Stage in London park where Ziggy played in 1969 gets Grade II listing

Let’s Dance… on David Bowie’s bandstand! Tiny stage in London park where Ziggy played guitar in 1969 gets Grade II listing

  • David Bowie gave a free festival to 3,000 people on this day in August 1969
  • The ‘Bowie bandstand’ he performed on has been given Grade II listed status 
  • The bandstand in in Beckenham, London, will play host to a festival 50 years on

By Colin Fernandez for the Daily Mail

Published: 19:00 EDT, 15 August 2019 | Updated: 21:38 EDT, 15 August 2019

Bowie, whose songs include Let’s Dance, Ashes To Ashes and Starman, is said to have penned the lyrics to Life On Mars on the steps of the bandstand. The structure eventually fell into disrepair and in 2013, fans began a campaign to save and restore the ‘Bowie Bandstand’

After a six-year campaign, a run-down musical landmark has really made the grade.

The bandstand from which David Bowie gave a free festival – having just released his first hit Space Oddity – has been granted Grade II listed status.

The event in Beckenham, south-east London, was held 50 years ago today to raise money for an arts project run by the future rock star. 

It attracted 3,000 fans to the Croydon Road Recreation Ground – somewhat fewer than the 500,000 hippies who that weekend in August 1969 were attending the Woodstock festival.

Bowie lived nearby with landlady-turned-lover Mary Finnigan. A month later, Space Oddity became a hit, launching the career of one of the greats of rock music.

Bowie, whose songs include Let’s Dance, Ashes To Ashes and Starman, is said to have penned the lyrics to Life On Mars on the steps of the bandstand. 

Inspired by his concert, he wrote Memory Of A Free Festival, a track on his next album. 

But the structure eventually fell into disrepair and in 2013, fans began a campaign to save and restore the ‘Bowie Bandstand’.

Bowie gave his support, sending signed albums from his New York home to be raffled. 

An annual festival, Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity, was started in 2016 following the star’s death. This year’s event takes place in the park tomorrow.

David Bowie, left, is pictured playing with other musicians at the festival. The event in Beckenham, south-east London, was held 50 years ago today to raise money for an arts project run by the future rock star

As a result of the campaign, which has raised around a third of the £245,000 restoration cost, the bandstand, owned by Bromley Council, has been given Grade II listed status by the Culture Department, on the advice of Historic England. A photo of the festival is pictured above

As a result of the campaign, which has raised around a third of the £245,000 restoration cost, the bandstand, owned by Bromley Council, has been given Grade II listed status by the Culture Department, on the advice of Historic England.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: ‘You probably wouldn’t expect it was once the stage for a young man who would become one of the most iconic musicians of the 20th century. 

Its significance as a site that inspired Bowie shows us how powerful our historic places can be and how important it is that we protect them.’

Bowie is pictured at a party in Los Angeles in 1975, left, and right at on stage in Germany. An annual festival, Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity, was started in 2016 following the star’s death

The bandstand from which David Bowie gave a free festival – having just released his first hit Space Oddity – has been granted Grade II listed status

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