peterborough united

Lightyears to play Willow Festival 2013

16 June 2013

We’ve been booked to play one of the Main Stages at Willow Festival 2013 in Peterborough on Sunday 14 July. Visit the GIGS page for full details.

We’ll be onstage at 7.30pm, although exactly which stage that will be is currently a secret. Even from us. We are hoping they don’t stick us behind the Portaloos. That was really quite embarrassing at Download.

Willow is one of the UK’s best indie music festivals, and attracted in excess of 50,000 visitors in 2012. My brother recently asked me if the dwarf from the film ‘Willow’ (respected tiny actor Billy Barty) would be present, and I replied that no, he would not, because he is dead.

The Lightyears actually have a long and illustrious history with the city of Peterborough, having released a charity single with the football club in 2008 and an Olympic anthem with a huge community choir last year. Click on the links for more:

The Lightyears release a single with Peterborough Football Club
The Lightyears perform Olympic anthem ‘There With You’ with 600 singers and drummers

We’ll be playing lots of our new material at the Willow Festival gig, and look forward to premiering it on a big festival stage. Our set will definitely include this one, Wait Forever, which in the video below we are performing next to a massive lake in Cumbria. For some reason.

Stadium gig this Saturday

29 April 2009

The LYs proving that they're stadium-ready, May '08We’ve just been invited back to London Road Stadium to play in front of a sell-out crowd of 12,000 people this Saturday afternoon before the Peterborough United Vs Swindon match. 

Peterborough United, who were promoted last May from League Two, have just achieved a consecutive promotion and so next season will be playing in the Championship. They wanted a party atmosphere and so they called on us! And we shall deliver.

We have an interesting history with PUFC, A.K.A. “The Posh”, with whom we released a charity single last year in aid of local organisation Free Kicks, which sets up days out in sport for sick and disadvantaged the children. The single raised a ton of cash and even reached #45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100. We were then invited to perform at the closing match of the season and, subsequently, at a pre-season friendly against Manchester United a few months later. Click here to read up on our adventures at Posh on the Tour Diary page.

We are already in talks with the club with regard to playing in the stadium more regularly during the ’09-’10 season. Watch this space for updates…

And congratulations to the Posh for a second promotion in a row!

Lightyears in FourFourTwo

4 September 2008

The Lightyears get a mention in this month’s edition of football magazine FourFourTwo following their collaboration with Peterborough United Football Club on the charity single Posh We Are.

The single, a re-working of the club’s 30 year-old terrace anthem, was released in May of this year to raise money for Peterborough-based sports charity Free Kicks. The record reached #45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100 Chart.  

See Page 123 of FourFourTwo’s October edition (part of the “Planet Football” feature) for the band’s appearance. 

Our sources suggest that this represents The Lightyears’ first appearance in the national sporting press. Hopes for the future include a double-page spread in the Subbuteo Almanac and an intimate and revealing exposé in the Gymkhana Gazette.

It’s not often that our stage has turf…

14 August 2008

The Lightyears play London Road StadiumOn Monday evening we played at London Road Football Stadium in front of Manchester United and around 12,000 people. 

For George and I this was a chance to perform to our biggest ever crowd, to mingle with some of the most famous sporting celebrities in the world and take a few more steps on the path to becoming a fully-fledged stadium rock band.

For Tony, however, it was an unrivalled opportunity to pick up some handy gardening tips from the groundsman concerning how one can most effectively prevent clover from colonising one’s lawn.

Each to their own, I suppose.


So, the stage was set, we’d assembled all our gear on the centre-circle and kick-off was due in just under two hours. The match was a pre-season friendly between the newly promoted Peterborough United and European Champions Manchester United.

We were keeping our instrument cases in the bowels of the stadium and, as we carried them through the labyrinthine corridors beneath the terraces, we passed a familiar-looking figure deep in conversation on his mobile.

It was Man United boss Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in English football history. Alex Ferguson! Using a mobile phone! Like a normal person! Unbelievable. I wonder who he was on the phone to? Probably the Queen, or Steven Spielberg. People often claim that well-known celebrities look smaller when you meet them in real life, although in this case I felt the opposite was true. He’s a big man, is Fergie. Quite an imposing presence. I briefly considered trying to engage him in conversation about St Mirren (St Mirren are the football team I support – a not-particularly-successful Scottish outfit with the dubious claim-to-fame of being the only club ever to have sacked Ferguson) but, as he seemed busy, I decided against it.

In the Peterborough FC office we checked the stadium’s computer system, which keeps a running count of exactly how many people have come through the turnstiles. The gates had only been open a few minutes but there was already a steady trickle of fans starting to fill the terraces. The tally was growing speedily and during the latter part of our set we would be playing to a near sell-out crowd.

