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.