The happy ballroom & more 6th August 1966 by Andre Martin

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cuttings… Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Hastings is very famous for its carnivals, and when looking back 50 years this in no exception. Also when we look back to summer 1966, it might be considered an all year long Carnival with the 900th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings as the icing on the cake. In 1966 the Round Table Carnival was at the start of July, and would have processed from the bathing Pool, to Alexandra Park, via the Old Town and Town Centre – Floats, Marching Bands and Walking entrants brought almost everything else in the town to a standstill. The pavements were lined many deep with the on-lookers many of which had entered into the holiday spirit and FUN. Hastings Pier ballroom had settled into a regular pattern of events with Big Band Nights, Wrestling, Radio Shows and group Nights, as the weekly schedule will show, there really was something for everybody as well as the usual seaside attractions Ice Cream and Candy Floss, plus Bingo. Cafes and the longest bar in Hastings! One of the big attractions for the Teenagers was the Sunday Nights with such attractions as Zoot Money, The Yards birds and the like. And of course the regular weekly visits from Radio London – “Big L” on 266 Meters in the Medium Wave. The weekend would have started with the regular trip to London and the Rediffusion Studios for Ready Steady Go – Cathy and Keith at the controls and included this week The Troggs “ With A Girl like You”, Dusty Springfield “ Goin Back” and Chris Farlowe “ Out of Time”. Along the coast, it was the Witch Doctor that was the centre of the Teen and Twenty provisions, a new feature for the Summer Months was a change to records/Disco for the Sunday to Friday slots, and the use of Live groups only on Saturday, and for this weekend 50 years ago the headline act were regulars to the club – The GayLords sometimes billed as Dean Ford & The Gaylords [a-close harmony band and in 1966, finding themselves in the middle of the 1960s swinging London scene, they decided to update their image and instrumentation. they changed the band name to The Marmalade, eventually dropping “The”. they now had two bass players, Graham Knight on 4 string and Pat Fairley on 6 string (Fairley having dropped the standard rhythm guitar normally associated with rock groups of the early 1960s].
The carnival in 2016 has moved to being centred on the Hastings Old Town and this year would be held on Saturday 6th August, the run up to this had included in the week many exclusive Old Town Activities such as “The Sea Boot Race” “The Pram Race” “The Cycle Ride” “Tug of War”” The Whelk Eating Competition” “The Beach Concert” and many more, and for the past few years the additional entertainment of Carnival FM on 87.9FM and via the Internet.
BBC Radio for this week in 1966 included on The Light Programme – A Saturday Club special from Blackpool on the bill were the Bachelors, Cilla Black, Mark Wynter, Rockin Berries, Billy J Kramer, Marty Wild and The Tornados with Brian Mathew in charge ! We also featured the Final of Pop over Europe- the British Entry was Dennis Lotus and the BBC Radio Show band. The summer afternoon feature from Monday to Saturday was Swing into Summer and this week included Unit 4+2, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Acker Bilk, the searchers and the Transatlantics [ all well know groups from the Happy Ballroom, Hastings Pier]. On Sunday we had Mrs Mills, Easy Beat with its” selection of popular hits from many artistes on record” at noon it was Three Way Family Favourites – London, Koln and Aden. The comedy continued in the afternoon with Morecombe & Wise, The Mitchell Minstrels, and Frankie Howerd. Top of The Pops with “ Fluff” was in its set place of 4.00pm and this would have been followed by Movie Go Round, this weeks feature film – Darleks- Invasion Earth 2140 AD
Television of the Weekend, also followed a regular schedule – BBC 1 TV – Cricket, Summer Grandstand, Juke Box Jury with this week’s music being voted on by Bernard Cribbins, Rosemary Squires, Kay Melford and Barry Aldis – David Jacobs in the chair. Over on BBC 2 – Cricket, Films, Sport Scene with David Vine and a special showcase of the Sierra Leone National Dancers. Sunday BBC 1TV – included Film Matinee “Christmas in July” with Dick Powell. It’s a Knock Out with Eddie Waring this week featured Morecombe v Blackpool. Later in the evening it was time for Ken Dodd and Perry Mason. The “Pirate” stations, to many a 24 hour music lifeline – Radio Caroline South with Rick Dane and the chart show – Beach Boys: God Only Knows, Los Bravos : Black is Black, Summer in the City: Lovin’ Spoonful, I want You : Bob Dylan, Troggs: With a Girl Like You. Radio London “266 meters Big L” with Ed Stewart – Yellow Submarine: Beatles, God Only Knows: Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas: I saw her Again, Bob Dylan: I want You, Troggs: With a Girl like You. 50 years ago, we were still getting over the fact that the previous Saturday ENGLAND HAD WON THE WORLD CUP. The weather had not been that good for the summer so far – Rather Cool, dull and wet and August was not going to be much better. Let’s hope that it is better for the coming weeks! OK everybody back to the Carnival and you all take care out there. Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2016

Andy Qunta… Outstanding report, as always, Andre! Those were the days!

Pat Harrison Burgess… Great article, have seen Gerry and the Pacemakers (all very young guys) and Hermans Hermits in the past few years.

1 thought on “The happy ballroom & more 6th August 1966 by Andre Martin”

  1. Great article, have seen Jerry and the Pacemakes ( all very young guys)
    and Hermans Hermis in the past few yard


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