Kidlington Journalists
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Tony Bennell

reminds us it's always been

Party Time!


My name is Tony Bennell and I run the Tony Bennell Entertainment Agency.

Back in the 1960s I sang with a couple of local semi-pro pop groups and, after this, I promoted dances held in a number of local village halls including Islip, Bletchington, Kirtlington, and in the centre of Oxford at the Carfax Assembly Rooms.

In this article, I look back over half a century of providing a wide range of entertainment in our region. In fact for me it's fifty years precisely in November 2018! And I am extremely proud of all the events and the great variety of entertainers I have booked for my clients throughout this period.

For your own upcoming event? Well, I live and work in Kidlington, so to discuss your own party plans – and perhaps consider something a little different for your guests – you can contact me via my website, here: Tony Bennell Entertainment Agency.

Open Quotes

Yes — Party Time!

Back in the 1960s dancing was to live groups – ‘discos’ hadn’t yet been invented!

Because of my connections with many local musicians, people often asked me for help in finding a band to play for their party, club or wedding and I was only too pleased to be involved and to offer whatever help and advice I could give them.

Eventually I decided to put these ‘talents’ to gainful use and became registered under the Theatrical Employers Registration Act. I became an entertainment agent.

Live music was the standard in the early 1960s. The volume began to rise.
But Disco was yet to follow.

The Swinging Sixties

Freddie & The Dreamers ... and, 'You were made for me!'

Over the years I booked many bands for a variety of different clients, but typically for social clubs, pubs, masonics, engagements and weddings. One of my specialities was to put together variety shows for organisations requiring a night of entertainment featuring comedy acts, speciality acts and musicians.

Sometimes these shows featured the 'celebrities' of the time such as Frank Carson, Jim Bowen, and Jethro – amongst many other new faces then still up-and-coming.

I also booked a number of ‘sixties’ bands including Freddie & The Dreamers, The Searchers, The Temperance Seven, Candlewick Green, The Wurzels, White Plains, Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas, Marty Wilde & the Wildcats, Billy Fury, Love Affair, Nashville Teens, Marmalade and others, often for clients such as ‘Kidlington Round Table’ for their fundraising events.

Party Time Today!

Matt King has been performing his Elvis show and tribute for over 23 years and is well-known as one of the leading Elvis impersonators in the UK.

(For a few years – because at one time they were very popular – I also booked Stag Shows, Hen Nights and Kissagrams. But, I have to say, there is very little call for any of these nowadays!)

These days I book many different types and sizes of bands including solos, duos, trios and larger bands for functions, parties, weddings, masonics, school proms, hotels and restaurants.

I supply bands for themed occasions such as West Indian steel bands, Bavarian oompah bands, Indian bhangra drummers, Greek musicians, and more. I book discos (mainly those able to cover music from across the decades to suit all ages and musical tastes), karaoke, comedians, magicians and many types of cabaret artistes.

In 2018? Well, very much in vogue at present are tribute acts and tribute bands and I have many of these already standing in the wings for you as you'll see from my website. Among the most popular: Abba, Chas & Dave, The Spice Girls, Buddy Holly, The Kinks, Shirley Bassey, Elvis Presley. Take a look for more.

My business has altered a lot over the years, with many people nowadays booking their entertainment directly through the internet where, sadly, a number of unregistered agents have cropped up all over the Country. But, as we say in showbiz, the old ones are always the best! So do run your ideas past me when you're planning your next special event. The chances are, we'll have it covered.

Close Quotes
Quill Pen
Tony Bennell
November 2018

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Please address any comments you may have about this article to:

• 13 Henrietta Ussher, The Children's House
• 12 Tony Bennell, Party Time!
• 11 Giles Woodforde, Magic Bellringing
• 10 Lynn Pilgrim, Heart to Heart
• 09 Marita Ferrett, Kidlington Macular Support Group
• 08 Sue Honoré, Who Were My Accestors?
• 07 Ryan Rushton, Daybreak's Fun Run
• 06 Ella Gauci, Applying for University
• 05 Robert Bullard, Using Email
• 04 Michael Watts, Two Words of Caution - Care and Patience
• 03 Alan Sowden, Keeping Your Books
• 02 Ella Gauci, Hidden Value in Kidlington's Charity Shops
• 01 Giles Woodforde, Colin Dexter's Memorial Service


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