Rockers celebrate Wapentake music matriarch

Organiser and author Neil Anderson with Olga.
Organiser and author Neil Anderson with Olga.
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DO YOU remember Olga Marshall?

If you’re an ageing rocker with a love of loud music and a good pint then you probably will.

Olga, a virtual teetotal mother of four, was always one of the more unlikely figureheads of Sheffield’s heavy metal movement.

And you can relive those halcyon days of heavy metal when her legacy is celebrated next month – for one night only.

Olga ended up presiding over two of the city’s most enduring rock bars for nearly three decades and garnered a formidable reputation for not taking any nonsense – even the Hell’s Angels behaved on her watch!

She retired as landlady of Wellington Street’s legendary Wapentake Bar in 1996, just months after overseeing a gig by one of the biggest rock bands in the world, the city’s own Def Leppard.

The band played some of their earliest gigs in her bar and returned to perform for Olga in 1995 in front of a VIP audience.

Olga started as a barmaid in 1964 at the Buccaneer on Leopold Street.

She said: “We’d only got a jukebox so I spoke to the management about getting a DJ in.

“I tracked down George Webster who was playing at the Cannon Hall social club at Page Hall. The Buccaneer took more on our first night with George than it did on its average weekend.”

Her next position, in 1973, and one she’s best remembered for, was landlady of the Wapentake Bar.

Her early days were interesting as the bar tried to keep two very different audiences happy – the new rock audience at night who wanted to hear Olga’s DJs and pensioners who came in for lunch.

The venue was eventually given over to rockers and went on to become one of the most legendary heavy metal venues in the country.

Now 85, Olga still holds on to mementoes from her days as the city’s rock matriarch – she’s even got one of the missing tables from the Buccaneer in her garage.

Olga’s legacy will be celebrated at Reunite In Rock IV at Plug on Friday, December 14.

n Tickets for the event, which includes a set from former Wapentake and Rebels DJ Lez Wright are £8. Log on to www.reuniteinrock.co.uk.