Anniversary Celebration of first ever Birmingham concert in February.
Beatles fans from all around the country will come together in King’s Heath next month to celebrate the 51st Anniversary of their first-ever Birmingham concert at King’s Heath’s Ritz Ballroom. Last year’s inaugural celebration attracted fans from as far afield as Liverpool, Yorkshire and Cheltenham but sadly only one month later the former ballroom burnt down.
Fletchers Bar on York Road directly opposite the fire damaged ruins of the former ballroom will again host the Beatles Fest on Sunday 16th February 2013 from 3-6 pm as organisers vow to keep the spirit and music of the ballroom alive.
Tickets cost just £3 in advance from the Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road or www.wegottickets.com. Last year’s event sold out very quickly so it is advisable to book in advance. Any remaining tickets will cost £4 on the day.
Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker, co-organisers of the King’s Heath Walk of Fame, said “We already have a great line-up of top local musicians who will be performing but we would still like to include some more young musicians wanting to play their favourite Beatles songs. When The Beatles appeared at The Ritz they were just starting out and mainly performed covers of other musicians’ songs. So in this way we are trying to keep the spirit of The Ritz alive for a new generation”. Musicians interested in playing should contact: [email protected]
Fans are also being invited to dust off their old vinyl Beatles records, choose their three favourite tracks and come and act as DJ from 6.30 pm onwards at one of Fletchers regular “Come Vinyl with Me” Sessions.
The Beatles appeared at the Ritz Ballroom – one of four venues run in the 1950s and 60s by legendary Irish couple Ma and Pa Regan – on 15th February 1963, shortly after releasing their second single Please Please Me. Originally scheduled to appear on 11th January, they had been prevented by blizzard-like conditions from making the journey to King’s Heath from one of the Regans’ other venues – the Plaza in Old Hill.
When they did finally make it on 15th February Beatlemania was really taking off and the Beatles were only able to enter the ballroom by climbing up a ladder from Milford Place.
“Tell them to turn that racket down” is what Pa Regan is rumoured to have shouted while they were practising! But he was a very happy man really. He had persuaded Brian Epstein to agree to them performing for their previously agreed fee even though they were now numbe rone in the charts!
Pa Regan was also notorious for getting the names of musicians wrong and introduced John and Paul as Sean and Peter.
After the show, a fan called Debbie was picking up her coat from the cloakroom, when she met Paul McCartney. After giving her his autograph she followed him into the bar where he called her over to meet the rest of the band who gave her their autographs too. She then took up Paul’s kind offer of a lift back into town in their van where she sat on his lap and shared a kiss! On 24th June 2010 these autographs were auctioned at Christies in London.
Further information, photos and memorabilia are on the web site: www.kingsheathwalkoffame.org.u