A Hard Day’s Night

Derbyshire Life - - People - WORDS: Janet Reeder

Two years later they would play to over 55,000 fans at Shea Sta­dium. Yet on a mag­i­cal evening

in 1963, the Bea­tles be­longed to Bux­ton

For those who’d been lucky enough to be there, it was an evening that would be im­printed in their mem­o­ries for­ever.

They would be­come the big­gest band in the world but at the very cusp of their stel­lar ca­reer the Bea­tles played a sell-out gig at Bux­ton’s Pav­il­ion Gar­dens, on April 6th 1963.

‘When I tell younger peo­ple I saw the Bea­tles play in Bux­ton they don’t be­lieve it,’ says for­mer Cavendish Gram­mar School pupil, Ju­dith Vale (nee Brown).

‘But it’s true. I was just 16 at that time and to be hon­est we didn’t re­alise how sig­nif­i­cant it would be, as a lot of the upand-com­ing groups came to the Oc­tagon at the Pav­il­ion Gar­dens ev­ery Satur­day. It wasn’t un­til later when peo­ple said ‘did you re­ally see the Bea­tles in Bux­ton?’ that you re­alised just how im­por­tant it was.’

At the time, the Bea­tles had just re­leased two sin­gles, Love Me Do and Please Please Me.

Ernie Sut­ton, Trea­surer of the Bri­tish Bea­tles Fan Club (BBFC) ex­plains: ‘Their first al­bum Please Please Me had been re­leased a cou­ple of weeks ear­lier and their set, which ran for around 30 min­utes, con­sisted mainly of songs from the al­bum.’

The band had fa­mously toured Ham­burg in 1960 and be­fore head­ing to Bux­ton in 1963 had shared the stage with He­len Shapiro and toured with Tommy Roe and Chris Mon­tez. At Bux­ton, the sup­port was a band called the

Trixons, a Beatle­sesque sev­en­piece, who have since faded into ob­scu­rity.

Con­tin­ues Ernie: ‘Brian

Ep­stein, their man­ager, or­gan­ised the tour. With Beatle­ma­nia not yet in full swing he wanted them to play as many gigs as pos­si­ble so they could gain suc­cess in the UK.

‘Later in April the sin­gle

From Me To You was re­leased in Eng­land, which be­came their first num­ber one sin­gle, then Beatle­ma­nia re­ally ex­ploded in Eng­land in late Au­tumn 1963 fol­low­ing their re­turn from Swe­den.

‘From this point, their tour venues be­came larger and the fol­low­ing year they would tour the USA, Europe, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.’

For Bea­tles fans like Judy, who would never again have the chance to see the Fab Four in such in­ti­mate sur­round­ings, this was a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘I was at school at the time and I had to ask my par­ents’ per­mis­sion,’ she re­calls.

That took quite a while and a lot of per­sua­sion be­fore they said I could go, as I also wanted to take a new boyfriend, al­though that boyfriend is now my hus­band and we’ve been mar­ried 49 years,’ she laughs.

One of her prized pos­ses­sions is a pic­ture from the Bux­ton Ad­ver­tiser in which she and her now hus­band Brian can be seen stand­ing against one of the four pil­lars which held up the Oc­tagon roof.

‘What I re­mem­ber is it was ab­so­lutely packed,’ she says.

‘We forced our­selves through the crowds get­ting right to the front. I had my back to a pil­lar, so I wasn’t be­ing pushed about,

‘I was just 16 at that time and to be hon­est we didn’t re­alise how sig­nif­i­cant it would be’

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