February 1976 – Rag Week preview

February 1976 – Rag Week preview

Just after the 41st anniversary of The Sex Pistols appearance at High Wycombe College on 20th February 1976, I discovered a preview of The Rag Week published in the Bucks Free Press Midweek on 10th February 1976.  The preview lists the event for the forthcoming week and leads off:

High Wycombe Rag Week 1976 kicks off on Friday morning with a Conga through the town. What follows is the now almost traditional week of pub crawls, races and dances in aid of charity.

The event is run by students at the Buckinghamshire College of Further Education – the former College of Technology and Art – and follows much the same line as in previous years.

Friday 13th February 1976 -Kilburn and The High Roads –Main College Hall

“Pre-Rag Ball where the Rag Queen will be chosen”

You can’t mention Kilburn & The High Roads on a High Wycombe related publication without recalling the fact that lead singer Ian Dury was a former pupil at Wycombe Grammar School.  The then 33 year old Dury had formed K&TH back in 1971. There line-up included guitarist Keith Lucas (later to become Nick Cash, lead signer for punk band 999).  Dury would go on to form Ian Dury & The Blockheads in 1977.

Monday 16th February 1976 – Kokomo – Town Hall

“A popular funky soul band led by the three Arrival vocalists will appear with supporting groups”

A quick internet search reveals Kokomo released their debut album in 1976. At the time of this post, they were about to embark on a March 2017 tour.

 

Wednesday 18th February 1976 – Brewer’s Droop – Student Union Bar

“Local and favourite band, Brewers Droop are performing at the Student Union bar”

Ron Watts’ band make an appearance two days before Watts return to bump into The Sex Pistols.

 Friday 20th February 1976 – Screaming Lord Sutch and Kites – Main College Hall

“The Rag Week climaxes in The Rag Ball at the college main hall.”

This gig infamously including an early appearance for The Sex Pistols. It is often referred to as being the ‘Valentine Ball’ and in some cases a ‘Ron Watts promotion’.  Neither is true.  By Watts’ own admission, he was there to book a stripper. Valentine’s Day was the previous Saturday.

Another myth is that the Sex Pistols turned up announced; gate crashed and pretended to be the support act.  In fact, The Sex Pistols were a late addition to the line-up – arranged with full knowledge of the Student Union Social team who had agreed a half crate of Carlsberg as the payment for their appearance.

Read more on the 20th February 1976 gig….

 

 

14 February 1975 – Brewer’s Droop – Technical College

Friday 14th February 1975 – Brewer’s Droop – Technical College

Ron Watts’ band, Brewer’s Droop were guests at the 1975 Valentine’s Ball at High Wycombe Technical College.  If I am reading the advert correctly, your romantic night out would have started out with the charmingly named Dildo Kids!!  Although that may have been a strap line for The Droop?

Music paper advert for Brewer’s Droop mini tour – February 1975, including Wycombe, Birmingham and Bognor

By the time of this gig, ‘The Droop’ had been gigging for more than four years, clocking up more than a 1,000 dates but regular gigs were on the downturn, leaving a then 33 year old Watts to concentrate on promoting.

The Technical College was also set for a change, when in September 1975 it was renamed (or in modern jargon, ‘rebranded’) to Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education.  Under both banners it would regularly host gigs throughout the 1970’s and beyond, while ‘rock concerts’ at the nearby Town Hall gradually became less frequent.

It was just over a year later that Watts returned to the venue (to help book a stripper) and bumped into a ‘bunch of scruffs’ called ‘The Sex Pistols’. The rest is..etc…

20 February 1976 – Sex Pistols and Lord Sutch – Wycombe College

Friday 20th February 1976 – Sex Pistols support Lord Sutch at Wycombe College

My research for this infamous gig provided much of the inspiration for this website.  An article published on chairboys.co.uk to mark the 40th anniversary included my findings from this chaotic evening.

More to follow on the myths surrounding this gig – in the meantime, you can read my original article published in February 2016.

http://www.chairboys.co.uk/history/1976_02_never_mind_the_bb.htm