Stornoway return to the stage for the first time in 8 years and announce a very special Bexhill date as a part of their Autumn tour!

During lockdown, in 2020, as the world turned inwards and regrouped, Stornoway did the same.

“We started remembering the reason why we had made music together in the first place,” says Ouin, the keyboard player, “which was always just a simple, instinctive desire to create things.”









6pm Building opens

6.45pm Auditorium Doors

7.30pm YIJIA


All timings approximate and subject to change


More about the album

During their original run, Stornoway achieved immense critical acclaim, fan adoration and two Top 20 albums, one of which (their debut Beachcomber’s Windowsill) was certified Silver. But in 2016 they announced that they were ending on a high (2015’s Bonxie being “their best album yet” according to The Guardian), with the following year’s farewell tour, although their rapturously received WOMAD set (“a magnificent farewell”, The Spectator) was delayed until 2022. They still earned new fans, however, when their version of The Only Way Is Up exceeded 2 million streams after being used in an advert and in various TV shows. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Briggs stopped songwriting altogether and instead pursued a new career passion managing a wetland for water voles and lapwings.


Nonetheless, Brian and bandmates Jon Ouin (keyboard) and Oli Steadman (bass) stayed in torch, and step-by-step they reconnected with the love of creating music that had first inspired them to start a band. With Brian writing in a makeshift studio on a remote coastal hilltop and Jon readying a series of ideas of his own, eventually an entirely unexpected fourth Stornoway album emerged – Dig The Mountain!, which is set to be released on September 8th via Cooking Vinyl. The album is launched alongside the new track Trouble With The Green – the first new music in eight years.


Stornoway introduce the album with the new song Trouble With The Green. It’s the glory of sunrise (or sunset) set to music, as painted by a keen-eyed but perhaps overwhelmed observer. It’s a synaesthetic wonder, rippling with sights and sounds and birdsong. In contrast to its uplifting sound, it’s a whirlwind of tumultuous emotions which can be succinctly summarised by its striking lyric, “Red sun, low on the page. You can decide if it’s going up or down…”


Brian explains;

“I have a friend and fellow bird lover with ADHD and her mind fizzes with ideas and colours. She recently managed to escape from a very dark place fighting an addiction, and I was so scared for her when I painted this song. I tried to get inside her head, to speak to her, balancing the texture and beauty in nature with an intense bass and drum part, representing the dark undertow of her addiction.”


The trio all contributed to the record from their own locations: Brian in southwest Wales, Oli in southeast London and Jon in Oxford, with Mike Lindsay of acid folk pioneers Tunng on production duties. While Oli’s brother Rob (drums) isn’t part of this new chapter of Stornoway having started a new life in America, so Mike Monaghan (Gaz Coombes, Saint Etienne) contributes drums throughout.


The album is packed with inspiring collaborations. Sam Lee features on the sinuous, woodsy folk-funk of The Navigator; Chinese musician Yijia Tu contributes gorgeous vocals to Stornoway’s rootsy take on Björk’s It’s Not Up To You; Guillemot Fyfe Dangerfield sings on Anwen, a song inspired by Brian’s daughter’s joyful dancing; former Black Mountains poet Paul Henry wrote the lyrics for Kicking The Stone; and Gareth Bonello (The Gentle Good) wrote the original version of The Fisherman before it was reinvented by Stornoway.


And of course, Stornoway live for nature and conservation in a way that no other band do. Even before Brian’s experiences in the wetlands, the band might be found offering birdwatching trips as a special extra for album bundles, or finding ways to benefit a variety of wildlife charities, or even appearing on BBC’s Springwatch. The latest development comes next month when Brian hosts a series of Singing With Nightingales events in Gloucestershire.

More about the band

“Stornoway did not exist. I was creating with no goal or plan and it was exhilarating. I am a playful person and I got completely lost in the adventure of songwriting, not knowing where a song might take me, what feelings I might discover and how they might turn into sound. Every song was an emotional and physical journey I was only partly in control of. Once I got the taste of a song forming, I was completely hooked. I would disappear in it for days, emerging from the shed as high as a kite, with the sea roaring in the distance and no light but the blinking stars.”