Tony in the centre circleWhen it hit 6.30 and the place was starting to fill up a bit, we took to the stage (well, I say “stage” – it’s not often that our stage has turf) and busted out She’s The One, This House Will Burn and Beat Alive. The set seemed to be going down really well and the stadium was getting busier by the minute. We were playing Sleepless as the Peterborough team emerged from the tunnel and we followed this with a couple of stirring, high-energy covers Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and Jerry Lee’s Great Balls Of Fire

Man Utd appeared next and, I have to say, I found it a bit depressing that the cheer they elicited from the crowd entirely dwarfed the one we’d just heard for the home side. Such is the nature of United’s monopoly over world football, they can visit pretty much any town in the UK and outnumber the home fans. Rooney was ill and Ronaldo injured (for “injured” read “sunning himself up in St Tropez in a pair of tiny silver pants”) but otherwise Fergie was fielding virtually his first team. So, as we unleashed a hearty rendition of our penultimate song, Emily, the world’s most famous football team trained beside us. Rio Ferdinand was on the pitch, along with Carlos Tevez, and Dutch keeper Van Der Saar was waiting on the sidelines. Funnily enough this was not the first time we had crossed paths with Van Der Saar, as around this time last year we found ourselves eating breakfast next to him and the rest of the Dutch international team when we shared a hotel with them during the Korean tour [n.b. one day I hope to be able to name-drop people who aren’t football players – you know, Sting perhaps, or Alice Cooper – but, until then, Van Der Saar will have to do].

We finished on a cover of The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger, which got everyone going, and left the pitch to resounding applause from a 12,000-strong crowd. This, let me tell you, is quite a feeling. Backstage we were paid a quick visit by Barry Fry, Director Of Football at Peterborough FC and one of Tony’s personal heroes. The kick-off had been delayed by quarter of an hour and Barry explained that this was due to a few thousand fans who were still piling over the bridge on their way into the stadium. “They heard you boys playing and ran like billy-o to get inside and ‘ave a listen” he chuckled. Good old Bazza. 

Anyway, despite putting up an admirable fight, underdogs Peterborough eventually lost 2-0 to the Reds. Not too shabby, since many people were expecting a thrashing. 

So, with stadiums out the way, there’s only one direction to go in – amphitheatres. I’m thinking the Colesseum, perhaps, or the Hollywood Bowl. No point in doing things by halves.   

Chris Lightyear

LYs on the Beeb

11 July 2008

Chris and Tony playing DJWe just got back from an interview and live session on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. The station picked up on us a couple of months ago, around the time of the release of the Peterborough United song, and asked us into the studio to see if we had anything up our sleeves other than football songs. Which, thankfully, we do. 

The Audio Files is BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s weekly live music show. It’s hosted by Jeremy Sallis who, as it turns out, is a bit of a legend. You can call Jeremy “Jezza” if you like. Which we did. Jeremy had Jason Mraz on his show last week, so we had some fairly big shoes to fill, but I think we did a pretty decent job. During the off-air soundcheck, as we were bashing through a test-run of Emily, Jez had an enormous smile on his face. I haven’t seen a man that happy in ages. I figured at that stage we must have been doing something right.

After the sound-check we were given fifteen minutes of free time, which we decided to spend in The Flying Pig, the local pub. Following a sly half of London Pride and a quick pre-broadcast confab, we bombed it back round the corner to BBC studios for the start of the interview. 

Chris and JezDuring the show we played three live tunes (Emily, Sleepless and one of our new songs, Run) as well as chucking in a soupçon of delicious banter with Jeremy. Prior to the show we’d had a fairly in-depth debate on the perennial Mars Vs Snickers debate – Jeremy and George championing the notion that, by virtue of its classic status, the Mars Bar is the superior snack; Tony and myself coming down on the side of the peanut chief and former Marathon bar, Snickers. I pointed out that Mars Vs Snickers was a simple parody of your basic Beatles/Stones face-off, at which point George was audacious enough to suggest that a Snickers bar was basically the equivalent of trying to add an extra member to The Beatles – which would of course be pointless. Unless, as Tony pointed out, that extra member was Eric Clapton (Clapton being the peanut of the vintage rock world). If you see what I mean. I was actually mildly disappointed that the debate didn’t get more airtime on the show itself, although I suppose it’s not directly related to the Cambridge music scene.

Tony's car troubles...Anyhow, I digress. We finished our last song, plugged our upcoming gig at London Road Stadium for the Man Utd Vs Peterborough match and, as The Audio Files drew to a close, packed our instruments away. Tony took this opportunity to jump on Jez’s computer and check the status on his latest eBay bid – for a fully pimped-out motor home intended to double as the next Lightyears tour-bus. Meanwhile, as I was wrestling my keyboard back into its case, Jeremy asked me where the bass was coming from during our performances. “Oh,” I replied, “I play it live”. He was shocked. “I assumed it was programmed!”, he replied. I pointed out that most people assume our bass-lines are programmed and that, more importantly, the fact that I play them live whilst simultaneously bashing out complicated piano and vocal lines didn’t necessarily seem to impress the girls in the way that I originally hoped it might. This provided a natural segue into the story of how I once told a girl in a bar that “playing the piano is very much like making love to a beautiful woman”, with little to no apparent irony. 

