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Clap Your Hands – Movie Trailer02

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Clap Your Hands – Movie Trailer01

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Stephen Travers on Cork 96FM

31st July 2013: On the 38th anniversary of The Miami Showband Massacre Stephen Travers talks with Neil Prendeville of Cork’s 96FM radio of his musical memories of Fran O’Toole, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty and about the time he was introduced to Johnny Fean of Horslips by Rory Gallagher in the company of Van Morrison.

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Rory Gallagher – World Exclusive

Rory Gallagher “performs” this unique version of “Hands Off” with young Irish band “The Deans”. Produced in 2007 by former Miami Showband bass-guitarist, Stephen Travers, this recording was made possible through the kindness of Rory’s brother, Donal, in loaning Rory’s multi-track for the project. Through the miracles of modern technology and the technical skill of Sun Street Studios engineer, Kenny Ralph, Rory trades vocals and guitar licks here with a teenage Gavin Dean.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Rory Gallagher & The Deans Hands Off Producer Stephen Travers” dl=”0″]

Stephen Travers produced this track in appreciation for Rory’s generosity to “The Miami Showband Fund” following the murder of Rory’s fellow Irish musicians in what has become known as
The Miami Showband Massacre.

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Thatcher and the UVF

As Margaret Thatcher is laid to rest we thought it appropriate to publish two documents we found in the British National Archives. Both have been published before in the chapter we contributed to a book on loyalist infiltration of the UDR.

The first document contains the minutes of a meeting between the then head of the Conservative opposition in 1975 (Margaret Thatcher) and the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, just weeks after the Miami Showband Massacre involving members of the UDR. At page 3 the following fascinating admission is made, the Secretary of State said….

‘Unfortunately there were certain elements in the police who were very close to the UVF, and who were prepared to hand over information, for example, to Mr Paisley. The Army’s judgement was that the UDR was heavily infiltrated by extremist Protestants, and that in a crisis situation they could not be relied on to be loyal.’

Let no-one claim that the levels of collusion between the RUC, UDR and loyalist paramilitaries was not known at the highest levels of the British Government and opposition.

The second document also concerns the UVF only by this stage, 1979, Thatcher is the Prime Minister. In a hand written note she urged mention of the ‘Volunteer Ulster Defence Regiment (? Is that the name)’. Her officials clearly had difficulty reading her handwriting and the typed version of her comment reads.

(viii) The Prime Minister would also like to see some reference to the valiant work being carried by the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Apparently neither she not her officials were fully cognisant of the difference between the UDR, (? Is that the name) the largest Regiment in the British army, and the UVF, a loyalist paramilitary group. On this point at least she found herself in agreement with the nationalist/republican community.

See to access the original docs-click on the moving newsbar


Wilson Thatcher meeting 1975

Thatcher and the UVF

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The Miami Showband’s Stephen Travers speaks at Omagh victims conference

John Azah OBE, Michael Gallagher (who lost his son in the Omagh bomb), former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, Stephen Travers (survivor of the Miami Showband Massacre) and Clive McCombe (who lost his wife Anne in the Omagh bomb)

By Shelley Marsden

MIAMI Showband massacre survivor Steve Travers and former hostage Terry Waite last week gave their support to victims still scarred by the Omagh bombing and other survivors of terrorism.

Omagh Support and Self Help Group hosted the annual International Victims of Terrorism Conference on June 12-13, as a partner in the Network of Associations of Victims of Terrorism (NAVT).

This is the first time the event, which took place at the Ulster American Folk Park and whose theme this year was Lessons Learned, was hosted in Ireland.

Steve Travers opened the ceremony. He said, “To deliver the opening speech was one of the greatest honours I’ve ever received and I am grateful to The Omagh Support and Self Help Group for that.”

“I struck up an instant rapport with Terry Waite and we talked at length, not only about the incidents, but their root causes and why it’s essential that they be understood and tackled as a priority.”

One of the surviving members of the Miami Showband killings at Bushkill, Co Down on July 31, 1975, Travers said of the event, “I learned an awful lot. I thought it would just be people getting stuff off their chests, but people really do help each other – it was an extremely worthwhile exercise, bringing pressure to bear on various governments around the world.”

As part of his very moving address to delegates about his experiences of terrorism at first-hand, Travers spoke of a recent visit to Ground Zero in New York:

“I have always, in so far as I could, acted independently, ploughed my own furrow, made my own decisions and acted alone in my personal battle with terrorism. I reasoned that each unique experience required a unique response!”

“However, two weeks ago, I visited The World Trade Centre in New York: The new skyscrapers are impressive, the memorial, located on the site of the former Twin Towers, is certainly impressive but what impressed me most was the world-wide community that is now attached to the little church that played such a vital role in the rescue effort following the 9/11 terrorist attack.”

“More than any other memorial to that terrible event, St. Paul’s collection of badges, banners, emblems and messages of support is, for me, the focus of genuine empathy and unity with the victims of that awful crime. Today, I realise that you are the embodiment of St. Paul’s church and I am a willing convert.”

A total of thirty one people (including two unborn children) died in the Omagh bombing, almost 14 years ago now. The worst atrocity in the history of the Troubles, it affected the lives of hundreds of people.

The victims conference saw victims and survivors of terrorism throughout Europe and the U.S.share their experiences and discuss best practice around the EU on the legal, health-care and social and psychological support for Victims of Terrorism from public and private organisations, expressing solidarity in particular to those currently suffering in Syria.

Delegates to Omagh visited the Memorial Garden and the Window of Hope in Omagh Library.

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Irish World – Miami Showband 25th Dec 2011

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Clap Your Hands

Courtesy Barry Woods

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Omagh Support & Self Help Group

On 25th April 2009 Stephen Travers and Des McAlea of The Miami Showband attended the opening of the new headquarters of The Omagh Support and Self-Help Group.

The Omagh Support and Self-Help Group - Stephen Travers and Des McAlea

The Omagh Support and Self-Help Group - Stephen Travers and Des McAlea

The text of Stephen Travers’ speech.
“It’s a great privilege to publicly acknowledge the wonderful humanitarian work of “The Omagh Support and Self-Help Group”. That so many of you give so much of yourselves to others is proof indeed that out of such a terrible event can come so much good. I believe God sends the heaviest burdens only to those who can bear them and He surely recognises the extraordinary strength of the people of Omagh. The survivors of The Miami Showband incident have had thirty-four years to try to understand and come to terms with the slaughter of the innocent. It’s an ongoing and unremitting effort but we will continue to demand accountability, rather than retribution, from those who ordered and facilitated the events of July 31st 1975. People must deal with the memory of terrible events in their own individual way. Some go it alone but for many, support, especially from those who understand and share their pain, is invaluable. The tragedy that befell this lovely town on August 15th 1998 is surely an enormous weight to bear. Such a weight can manifest itself in many ways; loneliness, questions such as “why”, what if” or “if only” can haunt us. Perhaps even survivor’s guilt can keep us awake at night. Lives can be frozen in time by an overwhelming and understandable desire for justice or sometimes, even revenge. How sweet it would be to throw off these great burdens; any one of them heavy enough to crush the best of us. I thank God that the desire for revenge has never been an issue for us for it would only be a useless un-rewarding achievement, a disappointing anti-climax and a hollow victory if realised. I believe that the memory of the Omagh tragedy can best be served by your own extraordinary example that such an outrage served only to strengthen rather than divide your community; exposing the futility and abject failure of violence. I believe you have been, and will continue to be, a shining light for all of us, especially as that light is focused on the kindness, love and support you have given to each other through the years. I believe that will be the most important memorial to your loved ones and perhaps Omagh’s great legacy.”
Stephen Travers.
The Miami Showband.

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The Miami Showband 2011

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2010 – Joy To The World

The Miami Showband charity single Joy To The World.
The Miami perform Joy To The World in aid of The Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, Africa. The Institute is the only hospital in East Africa that provides chemotherapy free of charge. Also included are The Huruma School for Disabled Children and Children In Crossfire. In a poor country children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. Thanks to Stephen Travers, Gerry Brown, Ray Millar, Johnny Fean, Richard Moore.

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The Talbot Hotel

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Dunamaise Arts Centre

The Dunamaise Arts Centre


Friday October 30th at 8.00 p.m.

in association with

 The Cuisle Centre Cancer Support Group.  

In aid of

The Cuisle Centre Cancer Support Group.

proudly presents

The Miami Showband

“The last of the great original Irish Showbands”

with special guest

From D-Side

Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter

Derek Ryan

(Formerly known as Ryan O’Rian)

Book on-line at

Box Office: 057 866 3355

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Miami 2011

21st April 2011. The Turn On The Light Event at The Silver Springs Hotel and Convention Centre, Cork was a resounding success. Steve Travers and Noel Magnier organised this sell-out fund-raiser in aid of St Vincent De Paul. The Miami Showband entertained a packed house and there were fine performances also from: Dana, Johnny Fean, Derek Ryan, Shindig and Crystal Swing. A wonderful night.

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Miami 2008 Tour

On September 16th 2008 The Miami Showband returned to Vicar Street in Dublin for a very special concert to say “thank you” to The Irish people for their love and support for over three decades. The three legendary figures of the showband era were accompanied by three of the greatest musicians this country has ever produced, Johnny Fean (Horslips), Gerry Brown (Dana) and Barry Woods (The Real McCoy). On the following night, September 17th 2008, the Miami Showband travelled north for a sister concert at The Royal Opera House in Belfast in a symbolic gesture to finally reunite their massive fan base that was spread throughout every city, town and village on this island. The public demand for these concerts is the ultimate proof that the music of The Miami Showband has indeed outlasted the sound of the guns that attempted to silence it and drive a wedge between two great communities. The profits from both concerts were donated to the “Children in Crossfire” charity.

The Miami back on stage again in 2008 in Belfast

Miami Showband UCL Concert Hall, Limerick 15 Nov 2008

Miami Showband UCL Concert Hall, Limerick 15 Nov 2008

The contribution of Irish showbands to the social development of this country was important and immense. As our young people grew in confidence and asserted themselves in the twentieth century, their signature tune was undoubtedly played by the talented and enthusiastic young men and women that, night after night, reproduced the sounds of the era in the ballrooms throughout the length and breath of the country. Times were innocent and exciting. Their journey mirrored and, sometimes, drove the musical taste of a young population. Some, like their fellow musicians in classical orchestras and traditional jazz bands, were content to cover the music of others while some attempted to incorporate their own original ideas, arrangements and compositions into their nightly repertoire. Naturally, “he who pays the piper calls the tune” and usually even the more adventurous showbands toed the line and played the familiar songs of the day.

One of the bands that managed to carry its audience along as it developed into a modern world class act was The Miami Showband. No other band in the world has the pedigree or history of The Miami Showband. Undoubtedly it has achieved mythical status and the names of its musicians are indelibly written into music and social folklore; its sacrifice forever burned into the soul of a country. Nevertheless, it would be all too easy to let the legend obscure the music; but it was the music that really mattered to the millions of people around the world that constitute “the Irish Diaspora” and loved The Miami Showband from the very beginning. During the sixties and seventies, hundreds of thousands of adoring fans packed the dance halls and concert venues throughout Ireland, the UK and the USA to catch a glimpse of and listen to The Miami Showband. This band, more than any other, embodied the popular music and style of their era.

It is universally accepted that The Miami Showband reached its artistic pinnacle while fronted by the young and outrageously talented Fran O’Toole. He had it all, a magnificent soulful voice, musical genius, fabulous image and a personality to match. He was accompanied by the very best young musicians in the country. Des Lee, Stephen Travers, Ray Millar, Tony Geraghty and Brian McCoy were loved by their countless fans and respected by their peers. They were unstoppable until fate intervened and took the young lives of Fran, Tony and Brian. It was indeed “The Day the Music Died”.


Caught Live

The Miami Showband,  University Concert Hall,  Limerick,  Ireland – Saturday November 15th 2008.
by John O’Regan, Limerick – freelance journalist, broadcaster, lecturer

Ireland’s showband boom had at least 600 working bands travelling the length of the country from Ballybofey to Dingle and back again in its 1960’s heyday. The showbands consisted of outfits of six to eight musicians neatly dressed in suits fronted by a charismatic front man or woman who peddled the hits of the day to eager audiences that wanted primarily to dance and mate.

The big names from the Irish show band period were Brendan Bowyer, Joe Dolan and Dickie Rock who fronted The Royal, Drifters and Miami Showband respectively. The Miami Showband was fronted by Dickie Rock until his departure in 1972. They challenged The Royal Showband for supremacy of the ballroom circuit and established a reputation for being a team effort as much as a vehicle for its front persons. They continued life until dissolving in the mid 80s

One of the leading lights was the Dublin based Miami Showband. To ears outside Ireland The Miami Showband is probably better known for being the unlucky innocent victims of a loyalist bomb attack when returning from a dance in Banbridge Co. Down in August 1975 at the height of the Northern troubles. Three members of the band Fran O’Toole, Tony Geraghty, and Brian McCoy were killed outright while two others Des McAlea escaped with minor injuries while bassist Stephen Travers was critically injured to an inch of his life and suffered traumatic recurrences and illnesses long after the event. This incident brought sectarian violence to a new height of social depravity.

In Irish show business terms this is referred to as The Miami Showband Massacre and left a poignant and permanent void in Irish musical terms.  A reconstituted Miami Showband struggled on into the 80s before becoming part of Irish social history. Move on to 2005 and a reunion of the three remaining members Des Lee (McAlea), Stephen Travers and Ray Millar occur in Dublin’s Vicar Street and the results are described by promoter Jim Aiken as ‘the greatest showband concerts ever staged’. 2007 saw the publication of Stephen Travers memoir of the 1975 massacre ‘The Miami Showband Massacre – A survivors search for the truth’. The unveiling of ‘The Miami Showband Permanent Memorial’ on Dublin’s Parnell Square brought further impetus for a reunion tour. It was to be three years later when the return happened with the proceeds going to charity. Two concerts in Dublin and Belfast allowed sufficient interest and fuelled further thoughts of a full scale reunion tour.


In 2008 a new line up was quickly formed with ex Horslips guitarist Johnny Fean, Barry Woods on sax/keyboards and Gerry Browne on vocals and keyboards and The Miami Showband played their first Irish tour in over 30 years. This return tour benefits Children in Crossfire a multi national charity devoted to disabled children in Africa and South America. Seeing Des Lee, Stephen Travers and original drummer Ray Millar who survived the fatal ambush in 75 by driving home on his own is tantamount to a historic event. Adding Johnny Fean to the recipe is a further slice of Irish music history while Barry Woods is a showband survivor and Gerry Brown’s sister Rosemary is better known as MOR artist Dana –this line up is bound to raise eyebrows as well as curiosity.

Limerick’s University Concert Hall is one of Ireland’s premier venues. Tonight the Miami Showband backline is minimal as befitting the halcyon showband period. One drum kit a couple of guitar amps, two keyboards, two saxes and several mikes that’s it – no fancy electronic gadgets or massed banks of amplification. This is an unpretentious gig save for a video screen behind the band showing highlights from their heyday.  The ‘Joy to the World Tour’ has come to town with a minimum of fuss and an understated sense of occasion.

The Miami Showband’s aim now is as was – to entertain. These guys served their time in the sweat soaked ballrooms of romance across Ireland. Musically the diet is 60s and 70s pop classics, good time party music delivered with an assured professionalism that signifies their trade. The waistlines may have evolved yet the music still has that fizz and electric energy that characterised their heyday.  From the kick off the show was delivered in a no frills manner – all six members trooped on stage at 8.00 p.m. and save for a 15 minute interval delivered two hours of classy unfussy entertainment.

The repertoire covered all points west of 60’s/70s  songbooks – Beach Boys, Love Affair, Dion, Mud, Bay City Rollers it was all here with nods to contemporaries Brendan Boyer, Joe Dolan and The Freshmen’s Billy Brown –the latter out Beached Boys the Beach Boys at a Dublin gig in 1966. Generous helpings of their back catalogue dotted the programme – nods to Dickie Rock and their mid 60s prime in ‘Baby I’m Your Man’, ‘There’s Always Me’ and nods to their breakaway band The Sands – ‘Knock Three Times’, ‘Help me Rhonda’ and ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy’. These were belted out with an assurance and the customary skill.

Original members Lee, Travers and Millar held court but The Miami were always team players and new members Barry Woods and Gerry Brown contributed their share. Johnny Fean’s guitar soared sweetly while his solo vocal on Fats Domino’s ‘Be my Guest’ reminded of seldom heard chords. Pity there wasn’t a Horslips musical nod apart from Stephen Travers’ acknowledgment of his contribution to Irish music – a ‘Dearg Doom’ or ‘King of the Fairies’ or ‘Shakin All Over’ would have done well – maybe next time?

Highlights? Hearing hits like ‘Simon Says’, ‘60s covers like ‘Everlasting Love’, the twin sax work of Des Lee and Barry Woods on a deliciously sweaty and intense ‘Resurrection Shuffle’, Des Lee’s emotive reading of Fran O’Toole’s classic ‘Love Is’, Barry Woods’ hilarious asides and multi-instrumental skills, Gerry Brown’s breathy vocals – and the banter – these guys were having a ball and everyone was invited.

Miami Showband gigs were always a mix of poignancy, fun and professionalism-this was no exception. As the final vigorous strains of ‘Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet’ an Irish No. 1 saw them depart the stage the lights went out to focus on a black/white video of their one time friend and vocalist Fran O’Toole singing his own composition ‘Its Over, Goodbye’ from a 1975 RTE TV broadcast. Watching the then teenage O’Toole deliver a poignant ballad with a touching sensitivity reminded many of what was lost that tragic night in 1975. The fact that three of his fellow Miami members are together 30 years on is fitting enough – that they have formed a new and vibrant Miami Showband is even more tantalising. The Miami Showband in 2008 offers a slice of Irish musical and social history and a serious good time is guaranteed which makes nostalgia so much more fun.

John O’Regan
12 December 2008



Hi all from Copenhagen, Denmark,

Every success as you continue with great live music. Thank you for all the enjoyable performances down the years.

Very best regards,
Seamus Brogan – Regent / Palladin Showbands, Donegal



Hi Steve,
Great to hear from you and to see all that has been happening with the Miami. It is one band I have never forgotten and had times been different would never have left. But that’s life. I am not complaining as I am still having a great time. I live in Perth in Western Australia and have been here now for 22 years.

I have had a band here for 15 years which finished 7 years ago. I now enjoy a solo career using backing tracks and just finished my first Australian Tour. I have now been all over this great country and have been asked to go east to New South Wales in January 09 to take part in the biggest music festival in Oz. I did it last Jan. and they have asked me back again.

I have recorded 4 CD’s over the past few years. One is a CD of 14 of my own songs which gave me a buzz I must say. Have just finished another CD of covers which will be out beginning of Jan 09. I have had the opportunity to play a 3 month season at the Dynasty resort in Bali and also had a successful tour of South Africa 3 years ago.

For now enough about me. I am very pleased you have got the Miami running again and hope all the gigs so far have been successful. Great line-up that can’t go wrong. Would love to have been there.

Well that’s enough from me for now.

Keep in touch,

Cheers, Jimmy
Jimmy Harte, first lead vocalist with The Miami Showband



To all the band members not forgetting the sound and light personal a great night had by all at the Clifden Station House Hotel last night. What a sound. The Miami are back bigger and better. Roll on 2009 and hopefully Galway city or maybe some small town within Co. Galway.
Galway Bay FM ,MWR and Shannon Side Radio Stations i’m sure would plug the event if needed. Anyway it was nice to meet you Gerry, Stephen and Ray. May our paths meet again. Well Done and as they say keep rocking.

Ken, Glenamaddy, Co. Galway.

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