The UFO Club was founded by John Hopkins (usually known as "Hoppy") and Joe Boyd in an Irish dancehall called the "Blarney Club" in the basement of 31 Tottenham Court Road, under Berkeley
Cinema and opposite the Dominion Theatre. It opened on December 23 1966. Initially the club was advertised as "UFO Presents
Night Tripper". This had been because Boyd and Hopkins could not decide on "UFO" or "Night Tripper" as a name for their club.
Eventually they settled on "UFO".
The original arrangement with the Blarney Club was for the last two Fridays of December. Boyd and Hopkins
had started the club because they were in need of cash, and they were unsure as to how large a crowd they would attract. But,
as Boyd later wrote, "freaks came out of the woodwork from all over the city and we made a profit."
Pink Floyd were booked for the first two Fridays, and then re-engaged as the club carried on into 1967
after its initial success. Initial events combined live music with light shows, avant garde films and slide shows, dance troupes
and even "spot the fuzz" competitions as attention from plain clothes police units increased.
Pink Floyd's tenure at UFO was short run. As their fame grew they were able to play bigger venues for
higher fees. Boyd protested that their increasing fame was largely due to the success of UFO, but the band's management wanted
to move on and an agreement was made for just three more Floyd performances at UFO, at an increased fee.
Hopkins and Boyd had to cast around for a new "house band" for UFO. They settled on Soft
Machine but also started booking other acts who were attracted by the club's reputation. Amongst
them were The Incredible String Band, Arthur Brown, Tomorrow, and Procol Harum, who played there when "A Whiter Shade of Pale" was No 1 in the charts. Other artists
appeared unexpectedly: for instance on April 28 1967, Jimi Hendrix turned up as part of the audience, and then jammed with Tomorrow, who led the bill.
An advertisement featuring the Flammarion woodcut in the Feb 13–26 issue of The International Times for "UfOria! Festival of Love 10.30 till dawn" [sic] announced
"feb.10 — the bonzo dog doodah band • flix–dali–bunuel • ginger johnson african drums" as well as "feb 17 — soft machine • mark boyle projections • movies • food • erogenius 3 + 4".
Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, consisting of Michael English and Nigel Waymouth, designed psychedelic posters to advertise events.
The UFO Club’s success was its downfall — being too small to accommodate the increasing
number of visitors. The crunch came in June 1967, when Hopkins was imprisoned for drug offences. Police pressure on the club
increased in the following weeks, and the landlords revoked the lease. The club moved into The Roundhouse for a few months but, despite the building being almost derelict, the rent was exorbitant. If a big name
such as Jeff Beck was playing, UFO broke even, but the club usually lost money. In October 1967 the UFO Club at the Roundhouse
sourced from: Joe Boyd, White Bicycles - Making Music in the 1960s, Serpent's Tail, 2006.