Celebrating the sounds of Milton Keynes

Posted 25th August 2021

A new exhibition launching at Milton Keynes Museum this week puts the town’s rich musical heritage firmly in the spotlight.

The feast of photographs, records and memorabilia spans the artists that live here and frequent our local venues, through to the world-famous performers who have wowed on the National Bowl stage.

Green Day – Pic by Barry Rivett

There is also a look at the musical releases created at Linford Manor, which welcomed guests including Biffy Clyro, PJ Harvey and Jamiroquai during its time as a residential studio.

“Milton Keynes has such a rich musical heritage, and this show definitely proves it,” said Sammy Jones, author and owner of the Milton Keynes Music Archive, WFS.

“It is a real trip down memory lane, and an opportunity for people to reacquaint themselves with our brilliantly creative past.”

Marshall Amplification is one of the biggest names in music, and the international brand has been resident in Bletchley for more than half a century.

The exhibition gives a nod to its founder Jim Marshall, and to Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, who enjoyed a hugely successful international career of their own.

MK band Graveltrap – Pic by Kelly Cooper

Despite that, they managed to set up The Stables music venue in their locality too.

In 2020 it celebrated its half century.

“Jim was an astute businessman and his steely determination and brilliant work ethic turned the Marshall Amplification name into an iconic brand. What he achieved is truly inspiring,” Sammy said.

“John and Cleo were as prolific as they were talented, and their passion for music was second to none.

“It’s only right that we celebrate the contribution all three made to Milton Keynes.”

The National Bowl collection is full of images – many previously unseen – from artists including David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Linkin Park, AC/DC, Status Quo and many more.

There is also a large archive of local bands, promotions and venues.

The Rhthm Aces – Pic courtesy of Rose Dytham

“Most people’s first live music or clubbing experience is in their locality, and those memories live forever – whether you watched one of the many bands who took to the stage at The Pitz, or enjoyed nights out at Ultra Vegas, you’ll find something to stir memories. And we want those memories too – we’ll be inviting visitors to fill in a postcard sharing details of their favourite MK show, which will contribute to a ‘wall of sound memories,’ so have a think and come prepared!”

‘Milton Keynes – Wired For Sound’ opens at MK Museum on Friday (August 27).

It runs throughout September during usual museum hours and every Thursday evening (4.30pm-8.30pm).

For more details visit miltonkeynesmuseum.org.uk

> If you have images or memorabilia to donate, make contact on FB @miltonkeyneswiredforsound

A personal look at the place we call home

During lockdown Milton Keynes Museum put out a call for people to explain what the new town means to them.

Light of Life by Melanie Mosaics

Their artistic responses have led to the creation of We Are Milton Keynes, Too, which explores their thoughts with the use of various mediums; from mosaic to paint.

There is even a fairy garden among the magical pieces!

“Milton Keynes is an extraordinarily inclusive place, and we wanted the exhibition to demonstrate that too. The responses allow visitors to see Milton Keynes through the eyes of the individual and is quite fascinating,” said museum director Bill Griffiths.

“We see this as a growing, permanent part of the museum, so please feel free to get in touch with your own submissions.”

A second exhibition takes a look at women and sport.

The legacy project celebrates Milton Keynes as European City of Sport 2020, which was deferred due to the pandemic.

It puts the spotlight on women and girls and looks at sporting activity – from grass roots right through to international level.

One of the MK ECOS projects

It is a perfect prelude to the forthcoming UEFA Women’s Euros 2022, which will see Milton Keynes shine as a host town.

We Are Milton Keynes, Too and the sporting collection have both been made possible thanks to a grant by Arts Council England/National Lottery and it is hoped that the display will encourage everyone to think about taking steps to become more active.

The difficulties faced by us all in the last 18 months have shown the importance of a healthy mind and body, and sport can be an easy route to a healthier you.

> Both exhibitions open on Friday (Friday, August 27) and will run throughout September in the new gallery at MK Museum.

For more information visit miltonkeynesmuseum.org.uk