Brian Briggs, his shed, a hilltop, The Gower peninsula, Wales, January 2023


Like the man said: before they soared back with the sky-scraping, heart-filling, life-giving kaleidoscopic wonder that is their fourth album, Dig The Mountain! – a record also peopled by the nightingale whisperer, a former Guillemot, and a Chinese superstar and her guzheng (is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s a zither) – Stornoway did not exist.

The beloved, nature-celebrating band, formed in Oxford in 2005, had what we might call a glorious deciduous decade: a burst of colour and life, spread across debut 4AD album, the silver-selling ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’ (2010), Tales From Terra Firma (2013) (“a triumphantly expansive album” – The Guardian *****) and ‘Bonxie’ (2015) (“their best album yet” – The Guardian *****).

But after numerous international tours (Europe, Australia, America and back again) and various memorable festival appearances – and, perhaps best of all, an unforgettable show in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides – by 2015 the bloom was off. It was time to tune back into the natural landscape.


“When the dust settled, I closed and locked the door on songwriting and Stornoway,” Briggs remembers. “I swapped my guitar for a chainsaw, and got to work managing a wetland for water voles and lapwings.”

But the band’s roots, while dormant, were never dead. From their goodbye tour onwards, concluding with a long-delayed-by-Covid finale at WOMAD (“a magnificent farewell” – The Spectator), Briggs, keyboard player Jon Ouin and bassist Oli Steadman stayed in touch. They stayed in touch, too, with Oli’s drummer sibling Rob, even though he’d found love on a Stornoway US tour and was now settled in America. The band were nourished by friendship, and by musical and environmental kinship, and by the biomass of fan enthusiasm.


Meanwhile, in 2020, when the world stopped, something stirred. Ouin credits, firstly, the cleanliness and friendliness of the foursome’s split (“we were just naturally slightly pulling apart at the time”) as “laying the ground” for a regrowth. In lockdown, as the world turned inwards and regrouped, the musicians were doing the same. “We started remembering the reason why we made music together in the first place,” says the keyboard player, “which was always just a simple, instinctive desire to create things.”


With The Gower devoid of visitors, Briggs, elementally exposed in his makeshift studio in his shed on a coastal hilltop , senses buffeted by the roar of the sea, felt a connection to “that sense of wildness, which I always have always found really inspiring”. For the first time in years, the music was moving in him, stirred by the emptiness and wildness.

“I’ve always sought that in my writing,” he continues. “When I used to write in Oxford, I’d go into my campervan and imagine I was parked on a cliff instead! And it’s still about finding that space where no one can hear what you’re up to. I find that liberating.”

Even more liberating was the desire to make music again – and make it for, let’s see, that’s right, no reason or purpose. Expectations? None. Deadlines? Non-existent.

Stornoway? Again, like that man said, also non-existent.


“Once a few demos were taking shape, I began to wonder what I might do with them, and whether to consider a solo album,” acknowledges Briggs. But a primal pull was there, too. “I knew I wanted them to sound bigger and better, so inevitably I sent them to Jon, hoping that he would consider working his magic on them. In fact, he did far more than that – he also sent me a clutch of his own wonderful sketches, which gave rise to more new collaborative songs.”


Oli Steadman was also soon onboard. But sadly his brother wasn’t – time, tide and the Atlantic were against Rob re-joining, although his bandmates insist the door always remains open. Over 2020, 2021 and 2022, as lockdowns and restrictions waxed and waned, as the world tilted on its axis, revealing nature as both freshly wondrous and mortally imperilled, the Stornoway 3 worked on Stornoway #4.


With Briggs in southwest Wales, Steadman in southeast London and Ouin in east Oxford, the threesome bounced songs and ideas between themselves. At the centre of this triangle of gladness was producer Mike Lindsay of acid folk pioneers Tunng.


“He definitely challenged a few things,” says Ouin, approvingly, of their musical fellow-traveller, “which is exactly what we wanted to happen: to do something completely fresh. The little touches that he added at the mixing stage are full of character. It’s been a really perfect fit.”