It’s true. I really did do that.

But that’s another story.

Chris Lightyear

ps. click to listen to The Lightyears BBC Cambridge interview.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire – Cambridge – 10/07/08

10 July 2008

How was it for us?

Back at the BBC. The Beeb. A great institution and one of our spiritual homes – a place where people behave in a thoroughly British manner, there’s always lots of tea for everyone and they let you nip to the pub for a sneaky half before your interview. Jeremy Sallis (“Jezza” to us now) originally asked us into the Radio Cambridgeshire studio back in April after playing the Peterborough United charity single Posh We Are on his show, I think partly out of curiosity as to what we had in our repertoire beyond football club anthems. His weekly music show The Audio Files always features a live band, sometimes local, sometimes national and occasionally international (he had Jason Mraz on last week). We played Emily, Sleepless and new song Run, which seemed to be a particular favourite of Jez’s. There was a bit of chat about our Glastonbury experience, the INDY Awards and our association with Peterborough United – which I’m hoping didn’t dent our popularity in the Cambridge area, given that the two teams are bitter rivals – and everyone went home happy. You can listen again to the interview on the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire website.  

Chris Lightyear

How was it for you?

Did you listen? Got an opinion? Want to write a review? Hit the comments box at the foot of the page.

Gig Details

LYs to play in front of European Champions Man Utd

20 June 2008

The Lightyears play London Road Stadium, May 2008On Monday 4 August The Lightyears will be playing at London Road Stadium for the Manchester United Vs Peterborough United pre-season friendly. The band will be performing in the centre-circle just before kick-off, whilst the two teams train around them.   

The band made their debut performance at London Road on Saturday 3 May at the last match of the season against Darlington and have been invited back to Peterborough’s ground on the strength of their performance that day. Watch of a clip from the gig here.

The Lightyears have a long-standing relationship with Peterborough United following their collaboration with the club on the charity single release of Posh We Are (the PUFC anthem) back in May. The song reached #45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100 Chart.

The Posh were promoted at the end of the 07/08 season and the buzz this created has enabled them to schedule in pre-season friendlies with some of the country’s top clubs including West Ham and, of course, Man Utd.

This is an opportunity for LYs fans to hear a half-hour set of the band’s most familiar tunes played in a stadium setting to a crowd of approaching 10,000 people – surrounded by some of the most famous footballers in the world!

If you’re planning to come along, be aware that this match will sell out quickly. Tickets are on sale now from

Go on. Come and see Ronaldo kick a football at Tony’s head. Priceless.

Lightyears to play to stadium crowd

1 May 2008

This week The Lightyears have released a charity single with Peterborough United – and the band will be promoting the release with a gig in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,000 people at London Road Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Charity record “Posh We Are” is a re-working of the club’s 1973 anthem and is available now on download from iTunes and Napster. All proceeds from the song will go to sports charity Free Kicks.

To purchase the song visit or download it directly from iTunes here.

The song is currently charting in The iTunes Plus Top 100 at Number 45.

Lightyears to release charity record

8 April 2008

Peterborough United players recording 'Posh We Are'At the end of April The Lightyears are releasing a charity record in collaboration with Peterborough United (A.K.A. “The Posh”). The single is a re-working of the team’s anthem Posh We Are and all profits will go to the Free Kicks Foundation, which organises days out in sport for sick and disadvantaged children.

The new version of Posh We Are, written by Peterborough fans Brian Paine and Tony Pickering in 1973, has been arranged and performed by The Lightyears and also features hundreds of voices from the local community – including Peterborough United players, Posh fans, The Voyager School choir and the Voyager U14 football team. The Posh are currently top of League 2 and if the team win this Saturday then promotion is guaranteed. Local press have shown huge interest in the project and this has created a city-wide buzz.

The Lightyears and 250 students from The Voyager School will be performing the song in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,000 people at London Road Stadium on the last day of the season (Saturday 3 May).

This release represents the pilot project for a brand-new initiative called Sparks. Sparks is a collaboration between professional musicians, education and local communities that is responding directly to recent changes in both the music industry and the education system. The project has been making waves in government, education and media circles for several months now and an article in The Guardian, covering The Lightyears’ work with Sparks, is due for publication within the coming fortnight. Details to follow.

Find out more at 

Posh We Are will be available for download from numerous major digital outlets from Monday 28 April. Watch this space for updates.