The Electric Ballroom is a venue that has been at the very heart of the Camden Market area of London for over 70 years, and despite an uncertain future, it is still very much part of what attracts so many to Camden.
The list of musical artists that have appeared at the Electric Ballroom since it opened its doors in the 1930’s, reads like a who’s who of pop and rock.
A diverse range of artists from Sir Paul McCartney, Stereophonics, U2, Prince, The Vaccines and The Clash, have all appeared at the Electric Ballroom. The 1970’s was a particularly fertile period with the owner Mr Bill Fuller running a chain of ballrooms throughout England and the United States.
The venue was previously known as The Buffalo and music was the driving force that made this building in Camden become such a magnet for bands and where great music could be heard.
Through the decades
The Electric Ballroom is now very much a part of Camden Market and the building plays host to a vibrant trading environment with stalls featuring independent designers and dealers specialising in unique or unusual wares.
Visitors to the indoor market there will be following in the footsteps of some legendary performers when they enter through the doors of the Electric Ballroom.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, you could have been able to watch live performances from Nick Cave, The Smiths, Adam and the Ants and Talking Heads, to name just a few of the acts that have lined up there.
The Ballroom actually closed for 9 months during 1979, so that soundproofing work could be done due to noise complaints but in true style, the first gig when it re-opened was a 2-Tone special evening that featured Madness, The Specials, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Selector, all on the same bill.
The 1990’s was a decade that witnessed the introduction of what turned out to be hugely popular club nights at the Electric Ballroom.
The mix of music included a regular Friday night Goth disco known as Full Tilt and regular gigs with acts like Ocean Colour Scene and appearances from Noel and Liam Gallagher in 1996.
Many people connected with the Electric Ballroom, both music fans and artists alike, have been involved in a lengthy battle to save the future of this iconic venue.
London Underground made a proposal in 2003 the re-develop Camden Town tube station, which would have led to a compulsory purchase order of the Electric Ballroom and an end to the amazing story of this great building.
With the campaigning assistance of stars like Sir Bob Geldof and other prominent musicians, the public inquiry came down in favor of saving the Electric Ballroom, for now.
The Electric Ballroom has so many memories for so many people and continues to be an important part of the local community, but there will surely be further battles ahead to preserve a venue that is steeped in musical history and is the very heartbeat of Camden itself.
Kevin Ellis is a digital content coordinator and marketing consultant. He enjoys blogging and sharing his ideas online. His articles mainly appear on travel and lifestyle blogs.