Playing with instrumentation and melody, words and texture, the resulting songs are buoyant and windswept, rich in colour and natural light, but with an undertow of longing borne of grief for our disappearing nature. The songs inhabit the liminal world between sea and land, and Ouin’s arrangements never fail to immerse you deeply into the wild place that is uniquely Stornoway’s. Joining the party were Cooking Vinyl, the agreement to release Stornoway’s comeback album a no-brainer for the discerning label that had, in 2020, released their live album The Farewell Show.


Opening track Trouble with The Green is the glory of sunrise (or sunset) set to music, as painted by a keen-eyed but perhaps overwhelmed observer. It’s a synaesthetic wonder, rippling with sights and sounds and birdsong.

“We wanted to showcase that colour and that playfulness across the album,” says Briggs by way of explaining its position as Dig the Mountain!’s own dawn chorus. “It has quite a few twists and turns and different sounds. And it is perhaps a slightly darker mood than the album as a whole.”

And that’s because, he expands, that sense of wonder and play is a misdirection.

“It’s a metaphor for someone struggling with drug addiction, a friend of mine who’s had a pretty rough couple of years. She’s someone with ADHD and an incredibly colourful person. Her head’s always fizzing with different ideas, in different directions, and I wanted to bring some of that into the song.”


Briggs’ knack for a melody the milkman could whistle or a mockingbird could mimic is front and centre on Bag in the Wind.

“The song was born from just noodling around on the guitar, playing muted chords with all my fingertips just resting gently on the strings. I recorded two guitars and panned them fully in stereo which gave the close-up effect you hear in the verses.”

But he’s quick to pay credit where credit’s due, acknowledging the song’s part-origins in on a second-hand CD picked up at a record fair in Oxford Town Hall. “The vocal melody was partly inspired by the recording of the Agisanang Choir you can hear at the beginning and end of the song, singing ‘Tschelane’ in the Tswana language. I found the song on a favourite compilation of mine called African Renaissance Sampler, Music from the South African Broadcasting Corporation Archives.”


Meanwhile, if you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of, well, to be honest, not that big a surprise – bird-whisperer and folk musician Sam Lee, collaborating on the sinuous, woodsy folk-funk of The Navigator.

“He brought me quite a lot of inspiration, generally” says Briggs. In 2019 the Stornoway man attended one of Lee’s woodland sessions, Singing with Nightingales. “He’ll invite a musician into the woods for a feather-and-flesh interaction that Briggs found “incredibly spiritual. I feel grateful to Sam for giving me the battery boost of that experience.”


Birds of a feather: Lee was an obvious person to contribute to Dig The Mountain!, both in the recording and when it takes wing: in collaboration with Lee’s Nest Collective, Stornoway will be performing a series of outdoor, amidst-the-trees shows this summer. Insert “branching out”/”going out on a limb” jokes here. The flora and fauna of Dig The Mountain! don’t stop there. There’s a magical cover of Björk’s It’s Not Up To You, the chirruping electronics of the Vespertine original replaced by acoustic rootsiness, with gorgeous vocals from Yijia Tu.

“Yi Jia is an astonishing musician,” begins Steadman. “In 2017 I’d seen her perform Mongolian throat-singing at SOAS. She’d traveled there from Ghanzhou to study musicology, having already conquered the Chinese pop charts, including a debut album in collaboration with Grammy award winners. She & I attended WOMAD 2019 which led to her returning as a performer in 2022. Stornoway were there to watch, and her virtuosity left the whole audience speechless. We ran backstage to ask whether she might add guest vocals and guzheng, which you can hear in the verses.”


Step forward, too, drummer Mike Monaghan (Gaz Coombes, St Etienne), beating in from his home in Berlin; former Guillemot Fyfe Dangerfield, who sings on Anwen, a song inspired by Briggs’ daughter’s joyful dancing; Black Mountains poet Paul Henry, who wrote the words for Kicking The Stone; and Gareth Bonello, AKA The Gentle Good, a brilliant Welsh folk artist and fellow bird-lover. The haunting loneliness of The Fisherman is one of his compositions but, as Briggs explains, “we’ve twisted it away from Gareth’s version slightly by adapting the verse lyrics and chorus melody, and layering my vocal arrangement on top of Jon’s Indian harmonium and Oli’s double bass.”


