Forty-three years ago next week, rising rock star Jimi Hendrix arrived in Ilkley to play a gig.

Winter Sundays are usually quite sedate affairs in Ilkley. But on the afternoon of March 12, 1967, the roads to Ilkley Moor were crowded with cars.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience were coming. The former US paratrooper’s three-man band was dropping in to the Gyro Club at the Troutbeck Hotel, before to flying out to Amsterdam the following day.

The band was hired for £150 to do three shows in Mansfield, Leeds and Ilkley before they took off with the release of Hey Joe, which hit the charts in January, 1967. By the time they arrived at the Gyro, their reputation as an exciting live act, with Hendrix pre-eminent as a guitar virtuoso, was established.

Bradford police hadn’t wanted The Beatles to return to the Gaumont in October 1964 – their third visit – citing public order concerns; by then the band was world-famous. They didn’t win that one.

What happened at Ilkley is open to debate. Some people who were there say the police stopped the show almost as soon as Hendrix played the first notes on his Fender Stratocaster. According to other reports, the band played at least one number and were just starting a second – perhaps Howlin’ Wolf’s Killing Floor – when the law intervened, claiming the Gyro was overcrowded.

Club manager Nigel Edwards told one newspaper: “They thought there were too many people in the place. I would say there were between 700 and 800 people present. The police said the limit should have been 250, which seems very small in view of the size of the ballroom.”

Gerry Stickells, the band’s road manager, commented at the time: “Jimi and the boys were very disappointed that the show had to end so suddenly.”

Refunding the audience proved to be tricky, and minor damage to the hotel – a broken door, pictures torn off walls, smashed drinking glasses – was reported, although some people say this was exaggerated by newspapers who would later caricature Hendrix as ‘the wild man of rock’.

Amplifiers, guitars and drums back in the van, the band drove down the hill to the Crescent Hotel for an overnight stay.

A couple of years ago, the hotel’s manager, Steve McGriskin, a Hendrix fan, named a new beer from the Moorhouse’s brewery ‘Jimi’s ale’. It’s still a favourite.

There is a photograph in the bar of Hendrix supping a pint.

In November 2008, the Hendrix tribute band Are You Experienced? took part in the hotel’s first rock festival weekend.

Had Jimi Hendrix lived, he would now be approaching his 67th birthday. The Troutbeck Hotel, in Crossbeck Road, is now a residential care home for the elderly.

The 40th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death in 1970, is to be marked on Monday with the release of Valleys Of Neptune, an album of previously-unreleased material.

Were you at the gig? Send an e-mail to, describing what you remember.