Radiohead and Foals among bands helping save Oxford music magazine ‘Nightshift’

The local mag has been instrumental in giving bands their big breaks

Radiohead, Foals, Supergrass and Glass Animals are among a host of Oxford-bred bands that have donated items to a prize draw to help keep a local music magazine afloat.

Nightshift, Oxford’s local music newspaper which has been published monthly since 1995, has been unable to print during the coronavirus pandemic due to a drop in advertising. The magazine relies on adverts to run as a freesheet and needs to raise £12,000 to cover costs until revenue picks up again.

Radiohead have donated rarities to the prize draw, while Supergrass have provided a deluxe boxset of ‘Supergrass Strange Ones’ greatest hits. A signed album by fellow Oxford group Ride is also in the running plus demos by the band’s Andy Bell (via BBC).

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Glass Animals, Stornoway and Young Knives have also contributed signed copies of their cover debuts along with Radiohead and Ride.

Nightshift, which morphed from the 1991-launched mag Curfew, has been instrumental in helping bands get their big breaks, such as spotlighting the early days of Radiohead (who were once known as On A Friday).

In 2019 Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood responded to a tweet by Nightshift in which he thanked editor Ronan Munro for featuring them on the cover. He described the magazine as a “very funny” and “great read”.

Munro told NME that it was “really heartwarming” to find that the Oxford bands he contacted agreed to contribute to the prize draw.

Nightshift, and Curfew before it, championed all these acts first before they became nationally and internationally famous, so it’s great they all remember their roots,” he said. “I think that’s one of the Oxford music scene’s big strengths – its sense of community and a recognition there are people involved who dedicate their lives to live music.

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“What has kept [Nightshift] alive for 30 years is its parochialism. We are all about Oxford artists and what’s happening in Oxford, so you get a comprehensive documentation of a small but exciting scene that national or international press couldn’t do. Every town and city should have its own music magazine to champion those grassroot artists and venues.”

And Munro pressed on the importance of local backing. “Please keep supporting grassroots music, particularly after Covid when it will desperately need to get back on its feet – take a chance on a band you’ve never heard of once in a while.

“All these acts who have donated prizes started off as unknowns playing to a few dozen die-hards in tiny pub venues. Then you can be the person who’s able to say ‘I saw them first’.”

Truck Festival, which cancelled its event for the second year running owing to COVID-19 and a lack of government support, has also donated VIP packages for its 2022 event to the crowdfunder. Additionally, the O2 Academy Oxford has provided a golden ticket that will allow the winner and a plus one free entry to any O2 Academy venue for 12 months.

The ‘Nightshift Magazine restart fundraiser’ runs until July 28 – enter the draw prize draw. Munro said if the £12,000 target is not met then the magazine will not return.

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