This film is part of Free

Jazz Band Ball

A delirious 60s jazz dance night at a legendary Newcastle nightspot, the Majestic Ballroom, scene of the Beatles first gig in the city.

Amateur film 1963 10 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


In a blackened, still industrial city, the spirit of a vibrant Newcastle jazz and R&B scene is alive and kicking in this colourful snapshot of a student Xmas dance with live bands at Rank’s Majestic Ballroom. A fascinating clash of pop cult fashions is on show – art school beatnik, Teddy boy, and a new mod style. An exciting final montage captures the dazzling range of styles and steps on the dance floor that night.

The post-WW2 trad jazz revival was still at a commercial high when these Newcastle College of Further Education students danced to local bands River City Jazzmen and Mighty Joe Young Jazzmen. But earlier that year the Beatles had played The Maj, as it was affectionately known, and traditional jazz was considered old school. This amateur film by members of Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers’ Association, formed in 1927, was shot when the American R&B-influenced beat and blues boom gripped the city’s music scene, its working class and art school roots personified by Walker lad Eric Burdon and the Animals. This film’s sound track was added later and does not feature the bands on stage that night.