Holidays with DJs

The Radio London 'Holidays With Deejays' promotion saw Keith Skues, Mark Roman, Chuck Blair, Tony Blackburn and Ed Stewart spend a week each in the Spanish resort of Estartit, accompanied by Big L listeners who had paid £28 apiece for the privilege. (Rough equivalent in 2009, £379.) Travelling abroad on holiday was a relatively new idea to the British public, and package tours were just beginning to become affordable and popular, so this was a forward-thinking venture for the station. According to Stewpot, who went on May 27th, the now-massive Estartit was a, "One-horse, very quiet resort" in the summer of '67 and the accommodation was, "A bit of a tip".

Below, courtesy of Brian Long and 'The London Sound', is the information that was sent out to anyone enquiring about the holidays. For authenticity, I have followed Brian's lead and have retyped it exactly as it appeared originally, complete with lack of punctuation, Strange Capitalisation and mis-spellings of DJ names. It clearly wasn't checked before it was sent out!

From the comments of those who were there, what the youngsters were promised for their £28 (the average weekly wage in 1967 was £8.00 or less) and what they actually got, appears to something rather different.

(Left) Cardboard Shoes indicates the size of the cheque he received for his stint in Estartit. (Photo courtesy of Hans Knot)

This year, enjoy a week's summer madness in sunbaked Spain on a Radio London DJ Party. This holiday, specially arranged in conjunction with Overseas Villas as a holiday for young people, gives Radio London listeners a marvellous opportunity of sharing a fantastic week in the sun amidst a group of lively young people - and every night in your own discotheque you can dance till the early hours whilst your favourite DJs spin the discs.

THIS HOLIDAY, WHICH COSTS ONLY £28, includes a week in Spain with full board, and travel by BUA Britannia to and from Spain. In addition, of course, you will be able to meet all your favourite Big L DJs. Amongst those who will be there are Tony Blackburn, Mark Roman, Norman St John, Paul Kay, Pete Drummond, Chuck Blair, Lorne King, Ed Stuart (sic), Kenny Everet (sic) and Keith Skeus (sic).

At ESTARTIT on the Coast Brava. This fishing village is a really delightful spot. Situated at the foot of two pine covered hills at the end of a huge, sandy bay, Estartit has the natural rugged beauty common to the whole coast, with fine sandy beaches, warm blue seas, Rocky coves and pine forests. We can promise that party members will find Estartit is the greatest - it's the sort of place where after only a few days you know and greet practically everyone in town.

Estartit has plenty to offer in the way of entertainment. It has rapidly built up a reputation with the Younger Set from all over the Continent as a resort that is really 'with it', providing entertainment which is neither over-sophisticated, nor commercialised, and at prices you can afford. Every night of course you can dance to the latest pop records in your own discotheque whilst your Big L DJs spin the discs, or you can visit the innumerable little bodegas on the shoreline, where you can relax and listen to the mellow rhythms of the Spanish guitars and watch stirring displays of flamenco dancing.

Day time activities are as varied and exciting as the nocturnal ones. You can if you wish to relax in the sun on the finest beach on the Coast, taking an occasional swim in the cool blue Med. For the more energetic there is water skiing, sailing and diving. And if you wish to get out of Estartit for the day, there are numerous fascinating places to visit along the coast.

At the Pension Montegri. This is a small hotel run by an English company which caters exclusively for the under-30s. At the Pension you will be accommodated in rooms of two or three. Meals consist of continental breakfast, light lunch and a four course dinner in the evening - and guess what - wine is provided free with your meals. On the ground floor of the Pension is your own discotheque, which has tremendous reproduction, all the latest pops and your Big L DJs to spin the discs.

