From U2 to Queen: Here are all the artists you didn’t know played Lancaster Uni

Some of your (or your dad’s) faves might be in here 

Did you know that, for 15 years, between 1970 and 1985, Lancaster University was a widely sought-after venue for live music?

The Great Hall is now better known for graduation, welcome talks, and if you’re unlucky enough, in-person exams, but back in the 70s and 80s the stage was open to more than 500 different acts, including the likes of Queen, AC/DC, The Jam, and U2.

These acts were booked by Barry Lucas, who studied English Literature in Lonsdale, beginning in 1968. The story goes that, as Lonsdale’s social sec, he and the Bowland social sec, Gaz Taylor, combined their budgets to book The Who to play in the Great Hall.

When Rock Went To College is an exhibition curated by Barry Lucas and Paul Tomlinson, and can be viewed in the Library through October

Students were charged £1 for a ticket to this show, and it was such a success for both The Who and the uni that from then on,  multiple different bands and artists requested to play at Lancaster.

These included Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Van Morrison (who appeared twice), Paul McCartney and Wings, Status Quo, and Bob Marley and The Wailers. 

Lancaster Uni also saw Blondie, Queen, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, The Pretenders, and The Ramones perform in the Great Hall, with a complete list below.

You can also find this list, as well as the full story of how it all began, in the Library throughout the rest of October as part of the When Rock Went To College exhibition.

And next time you’re crying over forking out a hundred quid for a gig (and that’s before train and hotel costs), remember that, if you were at uni forty years ago, your favourite artist would have probably been playing just down the Spine.

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