DFA Staff Pick: Ozzy at the Avoniel (1986)

DFA Staff Pick: Ozzy at the Avoniel (1986)

Date: 28/06/2024 10:41

In this month’s DFA staff pick we hear from some concerned Belfast mothers ahead of Ozzy Osbourne’s two gigs at the Avoniel Leisure Centre in February 1986.

News at the time reported 150 protesters outside the gigs holding placards reading “Stop the Sin Tour” and “Ozzy’s habits are sick”

The 1980s saw significant moral panic around heavy metal music, with fears that it could corrupt youth and promote anti-social behaviour. Ozzy, known for his wild persona and infamous incidents (such as biting the head off a bat), became a focal point for these concerns.

The spokesperson for the protests, Rev. David McIlveen stated “I have looked into the background of the singer and his concerts are evil personified. He fits into the category of the undesirables.” 

Despite the protests the shows went ahead and were a success, with Ozzy “appearing behind a barrage of smoke bombs and dry ice on to a stage of brilliant colour.” The gigs are still fondly remembered by those who attended and have become part of Belfast’s music history.

In response to the protests, Alliance councillor Mervyn Jones stated “I decided to go along myself to see what all the fuss was about. I must say that following the concert I was still wondering what all the fuss was about.”