Travel to Estartit for the parties is by air from Gatwick Airport to Perpignan by British United Airways Britannia prop-jet. The flight leaves Gatwick at 10.00am every Saturday morning. On arrival at Perpignan airport, you will be met and transferred by coach from the airport to the Pension in Estartit. Below are the dates on which each party commences. Each party lasts for one week from Saturday to Saturday:–

13th, 20th, 27th MAY; 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th JUNE

The price for a week's holiday is £28 – and this includes everything - your return flight, one week's full board at the villa and return transport to and from the Airport to the Pension in Spain. The only extra money you need is pocket money to buy a few drinks and presents for friends - £5 should certainly be enough.

If you would like to join one of our Radio London DJ Parties, please complete the enclosed booking form and return it, together with your deposit of £5. 0. 0., to RADIO LONDON HOLIDAY, OVERSEAS VILLAS, 6 VIGO STREET, REGENT STREET, LONDON W. 1. On receipt of your booking form, we will immediately confirm that we have booked a place for you on the party of your choice. You will be expected to pay the balance of the money due for your holiday one month before departure.

If there is anything you want to know about the parties, why not ring us. Just dial 01.573.5577, and ask for ROY.

Webmaster notes:
It's a shame we can no longer dial 01 573 5577 and ask for ROY, as he might have been able to answer a few useful questions. First of all, according to Stewpot, he went on the first holiday, on May 27th. According to the above information list, the first departure date was scheduled to have been on May 13th, but we know that Stewpot was aboard the
Galaxy that week, as he presented the Fab Forty on May 14th! We can only speculate that the two earlier holidays failed to happen – perhaps because of insufficient bookings. Also, seven starting dates are given, but according to Brian Long, only Keith Skues, Mark Roman, Chuck Blair, Tony Blackburn and Ed Stewart went – for one week each. Whether all seven holidays actually took place on the proposed dates and whether any of the other DJs went, is uncertain. Brian reports that Chuck returned to the Galaxy on July 11th 'after holidays in Spain and the USA' and went on Pete Drummond's Coffee Break on July 14th to talk about it. This implies that Chuck had been to Spain on one of the last of the Holidays With DJs.

Second, the blurb tells us the accommodation is at the Pension Montegri, where the discotheque with the 'tremendous reproduction' is sited on the ground floor. ( We shall refrain from comment about that.) According to John Church, the Casa Blanca was not in the same building as the pension. Was there a change of venue?

Note that the price for the holidays was the same regardless of the date, whereas now, the rate for a week in May would be cheaper than that for June.

Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale had previewed on Big L around April 17th and its massive success was reflected in Estartit. People flocked nightly to the appropriately-named White House Discotheque, Casa Blanca, where the currently-visiting Radio London DJ would spin records alongside the resident jocks. The disc proved so popular during Stewpot's visit (it was during a week when it was ascending the Fab Forty) that he estimated he received an audience request to play it about every ten minutes!

Some years ago in 'Who Found Whom' – our missing DJs section – we included the following item:

"According to Brian Long's book The London Sound, when Big L ran their 1967 'Holidays with DJs' promotion to Estartit, additional DJs joined the Radio London jocks at the local discotheque Casa Blanca. (See Procol Harum feature, Fab Forty 21/05/67) Two names mentioned are John Chadwick and Ken Bryant. We'd love to hear from John, Ken and anyone else who worked in Spain on the 'Holidays with DJs', or indeed anyone who went on the holidays."

In August 2006, we received a response from Casa Blanca DJ John Church, then in 2008, John updated and added to his recollections and we also heard from John Chadwick. The two Johns do not recall meeting each other and neither is familiar with the name Ken Bryant. Of course, it is possible Ken worked under a different name.

We have yet to hear from any members of the public who went on the holidays and so far, nobody has come up with any photos. However, John Church has found a shot from 1967 which he feels sums up the atmosphere of 'Holidays' With DJs'.

"A private party shot of the usual suspects feeling no pain in a club called 'The Custard Beast' (how 1967 is that?) I'm in the centre of the picture with my mouth open, as usual."

The two Johns tell their stories on Page 2.

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