The Beatles – Extremely Rare 1961 Aldershot Concert Poster (For An Audience of 18 People)

One of the earliest Beatles concert posters ever, from their notorious December 9, 1961 “Battle of the Bands” in Aldershot, 30 miles outside London.  This show was The Beatles’ first live performance in the south of England and took place the same night as their informal London debut. But this date was legendary as the night the Beatles performed for an audience of only 18 people.

In the often told story (see images), promoter Sam Leach’s advertisement failed to run in the local paper, and the Beatles arrived, after a nine hour bus journey from Liverpool, to an empty hall.  Leach ran around to local pubs offering free admission and was eventually able to round up 18 people for The Beatles to perform to.

The poster notes The Beatles–with original drummer Pete Best–were “Direct from their German Tour”  (actually, they only played in Hamburg.)   Ivor Jay & the Jaywalkers, billed as “One of London’s Top ‘Beat’ Groups” were virtually unknown, and adding to the confusion, never showed up. While this was billed as the first in a series of “Big Beat Sessions,” it was the Beatles’ first and last.

With nowhere to spend the night, The Beatles headed to London, where they (minus George) jumped on stage at a friend’s club for their first (very informal) London performance.

This is one of only two examples of this poster known to exist (a third copy surfaced some years ago, but it is missing much of its right edge.) “Window card” size, 14″ x 10 3/8″, printed on card stock, with flattened horizontal and vertical creases (easily restored, however we have left this in its original state.)  A truly extraordinary Bealtes collectible from their earliest days.

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