room for a band and a handful of audience members.

That is in addition to a much-bigger room on the lower floor with plenty of space for a stage and more music fans, and another room across the ground floor.

It is run by husband-and-wife Michael and Jess Ainsworth who say The Grayston Unity is much more than a bar and venue.

"It’s a creative community hub rooted in the town by people from the town who know and love it,” said Michael.

“There’s nowhere else like it.”

The pair have always championed the grassroots music scene. Michael has been organising gigs in Halifax for several decades and it was Michael who came up with the idea of The Piece Hall and its summer gig partner Cuffe and Taylor doing more to support grassroots music venues in Calderdale by asking concert-goers to donate to Music Venue Trust.

That passion will continue and hopefully grow at the new building, starting with the first gig by The Incident and Top Hats on Sunday and soon followed by the second Town festival.

Curated by The Grayston Unity and spread across venues across Halifax, the four-day event runs from October 19 to 22 and is a celebration of grassroots music.

And later this month – on October 26 – The Grayston Unity is presenting a sold-out show by folk legend Lisa O’Neill at Halifax Minster.

But the couple want their venture to be a venue for everything from theatre to cinema and community work, as well as music.

They are working with St Augustine’s Centre to give people fleeing war and persecution the chance to volunteer and have taken on three young trainees so that they can learn more about different aspects of the industry – marketing, sound engineering and promotion.

Fans of The Grayston Unity’s former home will not be disappointed by the new premises, says Michael, as Jess’s resourcefulness and eye for detail has created a charming, quirky and homely feel.

There are 1930s theatre seats, chintzy armchairs and a swanky new bar.

"I don’t know how she does it,” said Michael. “It instantly feels like The Grayston but even more so.”

For more details about Town festival and how to buy tickets, visit https://thegraystonunity.co.uk/

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