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Island Records to celebrate 50th anniversary with London gigs

Island Records

Story by Jack Foley

ISLAND Records is to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a series of concerts at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire in May.

A week-long series of events is being held to mark the occasion, featuring a stalwart line-up of guests including Keane, Cat Stevens/Yusuf and Paul Weller.

Island Records is arguably the most prestigious record label in the history of British music. To mark this milestone the label is collaborating with Island founder Chris Blackwell to arrange the Island 50 festival.

Chris Blackwell founded the Island label in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 with capital of just £1,000.

Relocating to London in the early 60s Blackwell built the most diverse and enviable back catalogue of any independent record label in history.

From Island’s early Jamaican roots in ska and rock-steady, through the label’s expansion to become the cutting edge of progressive rock in the late ’60s, and then on to the signing of such international superstars as Bob Marley and U2, Blackwell brought to Island a unique vision and passion which still informs the label’s approach to this day.

Tickets for the concerts are now on general sale from

The full line-up is as follows (all dates in May 2009):

Monday, May 25
Line up to be announced

Tuesday, May 26
Sly & Robbie and the Compass Point All Stars, plus special guests.

Wednesday, May 27
The Fratellis, also featuring Bombay Bicyle Club plus special guests.

Thursday, May 28
Cat Stevens/Yusuf, also featuring Baaba Maal plus special guests.

Friday, May 29
Paul Weller, also featuring Ernest Ranglin and Spooky Tooth.

Saturday, May 30
KEANE & Tom Tom Club, also featuring Ladyhawke.

Sunday, May 31
Amy Winehouse, also featuring Toots & The Maytals and I Blame Coco

Line-ups subject to change. The age restrictions for these shows are; no under 5’s, under 14’s to be accompanied by an over 18 adult and are recommended to buy balcony tickets.