The Stoke Music Hall of Fame opened its doors at Bethesda Chapel, Hanley, on Friday 19 January for the first of four weekends.
The exhibition, funded by the YMCA of North Staffordshire, plays host to a vast amount of local music memorabilia. From ticket stubs to t-shirts, as well as images by local photographers Chris Hollingworth, Mark Vyse, Sal GigJunkie and Strawberry Blonde. The spotlight feature of the Music Hall of Fame are six beautiful paintings.
The paintings, by Trent Vale artist Richard Adams, 41, feature six Stoke-on-Trent music legends, to represent the six towns of the city.
The stars include: Robbie Williams, Lemmy, Slash, Girtie Gitana, Colin Curtis and Terence Roberts.
Richard completed all six paintings in just two weeks, “I just enjoy doing it so much”, he said.
“The exhibition has been a fantastic thing. Stoke is a creative city and people are always open to expression here, be it pottery, artwork or music.
“There have been great bands and artists here since I was a teenager and it always seems to be pushing forward.”
Local music enthusiast Leah Hamer, 22, is the brains behind the exhibition. Leah is a big supporter of the Stoke music scene and has hosted 6Towns Radio show, Garage Greenhouse, which plays the latest local music. She also co-hosts the monthly live broadcast, ‘The Honey Box’.
Leah said: “It all started as part of the City of Culture bid, which we sadly lost out on. That doesn’t matter in any way because we are still here and Stoke is still great. We wanted to do something that showcased how wonderful Stoke’s music scene is.
“You think of Liverpool, they have The Beatles; Manchester have Oasis, but what does Stoke have?
“Stoke actually has a lot, but it’s not as well known or as celebrated as it is in other cities.”
The Hall of Fame concept is loosely based on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Leah said she wanted to showcase Stoke’s talent in “the best way we know how. To put on a killer gig in one of the most beautiful venues in the city.”
Leah hopes that with each year, they will include more artists in the Hall of Fame. She added, “Every year is a city of culture here in Stoke, so we are still holding the exhibition regardless of the result.”
Stoke Hall of Fame’s opening night featured live music by Bob Moston, better known as Merrym’n. Bob, 32, from Trentham, writes a lot of his songs about Stoke-on-Trent, including the likes of ‘Ay Up, Ow At, Orate?’ as well as a track about the A500.
Bob said: “It’s a really interesting project, and I like doing things that are a bit different. The Stoke music scene is wonderful and there’s a real feeling of camaraderie between musicians.
“I find Stoke really interesting to write about, there’s so much to say and it’s so diverse and inspiring.
“It would have been nice to win the City of Culture bid. The feeling in the city brought around by the bid itself has really galvanised people, though. The Stoke Music Hall of Fame has happened because we put the bid in. Regardless of the result, an impact has been made in the city.”
Singer/songwriter Emily Jones performed at the chapel on January 26, and it will see John Dhali perform on February 2 and Jay Johnson on February 9.
The exhibition is free, but there are donation buckets for Bethesda Chapel if people wish to donate. It is open to the public every Friday evening from 7pm-9pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. The final date of the Hall of Fame is February 9.