In case you’ve never made the connection, Hitchin’s iconic music venue Club 85 takes its name from the year of its foundation – and that’s now all over 30 years go.

The Comet: Indi & The VegasIndi & The Vegas (Image: Archant)

Up until then the Whinbush Road venue served as a Labour Party-affiliated working men’s club, but when that closed down the new name came into being as Club 85 was developed as a bar and function venue.

Regular live gigs with a punk feel began to be a fixture from 1995, and then in 2000 Bob Mardon took over the reins and began to build Club 85’s reputation as a well-equipped performance venue that hosts top touring talent as well as up and coming local acts.

Bob proudly bills his pride and joy as ‘the best appointed proper live music venue in the region’ which remains fiercely independent and has no support or funding from breweries or other organisations.

“It is a self-funding live music venue supporting the local scene and bringing touring bands to Hitchin on a regular basis,” he said.

The Comet: Cara BeardCara Beard (Image: Archant)

“At a time when many venues are closing across the country, Club 85 remains a dedicated part of the community that supports it – providing a place for local bands and audiences as well as putting Hitchin on the map with outside artists.

“The venue has a great reputation for its friendliness and decent stage and sound facilities.

“It is used by a range of promoters as well as in house and has an eclectic programme of original live music that covers everything from reggae to metal, dubstep to indie, and all on your doorstep. So please support us and help make the next 30 years as much fun as the first lot.

“September 1 is our official 20th birthday, and to mark that we are taking over Bancroft Gardens on bank holiday Monday, August 31, putting live bands and summery DJs in the bandstand plus an acoustic stage by the river.

The Comet: Owen StephenOwen Stephen (Image: Archant)

“We would like to invite everyone to join us for a DIY Picnic from 12 noon until 7.30pm and enjoy some of our best local musical talent.

“It’s free to all, just bring a picnic and settle in.”

But Monday’s Bancroft bash is only part of a weekend of gigs to mark the milestone.

On Saturday night top tribute act Who’s Next will be belting out the hits, with support from young rockers Kied. Tickets are £10 in advance of 12 on the door.

And on Sunday night Stevenage-based North Herts heroes Scum of Toytown will be performing a set of their festival-friendly ska punk sounds, with support from the Jesus Hooligan drum circle and others. Tickets are £6 in advance or £7.50 on the door.

Find out more about the gigs and ticket stockists online at