Last dance for disco king of Felixstowe

BE prepared should be the motto of every DJ – and Jon Kennedy's 10,000 records have never left him scouting around for a song.For Jon has virtually every top 20 hit of the past 50 years and he has rarely been fazed by a request from the dance floor.

BE prepared should be the motto of every DJ – and Jon Kennedy's 10,000 records have never left him scouting around for a song.

For Jon has virtually every top 20 hit of the past 50 years and he has rarely been fazed by a request from the dance floor.

Whether it's YMCA by the Village People, Agadoo by Black Lace, Beatles, or Busted, or something that barely made the charts, the DJ has to have it.

"It's not usually a matter of not having a track – it's more a case of being able to remember where it is and find it quickly!" said Jon.


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"People love songs they can dance to and there are certain songs which are requested and played again and again at every disco.

"But every now and again someone asks for something a bit rarer, a bit unexpected, and I love to be able to say, yes, I have that – and put it straight on.

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"It's part of the pride of the DJ job, I suppose, and people love it when you can play the songs they want."

But now after 32 years he is hanging up his headphones – and says it's time to stop spinning discs.

His popular Dhobi Disco is one of the longest running roadshows in the county and thousands have bopped, rocked and twisted the night away with Jon over the decades.

Weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, special events – Dhobi Disco has helped them all go with a swing.

It's not lack of work which has persuaded him to call it a day, but his shift patterns at Felixstowe port – his day job – which have made it more difficult to run the disco.

"It's not lack of work because people book up to 18 months ahead and I have been very busy in the past four or five years," said Jon.

"But it has become more difficult because most functions are in the evenings and fitting them in has become a problem.

"I felt it was the right time to stop – 32 years is a long time and I have had great fun."

Jon, now 52, began his career in 1972 as the resident DJ at the First Floor Club in Ipswich. He then worked at a Colchester nightspot before going on the road.

Setting up the roadshow – with its array of lights, record decks, speakers and other equipment – has since then been a way of life.

But now Jon, who lives with his wife Judith in St George's Road, Old Felixstowe, is selling his equipment and getting rid of his 10,000 seven-inch and 12-inch vinyl and CD singles, worth thousands of pounds.

"I have got virtually every top 20 single since 1952, and many rarities. I have been able to hold specialist evenings in Tamla Motown, 50s, 60s, 70 nights, rock and roll evenings, even country and western evenings!" he said.

"I have one or two specialist shops I still use to get the vinyl records, which I much prefer to CDs, and the sound is much better.

"I tend to stick to the older songs that people love. People might say it's old hat – but I don't inflict new songs on people. People like to have a few drinks and dance to songs they know and love.

"If I'm honest, it's the older stuff which appeals to me, too, not today's music, though I do enjoy some of it. Even when I have got rid of all my records I will still have a fairly big collection of my own!"

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