A Study in Branding Popular Entertainment

Mecca Ltd. was a small company running cafes and dance halls that quickly developed into a phenomenon that defining Britain's entertainment and social networking for over fifty years. At it's peak in the 1960's it owned over 80 Ballrooms, as well as the Miss World competition. Within twenty years It eventually disappeared from the UK entertainment landscape. It is a classic case study for anyone developing, or running entertainment venues.

The number of couples who met through the many years Mecca Dancing operated ballrooms and clubs around the UK is enormous. During the WWII they were the place to meet future brides and girlfriends. In the 1960's they were the centre of social entertainment. Many Americans, stationed in Britain during the War years and beyond met their future wives on the dance floor.

Yet despite catering to tens of thousands of people every day it became stale, and it tried to redefine itself by re branding, but sadly entertainment needs change from generation to generation, and like most entertainment venues shelf life from the 1960's onwards was measured in months not years.

It was at the peak of growth that a very young teenager, Alan Simpson, joined the staff at the Locarno Ballroom, Wakefield, in Yorkshire as a part time lighting and sound operator, and occasional DJ. For five years he worked with hundreds of British Groups, including the Beatles, and learned the craft of working an audience from Jimmy Savile and some great DJ's. The learning experience was enormous, seeing the old retire, and the new take it's first stumbling steps.

If you have a story to tell, or a photograph to send I welcome your email Let this be the road through the years of nostalgic memories Mecca Dancing gave to millions of people.