We live in Ramsey, a small, quite historic town in the middle of Fenland, a flat and largely agricultural district in the east of England. It’s certainly not the kind of place people would normally associate with the world of pop superstars. But wind the clock back to the 1960s …
Across that amazing decade, our little town boasted a very popular Saturday night dance venue called the Gaiety Ballroom, which attracted people from all over the surrounding area. And little wonder – as detailed in this excellent website, the Gaiety was a really “in” place. Who’d-a thought it? – this little Fenland backwater being a key gig for many of the biggest names in the pop world from 1960 and throughout the Swinging Sixties!
Among the hundreds of top acts appearing at The Gaiety at the height of its success were The Who (see right – 1975 pic), The Yardbirds, Manfred Mann, The Hollies (see 1964 pic below), The Moody Blues, Jeff Beck Group (feat. Rod Stewart), The Isley Brothers, Freddie & The Dreamers, Lulu & The Luvvers, Joe Brown & The Bruvvers, Herman’s Hermits, The Animals, PJ Proby, The Four Pennies, The Nashville Teens, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, Adam Faith and Peter & Gordon.
Astonishingly, even the legendary Jimi Hendrix was booked to appear at the Gaiety in June 1967, though his performance was cancelled in the week before the show.
Admittedly the Gaiety never saw an appearance by The Beatles or the Rolling Stones, but given Ramsey’s size and location, the little ballroom punched well above its weight.
And so, whilst the farmers were recovering from a hard day’s night ploughing their fields and the herons flew silently across the stillness of the drainage ditches, at the Gaiety Ballroom, the joint was rockin’!!
Picture credits: The Who – original line up, performing in Chicago. Left to right: Daltrey, Entwistle, Moon, Townshend. Raul 654 – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Raul654
The Hollies – public domain