The worst crowd ever at the Roundhouse - Roundhouse - Celebrating 50 Years


12 February 1978

A Roundhouse staff member who worked front of house in the seventies reveals that most punk crowds were charming, with one notable exception…

Cover for the 7″ single ‘Hersham Boys’, recorded live at the Roundhouse Sham 69 gig in 1978.

Credit: Ian Burt, under the Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

I started working as a door steward at the Sunday night gigs at the Roundhouse in the mid 70s, whilst I was at university. Then I was given responsibility for managing the steward team before becoming an Assistant Front of House Manager.

We used to get a pretty hyped up crowd during the Punk era – the worst was at the Sham 69 gig. I missed that night (my colleague Mike Hinc was the Chief Steward on that night) but things got very violent – I believe people were wrenching the sleepers of the railway tracks and using them as battering rams.

But in general punk nights at the Roundhouse weren’t bad. One of the reasons was that we had a clever approach to security – we used to hire lots of young door stewards, guys and girls, rather than big muscley types as this tended to make audiences less aggressive (we had back up security in the back if we needed but we rarely did).

A couple of these teenagers we hired went on to do great things – pretty sure we gave DJ Westwood one of his first jobs (he had blue hair then and went by the name of Ziggy). I also remember one of our youngest stewards was Beeban Kidron, who went on to direct the Bridget Jones films and founded an educational charity.