In a neat twist, Bonello’s grandmother used to live in the farm which eventually became the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Wetland Centre in Llanelli – Briggs’ place of work. That’s nature and nurture right there, which is more than apt when we consider the welcome return of a group more connected to the natural world than any other British musicians. With a very personal understanding of the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crisis facing us, Stornoway go where no other bands go: not just preaching conservation, but living and loving it, too.


As much is made directly and movingly clear by final track Excelsior, a beautiful elegy inspired by the devastating change in British woodlands resulting from Ash Dieback, an airborne fungal disease which kills the tree, starting from the tips and spreading inexorably back into the heartwood. “There was a mighty ash in the valley behind my house,” says Briggs, “but it succumbed to Ash Dieback. Their small leaves and short growing season let more light into the woodland floor than any other tree species. The ecology of British woodlands will never be the same again.”

But where there’s heart, and art, there’s hope. And there’s more, much more, to be uncovered in Dig The Mountain!, onwards and upwards from the origins of the album title (courtesy of another “guest”, Briggs’ infant son), via an encounter with a beached whale, to Stornoway’s plans to tour this summer in as green a way as possible – and with the fan enthusiasm already tendrilling out towards them.


“It’s thrilling to see the response from fans each time,” says Steadman, reflecting on Stornoway’s smattering of rare & secretive live appearances over the last few years. “Those vital moments are when we come face-to-face with just how much people continue to love Stornoway, and believe in it.”

Booking information

Please note that Booking Fees apply on the following transactions:

Online: Tickets booked online are subject to booking fees when purchased through our website. E-tickets for print at at home are emailed instantly on the account you have registered with DLWP and are free of charge. They can also be downloaded from our website within My Account.

Telephone: £3.50 per transaction + £2 postage or free collection at the Box Office.

In Person: There are currently no charges for booking tickets in person.

There is a £2 charge to post tickets.

We strongly recommend ticket buyers to take out Ticket Protection insurance with Secure My Booking available when you book your tickets at check out.


Please note that we are only able to post tickets within the UK. If you live overseas please select box office collection or print at home tickets. Tickets purchased for post will be sent 10 – 14 days before the show date.

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Eat before the show

Book online: Pre-show dining can be booked online as an add-on when purchasing tickets for selected events. You will be purchasing a ticket to guarantee your meal before the show.
Please note you must be a ticket holder to the show to book pre-show dining.

Already booked your tickets? If you’ve already booked tickets for a show and would like to add dining, please contact Box Office:

On the night: If you have pre-booked please come to the bar to order from the gig menu and sit at one of the reserved tables.

No re-entry

Please be aware that we operate no re-entry for gigs. This means that once you have entered the building, you cannot go out and re-enter. This policy is in line with other major music venues across the UK and put in place on police advice. No re-entry is clearly signposted as you come through security on the front door.
There is a fenced-off area on the terrace for people who go out to smoke or vape.

Staying locally

There are plenty of welcoming and good value B&Bs & boutique hotels in Bexhill. The De La Warr Pavilion regularly uses the following:

Travel information
  • By Rail
    Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
    There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
    Visit for up-to-date train travel information.
  • Taxis
    Town Taxis:  01424 211 511
    Parkhurst Taxis:  01424 733 456
  • By Car
    If driving from the London area:
    Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
    Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
    From the Brighton area:
    Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
  • Parking
    Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 7pm. After this time parking is free.

Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.

Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.

Please contact the Box Office on to arrange a visit.

Facilities for disabled visitors

  • Ramped access at the front of the building
  • A low counter at the Box Office and  Information Desk
  • Disabled toilets on two floors
  • A lift to all floors
  • Accessible galleries on both floors
  • An accessible Café
  • Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
  • Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
  • Ramped access into the Studio
  • Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.

Facilities for blind or visually-impaired

  • Large print season brochures

Facilities for the hard-of-hearing

  • An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
  • British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.