A BLUE plaque is to be unveiled next week that commemorates the 1961 opening of Bournemouth’s first full-time rock and jazz venue The Downstairs Club, later known as Le Disque a Go! Go!
A ceremony will take place on Sunday, September 14 at 3pm at 9, Holdenhurst Road, in Lansdowne (now Barista Brothers).
Many famous musicians and bands subsequently played at the club including The Who, Manfred Mann, Eric Clapton, Georgie Fame, Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band and Andy Summers (later of The Police).
The club later became a disco and closed some years ago, the site now being a coffee shop.
The unveiling will be attended by local music royalty Zoot Money and Andy Summers. There will also be words from the organiser Al Kirtley, Allan Azern (a former owner of the club) and Mayor of Bournemouth, Chris Mayne.
Musician Al Kirtley told the Daily Echo about the importance of the blue plaque: “I was playing piano with Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band at the start of the year and I realised it was over 50 years ago that I first started playing with the very first version of the band at The Downstairs Club. It has been closed for years, but I thought this was Bournemouth’s first live venue, so why not get up a blue plaque?”
Al Kirtley added: “The Downstairs Club used to stretch out underneath the pavement. It was quite something when it first opened in 1961 because it was Bournemouth’s first full-time rock and jazz venue.
“They started getting a lot of bands. Manfred Mann did 18 months there as the resident band. The Who did a show and Eric Clapton played there with his Blues Breakers. Andy Summers also played there.”