Bristol’s Thekla to celebrate 40th anniversary with five days of live music and new book

Some of the most memorable artists and performers are returning to the boat
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Thekla in Bristol will mark its 40th anniversary next month with five days of live music and a new archive book. 

A series of gigs and club nights from May 1 to 5 will see some of boat’s most memorable artists and perform return to celebrate 40 years.

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Alongside this, The Complete History of Thekla will document the boat’s history and legacy - dating back from 1958 all the way to the present day. 

Taking to the stage will be My Nu Leng, who were original residents at Thekla’s 51°27' club night when it started back in 2011, and regular 51°27' guests Kahn & Neek, who also hosted their own “Bandalu” club events on the boat. 

Closing the weekend on May 5 are Beatles Dub Club & Friends including the Mad Apple Circus horn section, the Bloco B samba dancers and the Binbag Wisdom vocalists. 

Also joining throughout the bumper weekend are chart-topping Strangers singer Kenya Grace, English punk-rock duo Soft Play (DJ set), alternative-indie band The K’s, space-rockers Henge and a special Pop Confessional with Twisted Time Machine. 

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Alex Black, general manager at Thekla, said: “Celebrating 40 years in Bristol is absolutely incredible. Thekla stands for so much more than a music venue; it is an institution testament to Bristol’s vibrant culture.

“Each band that plays and all the up-and-coming DJs all tell a story and add to the rich history of the city’s music scene.

“We can’t wait for people to get their hands on the book that documents the legacy and passion of Thekla.

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He added: “The vessel’s 40th anniversary also comes at a pivotal time for independent music venues, acting as a space for growth for emerging artists and inspiration to grassroots venues that are faced with rising operational costs.

“Celebrating four decades of Thekla signifies the power of culture and arts, and how important it is to the city and for the city.”

Having made its way into Bristol’s Floating Harbour in 1983, Thekla, which was then called the Old Profanity Showboat, quickly anchored itself within the cultural heart of Bristol, hosting hundreds of theatre, cabaret, comedy and live music events.  Welcoming a host of the country’s finest artists, the Old Profanity Showboat closed its doors in August 1986 - and it was the punk scene in the late 80s, and Massive Attack, Roni Size and Portishead in the 90s, that shaped the Thekla that’s known and loved today. 

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