A Hard Day’s Night
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’