The Knebworth Festival saw many of music's biggest acts venture to Hertfordshire, but did you know plenty more have played intimate gigs in Stevenage and Hitchin?

Here's nine acts you didn't know had performed in our area.

1. The Rolling Stones – Stevenage

Twelve years before Mick Jagger and co. rocked Knebworth in a chaotic 1976 festival, they appeared at Stevenage's Locarno Ballroom.

On April 1, 1964, The Rolling Stones were just starting to build a following and only a few weeks away from the release of their eponymous debut album, but that didn't stop an adoring crowd of screaming girls and dancing teenagers flocking to the Stevenage venue.

The Comet: The Rolling Stones at the Locarno Ballroom in 1964.The Rolling Stones at the Locarno Ballroom in 1964. (Image: Archant)

Among them was Mary Abra, who was 15 at the time, and actually got onto stage with the Stones that night.

"None of my friends wanted to see the Stones but I was determined, so went to the Mecca alone," she told The Comet back in 2019.

READ MORE: Remembering 55 years since The Rolling Stones rocked Stevenage

"I was right at the front and quite small, with the crowds pushing forward. The bouncers were worried that I would get squashed so let me and a few other girls go onto the stage and to the back for safety.

"However, when I got onto the stage I took the opportunity to sit next to Charlie Watts and his drum kit."

2. The Who – Stevenage

One of the Locarno Ballroom favourites was The Who, with the legendary rockers performing in Stevenage no less than five times.

They first appeared at the venue on November 3, 1965, following that up with a show on January 26, 1966.

The Who would make three most stops at the Locarno for their 1966 tour, on April 21, and for back-to-back shows on September 7 and 8.

Roger Daltery and co. were coming off the back of the success of their debut album My Generation back in the mid-1960s, but by the time they returned to Hertfordshire for a show at Knebworth in 2006, they had written their name into music history.

3. Chuck Berry – Stevenage

One American star to venture across the pond was Chuck Berry, who performed twice at the Locarno in two different decades.

The Comet: Chuck Berry.Chuck Berry. (Image: Missouri Historical Society/Flickr)

The Father of Rock and Roll first performed in Stevenage on February 22, 1967, and he would return a little over five years later, rocking the venue again on March 27, 1972.

4. Stevie Wonder – Stevenage

Towards the end of 1967, another American star would pitch up at the Locarno, when the legendary soul star Stevie Wonder appeared on October 11.

Aged just 17 at the time, he had already established himself as music's hottest young talent and he would prove why in the years to come, producing hit after hit, as well as timeless classic albums including Songs in the Key of Life, Talking Book and Innervisions.

The Comet: Stevie Wonder in 1967, the same year he performed in Stevenage.Stevie Wonder in 1967, the same year he performed in Stevenage. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Very few places get to host a star of Wonder's magnitude, but Stevenage did.

5. The Kinks – Stevenage

One of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s, The Kinks are often credited with creating the guitar riff, which help propel rock music and many bands to stardom.

They first appeared at the Locarno on October 27, 1965, and then again on January 5, 1966, adding to the lengthy list of hit acts to appear at the venue.

6. Thin Lizzy – Hitchin

Thin Lizzy first performed in Hitchin on November 3, 1973, at the Hitchin College of Further Education - now North Hertfordshire College.

But the band's return to the town on January 26, 1983 was by far more famous.

With frontman Phil Lynott's health deteriorating, Thin Lizzy embarked on a farwell tour which started at Hitchin's Regal Theatre, a venue that started life as a cinema in 1939, before being converted to a recording studio and concert hall in 1980.

The band played fan favourites including The Boys Are Back in Town, Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight), and Jailbreak, with the filmed event seeing the light of day in January 2003, when the BBC released Thin Lizzy – Live At The Regal Theatre Hitchin 1983.

Thin Lizzy would break up not long after the tour, and Lynott would die aged just 36, on January 4, 1986.

7. 10cc – Hitchin

A few months after Thin Lizzy's Hitchin performance, another huge band visited the Regal Theatre.

By August 27, 1983, 10cc had been one of the biggest bands of the 1970s, but a creative split had seen Kevin Godley and Lol Creme leave the band, and very little success since their 1978 album Bloody Tourists.

That did stop the remaining members from rocking the Regal, as they played classic hits such as I'm Not in Love, The Wall Street Shuffle and Dreadlock Holiday in what was a relatively short six-song set.

8. Dire Straits – Hitchin

Off the back of their impressive debut album, Dire Straits went on a UK tour in late 1978, taking in venues across the country that included plenty of universities and colleges.

The Comet: Dire Straits in 1978.Dire Straits in 1978. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The final stop on the two-legged, 55-show tour, was on November 18, when they played at the Hitchin College of Further Education.

That Hitchin gig was part of the second leg of the tour, which saw Dire Straits head across the pond to mainland Europe, promoting the album and breakout single Sultans of Swing.

9. Fleetwood Mac - Letchworth

In late 1971, The Leys in Norton Way South played host to a trio of iconic groups.

Genesis would appear there on November 20, while Supertramp would follow December 18, but sandwiched between them was a band who after early chart success had fallen off the radar.

The Comet: Fleetwood Mac, Genesis and Supertramp all played in Letchworth in 1971.Fleetwood Mac, Genesis and Supertramp all played in Letchworth in 1971. (Image: Archant)

Fleetwood Mac had failed to chart with their album Future Games earlier in the year, and wouldn't chart again until longer after their Letchworth gig in 1975, when their eponymous album and Rumours would shoot them to stardom.