Cool Beans Collective
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There comes a time in a man’s life when you have to try something new, you have to foray into territory previously unvisited, you may even have to jump off the cliff of unknown down into the abyss of uncertainty. This time came for Chris Arnold in the summer of 2010 whilst working on a pea plantation down in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. An avid fan of music, comedy and expression through dance he set his sights on creating a multi-faceted entertainment bubble of fun and good times. The aims were relatively simple – play all different kinds of music, embrace diversity, showcase up-and-coming talent, branch out through various mediums and generally be exciting, interesting and different. He came up with the name Cool Peas (later changed to Cool Beans because no-one likes peas) and started hassling. He hassled his friends Andy, Dom and Rich and got them to help him out with the project. He hassled Sheffield University and they allowed Cool Beans to host its first event at the Raynor Lounge. He hassled Forge Radio and they granted Cool Beans a radio show. The Cool Beans wheels were quickly in motion…
After the Raynor night proved to be a stormer, the events kept coming and to ensure novelty they were hosted at different venues each time. To date Cool Beans has unleashed the party at The Bowery, The Green Room, The Redhouse, The Riverside, Sheffield Students’ Union, Penelopes, DQ, The Great Gatsby, SOYO, The West End, The Fox & Duck, The Harley & The Academy. Variety was key: there are few who can claim to have hosted dubstep pioneer Mary Anne Hobbs alongside electro-swingers The Correspondents alongside hardcore-ska troupe Stand Out Riot alongside garage honcho MJ Cole alongside neo-balkan-rave mob Slamboree alongside comedy chap-hop superstar Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer alongside reggae selector DJ Shepdog alongside etc, etc, etc. All different events, yet all with the same happy-go-lucky party atmosphere. One notable Cool Beans event at the Union brought in 600 people, a surprising feat for independent promoters so fresh to the game. The success of the nights resulted in them hosting stages at two of Sheffield’s most prestigious events, Peace in the Park and Tramlines, the latter allowing room for five Cool Beans venues over a 4 day period in 2012. After a huge NYE blow-out the events continued to come in 2013, bringing such high calibre acts as Hackney Colliery Band, King Porter Stomp, Public Service Broadcasting, Misty’s Big Adventure, Mr Benn, The JB Conspiracy and Ham Pocket.
Up in the studio the beans were also bubbling, the radio show first breathing life on the University of Sheffield network Forge Radio. There the team developed and harnessed their nonsensical chatter through features, quizzes, sessions, interviews with regular guests and the rest. The listeners seemed to enjoy themselves; Cool Beans won Best Off-Playlist Show and Best Interview at the 2011 Forge Awards. The second run of shows came on BCR (now Steel City Radio) where they took on a more music based approach, mixing tunes being incorporated into the whole affair. The show’s weekly slot meant that Chris was either joined by Dom or Andy (Rich had migrated South by this point) and the holy trinity was never fully united. Longing to be back in each other’s arms they decided to halt proceedings at BCR and focus on a more comedy-based podcast. It was certainly the right decision; the first podcast quickly hit over 1500 downloads/plays and featured in the iTunes Comedy Charts. Nowadays you can hear the sound of Cool Beans on Sheffield Live, being regular guest presenters on the Peace in the Park Radio Show.
Alongside these achievements the Cool Beans Collective also found time to create Cool Beans TV, a Cool Beans Menu and a Cool Beans Listings Column for Now Then Magazine. Chris (under the DJ name Arnivore) has also showcased Cool Beans DJ sets all over the United Kingdom and beyond including performances at Boomtown Fair, Glastonbury, the French Alps, Wakestock, Beat-Herder, the Scottish Highlands, Eden, Kendal Calling, Y-Not, Tramlines and even the naked party island of Ibiza. More recently Cool Beans Management was born and is now looking after some of the finest party starters in the UK – New York Brass Band, The Soul Circle Gang, Smiling Ivy, Andy H, New York Brass Band, China Shop Bull, Ocelus, The Fresh Dixie Project, The Indecision, Dexter Dextrous & The Fingersmiths, Danny Beck, Mikey J, 50 Sniffs, The Grand Old Ukes Of Yorkshire, The Legitimate Gentlemen, Jimmy the Gent and aforementioned rapscallion Arnivore.
On top of all this June 2013 saw the Cool Beans crew (as their alter-egos Ham Pocket) team up with Know Media and Jimmy May (as 50 Sniffs) in creating an Audience Award winning video in the 2 Weeks 2 Make It competition. In keeping with their style, the video was as you would expect, nonsense. Also, August 2013 saw Chris, Andy, Dom & special guest Ed (or Dan Druff to some) take a power-point driven musical comedy called The Cool Beans Guide To Life to the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival for six performances. The musical comedy laughs continued in 2014, where the Cool Beans Collective got through to the final 20 acts at the Musical Comedy Awards.
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