'This is history!' - 25 facts about the Oasis concerts at Knebworth Park 25 years ago

Oasis pictured August 9, 1996, ahead of their performances at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire. 

Oasis pictured August 9, 1996, ahead of their performances at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Oasis played Knebworth Park near Stevenage 25 years ago this month.

So what else happened in the summer of 1996?

A quarter of a century ago, John Major was Prime Minister.

Spice Girls were top of the UK charts with debut single Wannabe.

Oasis pictured August 9, 1996 ahead of their performances at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire.

Oasis pictured August 9, 1996 ahead of their performances at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire. Documentary Oasis Knebworth 1996 will debut in cinemas worldwide on Thursday, September 23. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Germany had just won the 1996 Euros – after beating England on penalties at Wembley in the semi-finals.

Alex Ferguson's Manchester United lifted the Premier League title.

Independence Day was No.1 at the cinema box office, just weeks after the first Mission: Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise had also raked in the money. 

Photo of Liam Gallagher performing live onstage, with Oasis logo behind him.

Photo of Liam Gallagher performing live onstage, with Oasis logo behind him. - Credit: Roberta Parkin/Redferns /Getty Images

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But for many, the high point of that year was when the Gallagher brothers played two record-breaking nights at Knebworth Park in front of a quarter of a million people.

A special live album and DVD/Blu-ray, entitled ‘Oasis Knebworth 1996’, will be released on November 19 via Big Brother Recordings Ltd. Formats include 2CD and triple LP on heavyweight vinyl with the digital version of the album featuring HD audio.

The DVD will be released as a triple disc set including the ‘Oasis Knebworth 1996’ cinematic documentary, plus both nights of the live concert in full, with the Blu-ray in single disc format.

Here's 25 facts about Oasis' era-defining Knebworth 1996 gigs.


1. When were the Oasis Knebworth concerts?

Oasis' Noel Gallagher on stage at Knebworth Park on Saturday, August 10, 1996. Picture by Jill Furmanovsky

Oasis' Noel Gallagher on stage at Knebworth Park on Saturday, August 10, 1996. - Credit: © Jill Furmanovsky

Oasis played two Knebworth concerts on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11, 1996, in front of a combined audience of 250,000 fans.

Robbie Williams went one better in 2003 by playing three successive nights at Knebworth.


2. How much did Oasis tickets cost?

Tickets for the iconic gigs cost £22.50.

They were soon selling for much more once the two nights had sold out.

Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Saturday, August 10, 1996

Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Saturday, August 10, 1996 - Credit: Archant


3. When did tickets go on sale?

Tickets for Oasis at Knebworth went on sale at 9am on Saturday, May 11, 1996 – just three months before the huge concerts. 

Manchester United beat Liverpool 1-0 in the FA Cup Final on the same day. 

An Oasis poster for the band's Knebworth concert on Saturday, August 10, 1996.

An Oasis poster for the band's Knebworth concert on Saturday, August 10, 1996. - Credit: Alan Davies


4. How did you get tickets for the gig?

In an age before booking tickets online, you had to phone up ticket lines or buy them in person from official outlets.

Queues formed outside local record shops and ticket offices overnight ahead of tickets going on sale, and fans around the world spent the day on their landline phones trying to get through to constantly engaged booking lines. 

The two gigs broke box office records with reportedly one in every 20 people in the UK applying for tickets.

With an estimated 2.5 million people applying, Oasis could have sold out a further 18 Knebworth dates.

Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Sunday, August 11, 1996

Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Sunday, August 11, 1996 - Credit: Archant


5. What time did the gigs start?

Pictured August 9, 1996, Liam Gallagher from Oasis driving a golf cart ahead of their performances at Knebworth

Pictured August 9, 1996, Liam Gallagher from Oasis driving a golf cart ahead of their performances at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Gates opened at noon and the show started around 2pm.

There was a 11pm curfew, but people were still queuing to get trains home from Stevenage station in the early hours of the morning, while coaches took hours to get out of the Knebworth car park.

The gigs even had their own official Oasis radio station for the weekend – Radio Supernova. Fans could tune in for the latest concert and travel info within a 20 mile radius of the site. 

Oasis concert guide for the band's 1996 Knebworth gigs

Oasis concert guide for the band's 1996 Knebworth gigs - Credit: Archant


6. Who supported Oasis on the Saturday?

Support acts for Oasis on Saturday, August 10 were The Bootleg Beatles, The Chemical Brothers, Ocean Colour Scene, Manic Street Preachers and The Prodigy.

