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Secrets of the 60s: Former Rhodes Centre promoter Alan Goldsmith to reveal how much he paid Stevie Wonder to perform in Bishop’s Stortford – and why he turned down The Rolling Stones and Tom Jones





A former Bishop’s Stortford music promoter will take to the stage to celebrate 60 years of the town’s iconic music venue.

In November, South Mill Arts – formerly the Rhodes Centre – turns 60 and Alan Goldsmith was there right at the start, booking Stevie Wonder, Elton John, The Who, Eric Clapton, The Small Faces, Rod Stewart and many more to perform to Stortford audiences.

Now 83, Alan, who established Stansted’s Mountfitchet Castle and House on the Hill Toy Museum, will be taking to the stage himself for the Secrets of the 60s show on November 1.

The Secrets of the 60s conversation tour comes to South Mill Arts on Wednesday November 1
The Secrets of the 60s conversation tour comes to South Mill Arts on Wednesday November 1

He will reveal stories such as how much he paid Stevie Wonder for a gig and how he was shocked to see him turn up in a Ford Popular with just his tutor and no entourage.

Alan began in the business when he was just 18 and soon gained a bulging contacts book and a reputation for putting on a great night out.

He says he won’t be too embarrassed to recall why he decided not to book The Rolling Stones for the Rhodes, even though they really wanted to perform there. He’ll also explain why he turned down Tom Jones and how he had to tread carefully when putting on nights for mods and rockers.

Alan Goldsmith was a music promoter in the 1960s
Alan Goldsmith was a music promoter in the 1960s

“I’m hoping people will love to hear about the fees I paid to the stars, and the demands and tantrums I had to juggle to get the acts on stage! Was it really all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll? The truth will be told and you can ask us your questions and share your memories too.

“We used to let the first 50 girls get in free,” he said. “I wonder if we can find any of them again…it would be great to all get together for one more time and share these stories while we can.

“Maybe you got a piece of kit from The Who when they smashed up their instruments or can remember the famous pirate radio DJ (who still presents for the BBC) who came to the centre when he released a song which got into the charts.”

Alan’s love of the 1960s has led to a lifetime collecting Sixties memorabilia and he’s now become an expert on the value of signed photos, concert programmes, old tickets, posters and more.

Singer Dave Berry performing in the 1960s
Singer Dave Berry performing in the 1960s

Audience members are invited to take along any items that might be of value and Alan will give an estimation of what they might be worth.

Joining Alan for the Secrets of the 60s show is singer Dave Berry, whose hits include Crying Game and Little Things.

Celebrating 63 years since he turned professional, Dave is still touring and playing to packed venues. He is described as “full of enthusiasm for those early days and equally full of stories about what really went on in the Swinging Sixties”.

An original poster from 1968 advertising The Small Faces for the "rave of the year" at the former Rhodes Centre, now South Mill Arts
An original poster from 1968 advertising The Small Faces for the "rave of the year" at the former Rhodes Centre, now South Mill Arts

He toured with many of the biggest names, including The Rolling Stones, and has fond memories of the good times they spent together. “Why do you think I look like I do now!” he jokes.

He’ll talk openly about his relationship with Mandy Rice-Davies, who was at the heart of the Profumo affair alongside her friend Christine Keeler. The scandal rocked British politics in 1963 and Dave had a real insight that most didn’t.

BBC Radio host Steve Scruton
BBC Radio host Steve Scruton

It wasn’t the only time he was in the middle of a media storm. He’ll divulge details of how a skin mole helped him prove he wasn’t the father of a local hairdresser’s child – just one occasion when people tried to use his identity for their advantage.

Dave’s fame spread across the North Sea and he became a star in Holland and Belgium. At one point, he had five songs in the singles charts there at the same time. He’ll recall the frenzy that developed in the centre of Amsterdam as he turned up for a show with thousands of screaming fans descending on his tour bus.

Dave’s planning to bring along some of his most prized possessions, including a gold disc and an achievement award from Radio Veronica, one of the 1960s pirate stations anchored off the Dutch coast.

He says he’s looking forward to coming back to the area and is looking forward to singing his biggest hit live.

Secrets of the 60s will be hosted by BBC radio presenter Steve Scruton, who has been broadcasting in the region for over 30 years.

Tickets are available from South Mill Arts on 01279 710200 or via its website at southmillarts.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/873649958.



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