1976

Complete...ish

Confirmed events are indicated by a
Events are only confirmed if printed evidence is available, i.e.. Magazine, Advert, Ticket, Poster etc. or if verified by two independent sources. Internet sourced dates are not classed as evidence due to errors being copied from site to site.
All acts are listed exactly as they appeared in the advert.
It will be noted that in the early years, some of the more famous bands had differing names and may have been lower on the bill. This usually means that they were, as yet, relatively unknown.
Additional information and corrections to this list are more than welcomed.

All the gigs and events at the California Ballroom during 1976

Date Valid Event Comments
Jan 03 Nothing in papers
  10 Devils Den with Dave Holland Adm. 50p
  17 Donald & the Blackbyrds Adm. 3
19 James Brown Blues and Soul magazine lists James Brown, the Luton News says Rosko Adm. 50p

B&S states that this was arranged at short notice and took place on a Monday. The 19th was a Monday. Looks like Rosko was cancelled.

Chrissie Venables remembers going to this gig, her boyfriend picked her up from school.

24 People's Choice Adm. 1.50
31 Trammps Adm. 1.50
Feb 07 Chairmen of the Board Adm. 1.50
12 John Glenn and the Mainliners - Ireland's newest Sensation
plus The Moonshine Ramblers
Adm. 1
13 Nostalgia of the Forties Night Couples in 40s dress Adm. free otherwise 50p
14 Nothing in papers
21 Fatback Band & Muscles Adm. 2.50p
27 Disco With Dave Holland in the main Ballroom Adm. 50p
28 Al Matthews Blues & Soul lists this the Luton News doesn't
3 into 1 Equals Dave Holland in the main Ballroom, Vista Bar with Paul Gray and the usual Pool Bar facilities Adm. 50p
  29 Sunday Soul In the Devils Den for solid funk with Brother Louie Adm. 40p
Mar 04 Colonel Condor
The Airtight Lids
In the Devils Den with Brother Louie Adm. 50p
  06 3 into 1 Equals
no group this week
Instead Dave Holland - Devils Den
Paul Gray - Vista Bar Disco
  13 Nostalgia of the Forties with the Millionaires Orchestra Adm 1.50
  18 Schlitz Night
The beer that made Milwaukee famous
In the Pool Bar. Bottles of Schlitz for 10p! Adm. free
  13 Nostalgia of the Forties with the Million Airs Orchestra Adm 1.50
  20 Bobby Womack
making his debut at the California
Blues & Soul lists this as the 10th which was a Wednesday. Adm. 1.50p
27 The Miracles
making their Debut at the California
Adm. 2
Apr 03 Brass Construction Listed in Blues & Soul but nothing in Luton News
10 Nothing in papers
15 Disco With Dave Holland, Paul Gray and Brother Louie Adm. 50p
16 California Ballroom Dunstable
regretfully announce
that on Friday 16th April
there will be
NO DISCO
as this is Good Friday and it is against the law to enjoy yourselves. Anybody found laughing - singing or enjoying yourselves in ANY WAY
'WILL BE SENTENCED TO DEATH'
(under section 69 of the happiness act)

BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS.....
Good Friday is a religious holiday and the Disco on this week will be held instead on Thursday 15th April.

Don't forget the Pool Bar will be open on Friday 16th April

17 The Drifters
making their ONLY appearance in Dunstable in 1976
Adm. 1.50
24 Sheer Elegance with Dave Holland and Paul Gray Brother Louie in the Devils Den Adm. 1
30 Manhattan Transfer with the 21 piece Passadena Roof Orchestra
one of only two appearances in the UK
with Dave Holland & Paul Gray Adm. 2
May 01 Jimmy Ruffin Blues & Soul lists Al Green
Adm. 1.50
08 Main Ballroom closed for private function Pool Bar open
09 Sunday Soul With the latest American Funk sounds, Brother Louie in the Devils Den Adm. 40p
12 Attention!
Soul Import Recordings
situated at the California Ballroom
Proudly announce their American Record Shop
is NOW OPEN
This was run by Louie Martin. The shop was underneath Mick Ilka's flat at the top end by the car park.
15 Junior Walker & the Allstars Adm. 2
22 Jimmy James & the Vagabonds Adm. 1
29 Nothing in papers  
31 Dunstable Round Table present.....
Soul Carnival Party Night featuring
The Detroit Emeralds featuring James Carl & Ivy
Of course we all know that it was James, Carl and IVORY don't we. Don't we? Adm. ?
Jun 06 Greg Edwards
direct from Capital Radio
Adm. 1
07 Nothing in papers  
  12 War Only listed in Blues & Soul, nothing in the papers however, in a photograph on the 'Pictures of You' page, there are posters on the wall with these dates
19 Ohio Players
Jul 03 KC & the Sunshine Band Only listed in Blues & Soul

The summer of 1976 seems to have been very quiet. Danny McGarry, a close friend of Mick Ilka says not much was happening in the Ballroom apart from Pool - all the tables had been moved in there. We suspect that the conversion of the Devils Den into Didoz was taking place and it may be that the building work made it unsafe for people to use the entrances. Certainly, by September 11th the Devils Den had been moved up into the Vista Bar. Danny remembers pulling up the dance floor and re-laying it upstairs. Didoz opened on Dec 1st.

One thing that did catch our attention was an advert in the paper on the 12th July. John Jones was selling his entire record collection of around 1000 singles for the huge sum of 120.
Sep 4 Fatback Band Adm. 3
  11 The New Devil's Den Opens In the old Vista Bar
18 Real Thing Adm. 1.50
25 Kool & the Gang Adm. 3
30 The Smitty Disco Roadshow In the Devils Den with Paul Gray Adm. 25p
For those of you unaware, Smitty was one of those atrociously smelly teenage perfumes.
Oct 12 Don't forget
The California Pool Hall with 20 full size American Pool tables and the Pool bar with 10 tables
Open Monday to Thursday Adm. Free
  22 The Big One is Back! Friday night disco in the main Ballroom with Brother Louie and Paul Gray. Smoking Robbie in the Devils Den Adm. 50p
23 Osibisa Adm. 2
Nov 6 Chi-Lites Adm. 3.50
12 Kojak comes to the California
John Kojak Harvey
with Paul Gray and Brother Louie Adm. 50p
13 Johnny Guitar Watson
one of only 6 UK appearances
with Paul Gray Adm. 2
26 Brass Construction Promotion Night To celebrate the release of their 2nd album. Free B.C.LPs, T-Shirts, stickers etc. With Brother Louie & Paul Gray
Dec 01 Opening night of Didoz Your own exclusive nightclub-restaurant is now opening its doors for membership. 40 per annum. Membership covers husband and wife plus two guests at 1 per head.
  11 Jimmy Helms Adm. 1
  18 F.B.I You may have seen them on tour with the Fatback Band. With Paul Gray & Brother Louie Adm. 1
24 Heatwave Adm. 3
26 Sunday Night Soul In the Devils Den with Brother Louie Adm. 50p
27 Last of the funk in 76 with Brother Louie in the Devils Den Adm. 80p
31 Real Thing Ballroom Adm. 4
Bruce Guest. International all round entertainer. Plus festivities and dancing to our 4 piece combo Didoz - Members only