Show times for the first Oasis gig at Knebworth on August 10, 1996.

Show times for the first Oasis gig at Knebworth on August 10, 1996. - Credit: Alan Davies

Oasis showtime poster at Knebworth in 1996

Oasis showtime poster at Knebworth in 1996 - Credit: Archant


7. Who was on the Oasis bill on the Sunday?

Playing the Sunday were the likes of Kula Shaker, Dreadzone, Cast, The Charlatans, and Manic Street Preachers.

Other than Oasis, the Manics were the only band to play both days.

Oasis show times for the band's Knebworth gig on August 11, 1996.

Oasis show times for the band's Knebworth gig on August 11, 1996. - Credit: Alan Davies


8. Singer's tribute

The Charlatans' keyboardist Rob Collins died in a car crash in Wales just three weeks before the gig.

Looking back on Knebworth, Tim Burgess, the band's frontman, recently tweeted: "We took the decision to play the gig."

Primal Scream keyboard player Martin Duffy stood in at Knebworth.

Oasis singer Liam Gallagher dedicated (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? album track Cast No Shadow to Rob Collins, saying "live forever, mate".


9. Some Might Say...

Pictured on August 10, 1996, Liam Gallagher performing with Oasis at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire. 

Pictured on August 10, 1996, Liam Gallagher performing with Oasis at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Of the concerts, Liam Gallagher says: “Knebworth for me was the Woodstock of the 90’s.

"It was all about the music and the people. I can’t remember much about it, but I’ll never forget it. It was Biblical.”


10. Star guest list

Among the celebrity guests at Knebworth were Kate Moss, Jarvis Cocker, Chris Evans, Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall, then EastEnders star Martine McCutcheon, and Brookside's Anna Friel. 

There were thousands in the guest hospitality area both nights.

A hospitality patch for the Oasis concert at Knebworth in 1996

A hospitality patch for the Oasis concert at Knebworth in 1996 - Credit: Supplied by Knebworth House - Henry Lytton Cobbold


11. 'This is history!'

Noel Gallagher said during the concerts: "This is history. This is history. Right here. Right now. This is history!"

Liam Gallagher responded: "I thought this was Knebworth!"


12. What did the band open with?

After coming on stage to the sounds of The Swamp Song, the band belted out Columbia from debut album Definitely Maybe, followed by Acquiesce and debut single Supersonic.

The programme for Oasis' 1996 Knebworth gigs.

The programme for Oasis' 1996 Knebworth gigs. - Credit: Alan Davies


13. What was Oasis' Knebworth set?

The band's setlist both nights included Columbia, Acquiesce, Supersonic, Hello, Some Might Say, Roll With It, Slide Away, Morning Glory, Round Are Way, Cigarettes & Alcohol, Whatever, Cast No Shadow, Wonderwall, The Masterplan, Don't Look Back in Anger, My Big Mouth, It's Gettin' Better (Man!!), Live Forever, Champagne Supernova and I Am The Walrus.

The Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996

The Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996. - Credit: Supplied by Knebworth House - Henry Lytton Cobbold


14. You gotta Roll without it!

There was one classic Oasis song missing from the band's Knebworth set – Definitely Maybe's opening track.

Noel Gallagher says: “I can’t believe we never played Rock ‘n’ Roll Star!”

The Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996 seen from Knebworth House

The Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996 seen from Knebworth House - Credit: Supplied by Knebworth House - Henry Lytton Cobbold


15. What new tracks did Oasis play at Knebworth?

Riding high following the multi-platinum success of second album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis debuted two new tracks at Knebworth – My Big Mouth and It's Gettin' Better (Man!!).

Both later appeared on third album, Be Here Now.



16. Be Here Now

The special three CD 2016 re-release Chasing The Sun edition of Oasis' third album Be Here Now includes My Big Mouth recorded live at Knebworth Park in 1996.

Oasis album Be Here Now

The special three CD re-release of Oasis album Be Here Now included My Big Mouth recorded live at Knebworth Park in 1996. - Credit: Alan Davies


17. Rock 'n' Roll (guest) Star

The Stone Roses guitarist John Squire joined the band on stage at Knebworth for the encore of Champagne Supernova.


18. 'I am the Egg Man...'

After The Bootleg Beatles had opened the Saturday, Oasis closed their set with a cover of The Beatles' I Am the Walrus.

