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Scarborough Open Air Theatre passed a huge milestone with the headline performance by Courteeners on Wednesday night. The show marked the 100th event at the UK’s largest purpose-built outdoor concert arena since it re-opened to the public in 2010. This show was followed by headline shows from James and Snow Patrol on the following evenings.

Liam Fray of Courteeners, Photo Cuffe and Taylor
The Coral, Photo Cuffe and Taylor

Manchester indie favourites Courteeners opened their show with Are You In Love With A Notion. With front man Liam Fray (vocals, guitar), Dan Moores (guitars), Michael Campbell (drums), Joe Cross (bass) and Elina Lin (keyboards) their set included their indie classic singles Cavorting, How Good It Was, Summer and The 17th.

To complete their main set, Courteeners played a short acoustic set which included Please Don’t and Smiths Disco. They returned for an encore of their most recent single Hanging Off Your Cloud before finishing with their biggest UK hits Not Nineteen Forever and What Took You So Long? This was Courteeners first outing to the Yorkshire seaside venue where they were supported on the night by Merseysiders The Coral whose set included their massive hits Pass It On and In The Morning.

James at Scarborough OAT, Photo Cuffe and Taylor
Tim Booth of James, Photo Cuffe and Taylor

British music legends James delighted their fans on Thursday night at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Making their third headline appearance at the Yorkshire cost venue, the Manchester indie heroes, with charismatic frontman Tim Booth, delivered a set which included All The Colours, Come Home, Born Of Frustration, Sit Down, She’s a Star and Sound. For their encore James performed Sometimes, Tomorrow and Laid.

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, Photo Cuffe and Taylor
Snow Patrol at Scarborough OAT, Photo Cuffe and Taylor

Friday night’s headliners were Snow Patrol, one of the biggest indie acts of the past two decades. In 2019 their massive global hit Chasing Cars was named as the most played song on UK radio in the 21st Century.

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Gary Lightbody and the band opened with Chocolate and their set included Called Out In The Dark, Set the Fire to the Third Bar (a duet with the audience), Run, Shut Your Eyes, Chasing Cars and You’re All I Have.

Snow Patrol returned for an encore of What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get? and Just Say Yes.

More than 450,000 people have attended a concert at Scarborough OAT since Her Majesty The Queen re-opened the refurbished Scarborough Borough Council-owned arena 11 years ago.

Headliners to grace the historic stage in the last few years include world-wide superstars and music legends such as Britney Spears, Lionel Richie, Elton John, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Noel Gallagher, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys and Nile Rodgers and CHIC.

This year’s star-studded season – which comes to a close next week with a sell-out show from pop legends Duran Duran – has been a welcome return for a venue cherished by both locals and music fans from across the UK.

“Since reopening in 2010, Scarborough Open Air Theatre has established itself as the borough’s premier outdoor live music venue,” said Cllr Jim Grieve, Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet member for quality of life.

“Working with our partners we’ve brought some of the biggest names in the music industry to the Yorkshire coast. This has boosted the area’s reputation for high quality events and contributed millions of pounds to the local economy. As we reach the milestone of 100 shows at the theatre this week, we look forward to many more years of fantastic events to come.”

Live music is programmed at Scarborough OAT by promoters Cuffe and Taylor, who are part of Live Nation and have a 10-year contract to deliver headline shows at the venue, which now boasts a capacity of 8,000.

“What a week we have here at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Courteeners, James and Snow Patrol are three of the biggest names in British indie rock and to bring all three here in the same week is just fantastic,” said venue programmer Peter Taylor.

“Cuffe and Taylor is so proud to have programmed live music at this wonderful venue since 2016, in which time we have brought many world-famous music icons to the Yorkshire coast. We absolutely love it and we cannot wait to add to the century of big-name headliners in the years to come. Watch this space!”

Shows at Scarborough OAT attract thousands of visitors to the Yorkshire coast each summer and have created an estimated benefit to the borough of more than £25m in the last decade. Cuffe and Taylor work hand-in-hand with the dedicated council-led team at Scarborough OAT.

Venue manager Stuart Clark at Scarbrough OAT, Photo Cuffe and Taylor

Stuart Clark, Scarborough OAT venue manager, has worked on more than 90 of the 100 headline shows since 2010. “It’s a brilliant venue,” he said, “a real jewel in the Yorkshire coast’s crown. You only have to look at the calibre of artists who come here regularly to realise how well thought of Scarborough OAT is.

“It’s such a team effort to put these shows on and I cannot thank the incredible team here at the venue, and Cuffe and Taylor, enough. But above all we’d all like to thank the people of the borough and the Yorkshire coast for their incredible support of the venue down the years – and here’s to many more brilliant nights at the OAT!”  

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