What Was The Ark?

A series of club nights playing house and rave music

When Did Ark Run?

From 1991-1997

Where Was Ark Held?

  • Leeds University
  • Leeds Poly
  • Leeds Ritzy
  • Leeds Pheonix Club Chapeltown
  • Leeds Corn Exchange
  • Leeds Hi Flyers
  • Sheffield The Palais
  • Bradford Windsor Baths
  • Bradford University
  • Manchester Bowlers
  • Manchester Hacienda (Event cancelled)
  • Preston Lancashire University
  • Lancaster Sugar House
  • Blackpool Palace

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 at Ark?

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 Ark 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 re 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 at Ark?

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 Ark 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.


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