The first big wartime variety concert organised by ENSA was broadcast by the BBC to the Empire and local networks from RAF Hendon in north London on 17 October 1939. Adelaide Hall, The Western Brothers and Mantovani were amongst those entertainers appearing on the bill. A Newsreel of this concert showing Adelaide Hall singing We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line accompanied by Mantovani and His Orchestra exists.
Many well-known stars have performed for ENSA, including Sir Seymour Hicks, who led the first show in 1939; also in demand were the other original ENSA. organisers, Beatrice Lillie, Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Sir Harry Lauder; other popular artists performing for E.N.S.A. throughout the war years were Peggy Ashcroft, Arthur Askey, Hermione Baddeley, Josephine Baker, Leslie Banks, Webster Booth, Chili Bouchier, Al Bowlly, Dame Lilian Braithwaite, Wilfrid Brambell, pianist Ronnie Bridges Clive Brook, Dora Bryan, Jack Buchanan, Douglas Byng, Rebecca Cantwell, Robert Carr (baritone) Belle Chrystal, John Clements, Charles Coborn, Billy Cotton, Cicely Courtneidge, Noël Coward, Bebe Daniels, Frances Day, Betty Driver, Madge Elliott, Fred Emney, Edith Evans, David Farrar, Gracie Fields, Flanagan and Allen, Florrie Forde, George Formby, Leo Franklyn, Will Fyffe, Geraldo and His Orchestra, Gert and Daisy, John Gielgud, Hermione Gingold, Stewart Granger, Joyce Grenfell, Binnie Hale, Sonnie Hale, Adelaide Hall, Tommy Handley, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Gordon Harker, Jack Hawkins, Will Hay, Richard Hearne, Leslie Henson, Stanley Holloway, Victoria Hopper, Bobby Howes, Claude Hulbert, Jack Hulbert, Leslie Hutchinson, Jack Hylton, Jimmy Jewel, Deborah Kerr, Hetty King, Lupino Lane, Gertrude Lawrence, Evelyn Laye, Vivien Leigh, Josef Locke, Margaret Lockwood, Bessie Love, Arthur Lucan, Claire Luce, Vera Lynn, Ben Lyon, Mantovani, Jessie Matthews, Helen McKay, John McCormack, Spike Milligan, Billy Milton, Clifford Mollison, Richard Murdoch, Anna Neagle, Nervo and Knox, Ivor Novello, Vic Oliver, Tessie O'Shea, Sandy Powell, Ella Retford, Arnold Ridley, Robert Rietty, Cyril Ritchard, Sir George Robey, Margaret Rutherford, Paul Scofield, Margaretta Scott, Winifred Shotter, Alastair Sim, pianist Cyril Smith, Dorothy Squires, Terry-Thomas, Ernest Thesiger, Tommy Trinder, Jack Warner, Naunton Wayne, Elisabeth Welch, The Western Brothers, Michael Wilding, Emlyn Williams, Maurice Winnick, Googie Withers, John Wood, Diana Wynyard and Anne Ziegler.
Despite many extremely talented entertainers and movie stars working for ENSA, the organisation was necessarily spread thin over the vast area it had to cover. Thus many entertainments were substandard, and the popular translation of the acronym ENSA was "Every Night Something Awful".