Live: McIlroy’s Ballroom, Swindon

8.00pm, Tuesday 17 July 1962 (51 years ago)

The Beatles’ only live performance in Swindon, Wiltshire took place at McIlroy’s Ballroom in Havelock Square.

They played two 60-minute sets at McIlroy’s Ballroom, a venue hosting shows promoted by Jaybee Clubs. The company was run by Bill Fraser Reid and Jack Fallon; The Beatles had previously played one of their shows on 31 March 1962 in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

‘Macs’, as the ballroom was known, was described as “Showplace of the West”. In 1962 live beat music events were held every Tuesday night, although McIlroy’s’ Thursday night jazz shows were better attended.

The Beatles were paid £27 10s for the shows, and 360 people in total saw them perform. The venue’s capacity, however, was five times that number.

They were a very unusual band. They just turned up in a van, got out and got up on stage.

They were entirely different to the other bands around at the time, who were playing in gold lamé costumes. People kept telling us they were going to have a hit record, but we heard this all the time.

Bill Reid, promoter
Swindon In The News, John Hudson

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