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The Young’Uns: The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

Fri 11 Oct

The Young’Uns: The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff, presented by folk trio The Young’Uns, is the true story of one man’s journey from unemployment, through the Hunger Marches of the 1930s, the mass trespass movement and the Battle of Cable Street, to fighting fascism in the Spanish Civil War. A touching and often hilarious musical adventure, its themes of war, poverty and displacement have a powerful resonance almost a hundred years on.

With 16 original songs, visual & recorded material from Johnny Longstaff’s life & times, three-time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Young’uns present a timely tale of a boy who walked out of poverty, a teenager who stood up to racism, a soldier who fought fascism and an old man who inspired a new generation. The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff has toured throughout the UK and recently had its North American premiere at Toronto’s renowned Harbourfront Centre. BBC Radio 3 recorded a special concert performance first broadcast in 2022 and scheduled for repeat on 7th April 2024.

This is the story of Johnny’s life from the day it began in abject poverty in Stockton On Tees in 1919 to a chance meeting with Winston Churchill in 1939. The songs interweave with the late Johnny’s own recorded voice to tell a remarkable story of one man’s impulse to react to injustice wherever and whenever he saw it. It’s a story of great humanity but also great humour as a teenager stumbles his way innocently through the tumultuous landscapes of the 1930s – from Teesside to London then onto Paris and eventually across the Pyrenees into Spain.

This event will last approximately 2 hours, including an interval.


‘The harmonies are glorious, the wit is waspish. The songs are powerful, the banter is relentless and the audience is happy. What’s not to like?’ ★★★★★ The Guardian

‘Exceptional songwriting – an album to match their formidable live reputation’ ★★★★ MOJO 

Date:Fri 11 Oct
Start time:7.30pm (Doors: 7pm)
Venue:Hall One
Availability:Sold out

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