Ark – What was it?

Ark was a series of club nights playing house and rave music

When did Ark run?

From 1991-1997

Where and when was Ark held?

Complete list of all the Ark events, click on the link to find out more about that event, including – Flyer, ticket, DJs, MC, PA, Pictures, Posters, Tracklistings and more

Fri 14th June 1991 Leeds Poly
Fri 26th July 1991 Leeds Poly
Fri 13th Sep 1991 Leeds Poly
Fri 11th Oct 1991 Leeds Poly
Sat 26th Oct 1991 Bradford Uni
Fri 8th Nov 1991 Leeds Poly
Sat 7th Dec 1991 Leeds Uni
Fri 20th Dec 1991 Leeds Poly
Fri 31st Jan 1992 Leeds Poly
Fri 28th Feb 1992 Leeds Poly
Fri 20th March 1992 Breakfast Club Leeds Poly
Fri 27th March 1992 Leeds Poly
Fri 10th April 1992 The Palais Sheffield
Fri 10th April 1992 Breakfast Club Leeds Poly
Sat 18th April 1992 Leeds Poly
Fri 24th April 1992 Leeds Poly
Fri 15th May 1992 Leeds Poly
Fri 29th May 1992 Breakfast Club Leeds Poly
Fri 12th June 1992 Leeds Poly
Sat 11th July 1992 Leeds Poly
Sat 22nd August 1992 x2 Corn Exchange leeds
Fri 25th Sep 1992 Leeds Poly
Fri 27th Nov 1992 Leeds Poly
Sat 19th Dec 1992 Hi Flyers Leeds
Sat 6th Feb 1993 T and C Leeds
Sat 6th March 1993 T and C Leeds
Sat 27th March 1993 Lancashire Uni Preston
Sat 10th April 1993 T and C Leeds
Sunday 11th April 1993 Pheonix Club Chapeltown Leeds
Sat 1st May 1993 Lancashire Uni Preston
Sat 15th May 1993 Leeds Uni
Fri 12th June 1993 Lancashire Uni Preston
Sat 19th June 1993 T and C Leeds
Sat 31st July 1993 Corn Exchange Leeds
Sat 16th Oct 1993 Leeds Uni
Sat 30th Oct 1993 Lancashire Uni Preston
Sat 27th Nov 1993 Lancashire Uni Preston
Sat 4th Dec 1993 Leeds Uni
Sat 12th Feb 1994 Leeds Uni
Sat 19th March 1994 Lancashire Uni Preston
Sat 23rd April 1994 Leeds Uni
Sat 11th June 1994 Lancashire Uni Preston
Sat 25th June 1994 Leeds Uni
Sat 23rd July 1994 Leeds Poly
Sat 8th Oct 1994 Leeds Uni
Sat 5th Nov 1994 Lancashire Uni Preston
Mon Sat 26th Dec 1994 Palace Blackpool
Sat 18th Feb 1995 Leeds Uni
Mon 17th April 1995 Palace Blackpool
Sat 6th May 1995 Leeds Uni
Mon 29th May 1995 Hacienda Manchester
Sat 1st July 1995 Leeds Uni
Mon 28th Aug 1995 Ritzy Leeds
Sat 14th Oct 1995 Leeds Uni
Fri 20th Oct 1995 Sugar House Lancaster
Fri 17th Nov 1995 Sugar House Lancaster
Sat 2nd Dec 1995 Leeds Uni
Fri 8th Dec 1995 Sugar House Lancaster
Sun 31st Dec 1995 Leeds Uni
Sat 24th Feb 1996 Leeds Uni
Sat 4th May 1996 Leeds Uni
Sat 15th June 1996 Bowlers Manchester
Sat 27th July 1996 Windsor Baths Bradford
Mon 26th Aug 1996 Ritzy Leeds
Sat 12th Oct 1996 Leeds Uni
Sat 30th Nov 1996 Leeds Uni
Sat 22nd Feb 1997 Leeds Uni

What Else Was Ark?

A record label – see full discography

A clothes shop – Until 1996. At one stage there were 5 shops, in the end JD Sports bought the whole group.

Who DJ’d?

There was a wide variety of DJ’s who played at Ark, from one off’s like Gayle San and Keoki, through to residents such as Rob Tissera, Anne Savage and DJ Sy

What else happened at an Ark night?

There was often an MC, MC Rush and frequent live PA’s.  Live PA’s included Dream Frequency, Hyper GoGo and K-Klass amongst others

Why did it stop?

The million dollar question.  It’s fair to say by 1996 the events had lost some of the earlier years madness.  The shop had become the primary concern, and raves no longer suited the more up market clothes they were trying to sell. But in reality we will never know. But ending when they did ensured that the mystique remained

What type of music was played?

Ark evolved with the times.  When the events started in 1991 Italian house and piano anthems were most heard.  By 1992 hardcore was in many sets.  However it is the 1993 and 1994 more progressive house that is most associated with Ark.  A peak set is Ronb Tissera from the Corn Exchange in Leeds on 31st July 1993. Enjoy that here

1994 saw the handbag house sounds begin to take over, which further happened through 1995.  Why 1996 trance was beginning to become dominant alongside the hard house played by the likes of Anne Savage

How popular was Ark?

At any time from 1993-1997 and into the 2000s you couldn’t go into Leeds without seeing someone wearing an Ark bomber jacket.  The events drew 2,000 people, and the tapes sold by the bucket loads. There are mixes all over YouTube and Mixcloud and sites such as this and OldSkoolAnthemz keep the vibe alive.  Clubs such as Back to Basics, the Hacienda and Up Yer Ronson had an older crowd, which meant they were and are still considered cooler, but Ark was hugely influential for several whole generations of clubbers from the North of England and further if you count students.

What would have happened if it hadn’t ended in 1997?

The events could have gone downhill. It’s unknown how long Leeds University would have continued to allow raves to take place in the Refectory.  Other suitable venues would have been hard to find, as Ark was never a traditional “club” night.

However 1997 to 1999 were the peak super club years in the UK, which only really started to come to end with the Millennium Eve overpricing fiasco.  The hard house sound of those years would have worked well with the Ark crowd, and there would have been a possibility to align with the likes of Sundissential and Gatecrasher.  Sadly this didn’t happen.  There have been various attempts at reunions, with the ArUnion event being the closest in terms of venue and DJs but this was a failure.  With many reunions being underwhelming, it’s probably best to let sleeping dogs lie.


Ark And Universe Leeds Uni 25th June 1994
Ark And Universe Leeds Uni 25th June 1994


  1. At the last ever ark, I was stood in the refectory steps getting some fresh air when I got chatting to the guy who ran the arks (can’t remember his name, maybe Dave?) I asked him why he had decided to stop ark running, as it was so well loved by so many. He simply said, “better to end it on a high note rather than let it slide”. At the time, so many other clubs were closing and it made sense to me. Although I was still gutted. I stood in the middle of the dance floor crying when the last time had played out. But he was right. We all remember it as being a banging club night with the most amazing crowd of people. Good times!

  2. Literally the sound track to my youth, the people, the whistles, the tunes were amazing, the speakers on the dance floor with people stood in front of them me included was infinite 90s bliss, better when the balcony was open in my opinion but still quality without.
    No dress code, tom and Joe’s ice pops stand, “a firm hand shake and a knowing nod” to quote there own flyer!
    When Dreams played at the last one, maybe the last tune or one of them, I cant remember i was a bit “tired” by then, the place went mental, dance floor shaking. And cant forget mc Rush, I think he was the man as far as ark mc’s go.
    All memories I will take to the grave!
    Still got the tapes somwhere.
    Thanks Ark for everything.

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