Wales

Elton John and Status Quo's Narberth gigs to be celebrated

Janet Mason with her signed picture of The Love Affair
Image caption Janet Mason with her signed picture of Sixties stars The Love Affair

A Pembrokeshire venue which staged gigs by stars like Elton John, Hot Chocolate and Status Quo is to house a permanent exhibition to its musical past.

What began as a fundraising initiative by two local men for their football team's social club ended up with a stream of up-and-coming bands heading to the Queen's Hall in Narberth.

It created cherished memories for pop fans - and enough cash for a new club.

The venue has now won lottery funding of £3,100 to showcase the memorabilia.

Richard Fanus was on the Narberth AFC committee in the 1960s and 70s and said the town was "really where it was at".

His favourite memories include the Alan Price Set drinking tea after their gig in a committee member's front room, and when Freddie and the Dreamers arrived in Narberth ahead of schedule, so gave an extra show beforehand for the Boy Scouts.

Mr Fanus said that Hot Chocolate were booked to play on Boxing Day 1969, but the gig was cancelled due to heavy snow.

A sign was put on the Severn Bridge to let the band know, but they did not see it - and drove through 12 inches of snow in their Cadillac to get to Narberth.

Image copyright chris whitehouse/geograph
Image caption The Queen's Hall in Narberth will house memorabilia from its glory days
Image caption Elton John performed at the Queen's Hall in 1970

Deep Purple, Dave Dee, the Mindbenders, Desmond Dekker, and the Average White Band all performed on the Queen's Hall stage to audiences of up to 1,000 people.

Janet Mason saw the Cardiff chart-toppers Amen Corner when she was 14, and also has a signed picture of fellow 1960s stars The Love Affair.

She said seeing Amen Corner was "simply amazing".

"The hall was packed; it was so hot that condensation was dripping off the ceiling," she said.

"We just couldn't believe our luck that these bands which had been playing in London were playing here in Narberth!"

Memorabilia from the venue, which still plays live music, will be gathered for the exhibition, to be opened later this year.

Queen's Hall manager Sue Lewis said they want to "collect the memories of this amazing time and ask the teenagers of the 1960s to let us copy their memorabilia, hear their stories and share their experiences".

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