Nostalgic York: Remembering Ikon & Diva Gallery From the Late 90s
3 mins read

Nostalgic York: Remembering Ikon & Diva Gallery From the Late 90s

Not only did he run the popular mid-week Turbulence night for three years at the Clifton Moor venue, he was a regular clubber too.

“I was an independent promoter and ran my own club night but also was a customer of Ikon and The Gallery,” said Paul.

Promoter Paul Bailey-Hague and & Rob Tissera at Ikon in 2003

He has fond memories of taking the free bus up to Clifton Moor, where the adjoining nightclubs Ikon & Diva operated from 1999 to 2005.

“We called it the Vengabus – named after a song by the Vengaboys! If you got lucky, the bus driver would put some dance tunes on very loud.

“There was a great atmosphere on the bus with everyone talking to each other. If you get on a bus now people rarely have conversations.”

Paul is planning to bring that special party feeling back to York with a one-off club night at York Barbican in March.

The original DJs from both Ikon & Diva and The Gallery (now Kuda in Clifford Street) are taking to the stage of the Barbican for a night of house and trance anthems.

Joined by special guests such as DJ Sammy, the line-up for the Barbican reunion of Matt Moriarty, Rob Harding and Chris Hopkins plans to take partygoers on a “musical trip down memory lane”.

Tickets for the event on Saturday, March 30 can be purchased online from ticketmaster.

Paul expects the Barbican to be filled with people aged from 35 into their 50s for the club night, which he hopes can be repeated annually.

Queueing to get into Ikon and Diva

“We are generation dancefloor. We were the party generation – going to clubs was our only access to new music and to get live dance music you had to go to a nightclub.

“Now everything is available in an instant.

“Back then, before Facebook, there was a fear of missing out. Today you can look on Facebook to see what happened, but prior to social media you had to go out for fear or missing something crazy happening and you wanted to be part of it. It was a running hamster wheel of going out to party.”

Many readers will have happy memories of going to Ikon & Diva and The Gallery.

The Clifton Moor venue was massive – a veritable superclub with space for 2,000 people. It was not uncommon for people to be queuing outside the red building to get in.

And hundreds of youngsters had their first experience of nightclubbing at Ikon & Diva’s legendary teenage discos.

But the fun didn’t last for long. In February 2005 the venue closed for the final time.

By then, it had changed hands twice. The final owners blamed the changes to licensing laws in 2005, which meant people no longer had to catch a shuttle bus to Clifton Moor to drink later into the night, but could instead stay in the city centre.

What are your memories of York’s nightclubs? Join the conversation online in our Facebook group, Why We Love York – Memories. Find us at: