OVER its hundreds of years of history, war cries and the screams of prisoners might be sounds you would expect to hear at Oxford Castle .

But this weekend the castle, which dates back to the 11th century, played host to something a bit more upbeat.

On Friday the castle’s crypt and D-Wing were the extraordinary venue for an evening of celebration of Oxfordshire’s music scene.

The sold-out Live and Unlocked evening was organised by the music team from Oxford Mail’s The Guide to celebrate the 150th birthday of its sister paper, The Oxford Times .

Music editor Tim Hughes said: “Oxford Castle is a unique building and it has never been used for anything like this before.

“Filling this iconic building with music for The Oxford Times, which has been reporting on the weird and wonderful events of this city for 150 years, could not be more appropriate.

“This is to show the people and musicians of Oxfordshire that we are serious about supporting them.”

Local bands taking part in the evening included Little Fish and Secret Rivals.

Bluegrass group Swindlesock, reggae band Dubwiser and Wantage-based African math-pop band Nairobi also did their bit to get the old stone walls of the castle rocking.

Paddy Harrington, bassist for Nairobi, said: “It was a haunting, intimate and overall inspiring environment.”

There was also a screening of Anyone Can Play Guitar, Jon Spira’s history of the Oxford music scene narrated by comedian Stewart Lee.

Ian Hampson, 48, from North Leigh, came particularly to see Little Fish.

He said: “I saw them at Truck Festival a year or two ago and thought they were completely different. They blew me away.

“It’s a really original venue and a great idea. It was a great opportunity to see new local bands.”

Jim Treadgold, 55, from Summertown, said: “I thought it would be an interesting place to see a variety of bands.

“I enjoyed it very much. Nairobi were very good.”

Castle Quarter events manager Sarah Mayhew said: “It’s really exciting to see the building being used in this way.

“One of the funny things about the castle is that is has played an integral role in Oxford’s history but the public has only been able to use it recently.

“The more it is used for these events the better. I hope something similar happens again.”