Omagh Punk

Control Zone, outside Omagh Courthouse, late 1970s

The accepted narrative is that local punk centred on Derry and Belfast; and that of course is largely true.  However, it would be a shame to not at least have a footnote reference to punk in smaller towns, such as Omagh.

During the period 1977 – 1984, punk and new wave was an important and vibrant part of Omagh’s culture.  Omagh had several decent punk bands during that time (Control Zone, see above, were early stalwarts), and lads from Omagh CBS (aged 12-15) used to play local gigs and there were regular “battles of the bands” off the back of an old lorry in O’Kane Park; later on in a local hotel:

Battle of the Punks, 1981

 Whilst the mineral bar aspect was of course in practice bypassed, can you imagine any similar event needing to be ‘mineral bar only’ nowadays?  Kids forming a band and getting up on stage nowadays?  They wouldn’t even be allowed.  

‘Transmission’ by Joy Division was a particular favourite (it rocked and was simple to play).  Omagh bands of that era included <The Excellerators>, <The Problems> and <The Crocodile Tears>.

At that time, there were around half a dozen record stores.  Not a huge amount of records were bought; but they were great places to hang out!  Omagh now has just one vinyl record store, the excellent <Boneyard Records> which still flies the flag for decent music.  

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