Surrounded by small towns and villages in rural Scotland, Albert Bonici began promoting live dances in the area in the early 1950s. At the time, he attended dances at Elgin’s St. Sylvester’s Catholic Church and other local venues. The Lido featured a house band and Drill Hall by Cooper Park brought in bands though not on a regular basis. Married in ’56, Albert and his wife Betty enjoyed attending attending live dances and often had to travel a distance to attend them.
Though the local competition for throwing dances in Elgin was the Lido, Albert’s LCB Agency faced their biggest challenge in 1962 from a London promotion agency who opened an office in Dundee That was the year Albert Bonici out maneuvered his competition to present most of the popular British bands to the north of Scotland and certainly in the north-east as he worked with localized promoters to offer full tours. Malcolm Nixon Agency of London proceeded to book entertainment in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and some of the northern regions of Scotland though Nixon rubbed some of the locals the wrong way. This did not escape the attention of Mr. Bonici who watched the market to find and secure the best acts available for LCB Agency. Towards the end of 1962, he included an exclusive rights clause and in November 1962, Brian Epstein agreed to allow AA Bonici the option to host all future Beatles concerts in Scotland [which he recended in a later negotiation]. Also, in order to stave off competition with the Nixon Agency, he began offering ten-day tours in Scotland rather than five in 1963.
According to personal communications between Cana Variety’s Jack Fallon and Albert Bonici, it was noted on a few occasions that Malcolm Nixon put off some of the localized promoters in Scotland which gave Mr. Bonici an advantage. However, Nixon hired young agents to man the new Dundee office including Andy Lothian Jr, who had run shows for Albert and eventually started his own promotions known as ALP [Andy Lothian Promotions]. According to Andy, he also accompanied Albert Bonici on his first trip to see Brian Epstein. The intent of the visit was to negotiate tours featuring the Beatles besides co-hosting other bands. In 1964, Lothian was editor for “The Scottish Beat” for Malcolm Nixon in Dundee. Albert who did a joint show with Andy in Dundee that summer, advertised in the periodical. Editor Lothian listed Malcolm Nixon Agency and Albert Bonici as the two largest promotion agencies in Scotland.
Securing the Beatles for Scotland gigs:
Jack Fallon – 6 February, 1963: Dear Albert, This is just a recap letter on some of the points we are discussing. “THE BEETLES. As you will see by the charts, this group are in the charts in three places, jumping in at number 9 with their latest record. He [Brian Epstein] is asking £100 for a period in April, £150 for a period in May, available May 11th – 15th; let me know.” Note: Brian Epstein replied to Albert’s response through Jack at Cana Variety 6 March. Mr. Epstein’s correspondence is currently missing from the Bonici Archives. Also see: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/beatles-tour-contract-nov63/
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