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Oysterband: A Long Long Goodbye

Presented by Band on the Wall
City Varieties Music Hall
The six members of Oysterband wearing black on the top against a plain black background.

From their earliest days as a noisy, politicised ceilidh band in the late 70s, Oysterband has never stopped evolving or providing the soundtrack to the changing times.

Initially meeting at Canterbury in Kent, at a time when pubs were alive with folk clubs and music sessions, the Oyster Ceilidh Band (as they were known then), was a band on a simple mission to get dancefloors bouncing. But with a chemistry between its members and music that made a profound connection with its audiences, greater things soon beckoned as the times became more complicated.

Emerging in the early 80s from its ceilidh band days, Oysterband infused both the traditional and its own songs with a passion and energy that was electrifyingly fresh for the time. Polkas, politics, and a heaving dance floor somehow seemed perfectly right for Thatcher’s Britain. Signing to new roots label Cooking Vinyl, headlining English Roots Against Apartheid, playing Glastonbury and the Fleadh several times each, and touring with The Pogues in Europe and Billy Bragg in North America gained them a large and loyal following both at home and internationally.

Oysterband has been a constant and uplifting presence in music throughout the decades and has ratcheted up dozens of studio releases throughout their career. From their debut Jack’s Alive in 1980; through classics like Step Outside (1986) and Wide Blue Yonder (1987); to latter period gems like Rise Above (2002) or Diamonds On The Water (2014), they’ve always released music with relative prolificacy.

Their collaboration with June Tabor in 1990 produced the cult favourite album Freedom & Rain, and it was renewed 21 years later for Ragged Kingdom, one of the best-selling folk-rock albums of the new millennium.

Winners of several BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including Best Band twice, Oysterband’s songwriting has never stood still and hits such as The Oxford Girl and When I’m Up I Can’t Get Down (Best Song at the Canadian East Coast Music Awards, performed by Great Big Sea) are now renowned staples of the folk canon.

The band released what stands as its final album in 2022, the acclaimed Read The Sky, which found the band taking a political stand for the members’ environmental beliefs. As true to its political roots as it ever was, the album was released to chime with the COP26 summit in Glasgow of that year. The album hit the Official Folk Album Chart No.1 – a testament to Oysterband’s enduring popularity across the ages.

Most recently, Oysterband undertook an extensive tour of Europe, plus a special Decades tour across the UK where they explored their back catalogue in greater depth. Announcing a series of shows with June Tabor in 2024, Oysterband will be going out on a high as they bid “a long long goodbye” to fans and friends with a series of unmissable shows.

Event information

Running Time: TBC

Age Guidance: Under 16s should be accompanied by an adult

Triggers and advisories: TBC

Prices include a £2 booking fee and where applicable, a £1.20 charge for postage will be payable

Boxes are available to book by calling the Box Office on 0113 243 0808

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