Altogether now: "I am the Egg Man, they are the Egg Men, I am the walrus, Goo goo ga joob!"


19. Time Flies...

The album cover of Oasis greatest hits Time Flies... 1994-2009 features a picture of the band's 1996 Knebworth concerts.

The album cover of Oasis greatest hits Time Flies... 1994-2009 features a picture of the band's 1996 Knebworth concerts. - Credit: Oasis / Big Brother Recordings

A picture looking out from the stage at the Knebworth gigs was used for the cover of Oasis compilation Time Flies… 1994–2009.

The greatest hits CD reach No.1, becoming the group's eighth UK chart-topping album.


20. Boris writes...

Boris Johnson, now Prime Minister, wrote about the Knebworth concerts in The Daily Telegraph and the comparisons with The Beatles.

He concluded: "Oasis? It's a mirage."

Boris Johnson writing about the 1996 Oasis gigs at Knebworth

Boris Johnson writing about the 1996 Oasis gigs at Knebworth for The Daily Telegraph. - Credit: Alan Davies


21. What's a Wonderwall?

Boris Johnson also wrote in his Telegraph column: "As for the smash hit Wonderwall – what on earth is it, Wonderwall?

"Some kind of Polyfilla? One is left completely in the dark."


22. From support acts to headliners

Two groups that supported Oasis at Knebworth in 1996 have since gone on to headline festivals at the same Hertfordshire venue.

The Prodigy take to the Apollo stage at the 2014 Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth Park.

The Prodigy take to the Apollo stage at the 2014 Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth Park. - Credit: Kevin Lines / Archant

The Prodigy topped the bill on the opening Friday night of the 2014 Sonisphere Festival.

Iron Maiden and Metallica played the following nights.

Ocean Colour Scene in the green room at Cool Britannia Festival 2018. Picture: KEVIN RICHARDS

Ocean Colour Scene in the green room at Cool Britannia Festival 2018. - Credit: Picture: KEVIN RICHARDS

Ocean Colour Scene headlined the 2018 Cool Britannia Festival at Knebworth Park. 

Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene at Cool Britannia Festival 2018. Picture: KEVIN RICHARDS

Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene at Cool Britannia Festival 2018. - Credit: Picture: KEVIN RICHARDS


23. Concert film

Oasis Knebworth 1996 will be released in cinemas worldwide from Thursday, September 23.

Oasis Knebworth 1996 will be released in cinemas worldwide from Thursday, September 23. - Credit: Sony Music Entertainment / Black Dog Films

While Oasis have since split up, and the Gallagher brothers are hardly on the best of terms, both Liam and Noel are executive producers of a forthcoming documentary celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Knebworth gigs. 

Feature length documentary Oasis Knebworth 1996 will be released in cinemas worldwide from Thursday, September 23.

Directed by Grammy Award-winner Jake Scott, it is built around extensive, and never-before-seen archive concert and backstage footage from the event.

Tickets for Oasis Knebworth 1996 will go on sale on Tuesday, August 10 – marking 25 years to the day since the first night of the landmark concerts.

A full live album and DVD/Blu-ray, also titled ‘Oasis Knebworth 1996’, is due for release on November 19 via Big Brother Recordings Ltd. 


24. Champagne Supernova... in the bath!

Noel Gallagher had a bath in the Queen Elizabeth bedroom bathtub, which is a four poster tub. Knebworth House custodian Henry Lytton Cobbold recalls: "As it was a big weekend for them, my dad brought him a bottle of Champagne to have in the bath.

"Noel’s talked about this since saying he was brought a bottle of Champagne by a liveried servant when in fact it was his Lordship."

Henry Lytton Cobbold

Henry Lytton Cobbold - Credit: Archant


25. Leaving party

The band signed the Knebworth House visitors’ book before leaving. Henry Lytton Cobbold told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: "Noel signed ‘Noel Gallagher – clean!’

"Then his bodyguard wrote ‘Dirty!’ 

"We should have perhaps kept the soap."


Oasis Knebworth 1996 will be released in cinemas worldwide from Thursday, September 23.

Oasis Knebworth 1996 will be released in cinemas worldwide from Thursday, September 23. - Credit: Sony Music Entertainment / Black Dog Films

Feature length documentary Oasis Knebworth 1996 is released in cinemas worldwide from Thursday, September 23. Tickets go on sale from Tuesday, August 10. Sign up for information at www.oasisknebworth1996.com 


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