Founded by Fred Pontin in 1946, Pontin's was a major holiday operator within the UK throughout the 1960s. At its peak it had about 20 resorts throughout Europe. Pontins offered its guests lodgings, catering, entertainment and the chance to cheaply go abroad on one of its "Pontinental holidays".
Numerous entertainers performed, and continue to perform, at its resorts. Best known for his 1968 hit "Fire", the flamboyant singer Arthur Brown was hugely popular in the 1960s. "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" was both the title of his 1968 album and that of his band. His appearance at Pontins was likely in support of this album.
A colourful poster from 1968 details the headline act and supporting acts at Pontin's May Ball concert:
May Ball. May 1st, 8.00-3am, Pontins, Torquay. Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, Rod Masons Jazzband, Maurice Price and his Orchestra. Film King Kong, plus others. Buffet. Light Show. Original or formal dress. Nightingales Graded Grains. Pigmeat Revival. Tickets from Dave Jaffa S.D.T.C. , John Conway, Abbey Road. Two Ballrooms. In aid of charity. Draw. Pontinental holiday for two.
Barton Hall was Pontin's upmarket Torquay site and served as one of its popular chalet hotels. Bought in 1957, it was the flagship of Pontin's holiday empire.
The strong outlines of an upwardly-gazing face are framed by the text "May Ball" in blue and red, which form the figure's hair. The neck and upper torso are composed of shaped lines of text; curved, arched and angled to fit the unusual design. The use of primary colours is accented by black and green.