Award winning West Midlands Group Out Of The Shadows will play a special concert in King’s Heath on Sunday 9 November to raise funds to create a new Ritz Community Arts Centre and Pop History Museum on the site of the old Ritz Ballroom.
Regularly voted Top Club Act by regional club entertainment officers, the group will headline a 3 hour afternoon concert starting at 3 pm at Fletchers Bar on King’s Heath’s York Road directly opposite the fire damaged ruins of the old ballroom.
Overwhelming public support for the idea of creating a new Ritz Community Arts Centre saw over 500 people agree to pledge £10 a year in less than a month enabling organisers to apply for charitable status and seek Lottery funding.
The iconic ballroom run by legendary Irish Couple Ma and Pa Regan was at the centre of the 1960’s Brumbeat scene hosting some of the earliest performances by local groups The Move, The Moody Blues and the Spencer Davis Group as well as the Birmingham debut of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Who. It closed down in the early 1970’s. After Ma and Pa Regan died, the building was converted into a Cash Converters shop before it was destroyed by fire on 27 March 2013.
Local residents Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker along with local business man Stan Hems are part of a 15 member consortium aiming to return live music, dance and comedy to the site. Bob Prew said “Birmingham has an amazing musical heritage that we don’t celebrate as much as we should. And equally King’s Heath has played a pivotal role in Brum’s pop music scene that is not recognised as much as it should be. The Ritz Ballroom was at the hub of the 1960’s music explosion. UB40 played their first ever gig at the Hare & Hounds and Duran Duran and Ocean Colour Scene made some of their first recordings at the Highbury Studio. By combining a museum with a performance and rehearsal space, we hope to inspire a whole new generation of musicians and other performers to emulate their success”.
Advance tickets for the benefit concert by Out of The Shadows on Sunday 9 November cost £3 from Kitchen Garden Cafe or www.wegottickets.com Any remaining tickets will cost £4 on the door.
Anyone who wants to find out more about the Ritz Community Arts Centre project should contact [email protected]