Rolling Stones Festival in King’s Heath

Nearly 4 hours of live music and the screening of a new film will make up a special Rolling Stones Festival in King’s Heath on Saturday 14 September to celebrate the 50th. Anniversary of their legendary performance at the Ritz Ballroom on York Road.

Formed in London in 1962 by Brian Jones after he met up with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who had been childhood friends, the Rolling Stones started out as a blues group taking their name from the title of a song by Muddy Waters. For the whole of 1962 they played exclusively in the London area. But all that changed on 7 June 1963 after they released their first single a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On”. Just a few months later on 14 September 1963 they played one of their first ever gigs outside London and their first ever in Birmingham at the Ritz Ballroom. Joining them on the tiny stage were Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. Later the same night they went on to perform at The Plaza in Old Hill another of the clubs owned by Irish couple Ma and Pa Regan. The next evening they had to return to London to play at The Great Pop Prom at the Royal Albert Hall!

Starting at 1 p.m. at Fletchers Bar on York Road opposite the former ballroom with the screening of a new film about the early days of the Rolling Stones, top local musicians will then perform their favourite Rolling Stones songs from 3pm to 7pm.

Advance tickets costing only £4 are now available from the Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road or www.wegottickets.com. Any remaining tickets will be sold on the day for £5 but tickets for a similar event in February to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles appearance at The Ritz sold out well in advance.

Local residents Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker who are organising the event said “The Rolling Stones are one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time and it is amazing to think that they once played in King’s Heath. We are determined to keep the spirit of the Ritz alive despite the fire that destroyed the building in March. We have already held some great events this year to celebrate appearances at the ballroom by The Beatles, The Kinks and Dusty Springfield but we want as many Stones fans as possible to come to King’s Heath on 14 September to make this the biggest and best so far”.

An impressive list of local musicians have already agreed to perform but any others interested in playing at the festival should contact [email protected]