Oxford Bands Come Together to Help Save Nightshift Magazine


Thom York of Radiohead. Photo Courtesy of aka Francois aka Mister Pink via Flickr.

While the pandemic is beginning to (somewhat) settle down from 2020, there are still many lingering effects. One industry to have taken a significant hit was the music industry. Music festivals, tours, and everything else that had fans shoulder to shoulder were essentially canceled for more than a year, while some countries have yet to welcome any of that back. Music magazines, such as Oxford’s Nightshift Magazine, especially had a hard time adapting to the pandemic, on top of adapting to the already changing landscape within journalism.

“For those 30 years, NIGHTSHIFT has always been free, in print and online, and reliant on advertising revenue to sustain itself,” reads the magazine’s statement. “The Covid pandemic has meant that a significant proportion of that revenue base has been eroded – cornerstone venues like The Wheatsheaf have been lost, while festivals, recording studios, and shops have suffered financially so that their marketing budgets have been significantly reduced. NIGHTSHIFT, a magazine that has so often sailed close to the wind financially, faces a challenging task if it is to relaunch and continue to support Oxford’s music scene. A music scene that itself needs to regroup and rebuild – to hold onto those surviving venues and locate new gig opportunities for the years to come.”

As a result, editor Ronan Munro launched a fundraiser on July 1 to save the magazine for a few more months. To help draw more attention, many oxford bands, such as Radiohead, Foals, Glass Animals, Supergrass, Ride, Stornoway, and Young Knives, have all donated items for the prize draw. These prizes include limited edition vinyl releases, tickets to music festivals, and signed memorabilia. You can see all the prizes below.

  • Framed copy of ON A FRIDAY’s first-ever Curfew front cover feature from 1991, signed by the band (2 available)
  • A framed copy of RADIOHEAD’s first-ever Curfew front cover feature from 1993, signed by the band (2 available)
  • RADIOHEAD’ KID A’ 12″ vinyl album test pressing 
  • 1 x pair of Weekend Tickets TRUCK FESTIVAL 2022 + Glamping Structure + Backstage Tour and Side of stage access to a Main or Market stage act (act TBC) 
  • 4 x pair of Weekend Tickets TRUCK FESTIVAL 2022 + £100 Bar Tab + Truck Festival Merch 
  • An O2 ACADEMY GOLDEN TICKET – 1 x pair of guest tickets for you and a friend to any gigs at O2 Academy Oxford for a whole year (subject to t&c’s)
  • 1 x unique one-off CDR of music composed and recorded by RIDE’s ANDY BELL between 1999 and 2018 and compiled specially for this fundraiser
  • 1 x copy of RIDE’s rare ‘Coming Up For Air’ CD + a copy of January 2010’s copy of Nightshift where the band discuss the 20th anniversary of their debut ‘Ride EP – both items signed by the band
  • 1 x SUPERGRASS’ ‘Strange Ones 1994-2008’ Super deluxe box set
  • 4 x A3 prints of FOALS’ first-ever NIGHTSHIFT front cover feature from November 2006, signed by Yannis Philippakis
  • 4 x A3 prints of GLASS ANIMALS’ first-ever NIGHTSHIFT front cover feature from April 2014, signed by the band
  • 4 x A3 prints of STORNOWAY’s’ first-ever NIGHTSHIFT front cover feature from September 2008, signed by the band
  • 4 x A3 prints of YOUNG KNIVES’ first-ever NIGHTSHIFT front cover feature from May 2005, signed by Henry and Thomas Dartnall, plus merch bundle
  • 2 x SWERVEDRIVER tote bag merch bundles inc. signed white label vinyl pressing of the UK Rock Action edition of ‘Future Ruins’; signed individual Steve Gullick print; Future Ruins US tour shirt; ‘Stax’ design shirt; ‘Petroleum Spirit Daze’ 12″ EP; ‘Think I’m Gonna Feel Better’/’Reflections’ 12″ vinyl 2019 Record Store Day single containing Gene Clark & Supremes cover versions.
  • 4 x £50 store vouchers for TRUCK STORE on Cowley Road
  • 1 x professional photoshoot with FIREFLY STUDIOS (https://fyreflystudios.com/)
  • 1 x professional live recording at THE BULLINGDON 
  • 5 x A3 personalized front cover of NIGHTSHIFT magazine – at last, you’re the cover star! Everyone who enters any of the draws will be entered into the draw for this reward.

Nightshift is a monthly Oxford-based magazine that has been printing since 1995. The publication’s goal was to raise £12,000 ($16,561) to cover printing and distribution costs for at least a few more months until they can fully recover from the hiatus they were forced to take in 2020. Even before the fundraiser was announced, many Oxford-based bands have recognized the importance of this magazine.

“We had so much support from Nightshift,” Jonny Greenwood tweeted in 2019. “All oxford bands did, and still do. It was so great when you put us on the cover. I know which accolade means more to me…and It’s still a great read (and very funny: I remember one review of a band was so cruel you typed it in wingdings…).”

As a result of the overflow of support, Nightshift was able to meet its goal in only four days, securing another nine months of printing and distribution. What’s even better is the fact that anyone still interested in contributing to the magazine and help keep it alive, they can still enter the prize draw, which ends July 29 at 10:00 am local time. The magazine decided to try and keep the support going by extending the target by another £8,000, for a total of £20,000. This would help the magazine survive for an entire year. Here are a few things the magazine is hoping to do with the extra money:

• Keep the magazine going for even longer, possibly until [Munro] retire[s].

• Expand the online Nightshift archive, hopefully, all the way back to Curfew days, providing free-to-access documentation of Oxford’s music scene going back 30 years.

• Potentially bring back The Oxford Punt (if there are enough venues to allow it).

• Keep the demo review panel in cheap vodka.

“Four days – that’s how quickly Oxford’s music community took to rally and ensure Nightshift can return later this year to continue documenting Oxford’s fantastic but increasingly under-pressure music scene. I’ll leave the full-on Oscars ceremony-style speech until the scheme officially ends since so many people deserve an individual shout-out, but for now, a massive thanks to everyone who donated – friends, acquaintances, strangers, artists, fans. I bloody love you all (right up to the point you ask me to review your new jazz-fusion project). For now, the plan is Nightshift will be back in digital form for September and then – barring any more delays to restriction lifting – back in gloomy black and white print for October. Stay well and safe til then, everyone, and keep supporting grassroots music.”

Nightshift magazine started in 1991 as CURFEW but then relaunched in 1995 under its current moniker. The monthly magazine has not only shined the spotlight on emerging Oxford artists but has also been at the forefront of campaigning against venue closures during and before the pandemic. Whether or not you’ve heard of this magazine before, it’s a staple in the England music community, and we’re happy to see they are going to survive for another few months, hopefully, longer.

Supporters can continue to enter the prize draw here.

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