Kingston RPM: Records, People and Music
From the blues and jazz played at dances on the US Army Air Force base at Bushy Park, to the music produced by Decca Records in New Malden and the venues that hosted the likes of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie or The Rolling Stones, the Borough of Kingston upon Thames boasts an impressive musical past.Over the last six months, Kingston RPM has explored, celebrated and showcased this heritage. Highlights of the project include:
TO MAKE A RECORD: THE KINGSTON RPM EXHIBITION
On July 16, Kingston RPM – Records, People and Music – launched an interactive exhibition at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. Located over two floors, To Make a Record explored the musical history of Kingston from 1940 to 1980, and combined artefacts, images and oral testimony to trace a narrative of musical innovation.
A pop-up version of the exhibition was also available at the Kingston RPM Record Fair and Album Launch in September.
KINGSTON MUSIC SERVICE’S FESTIVAL OF SCHOOL CHOIRS
On June 20, 1200 students from local schools performed at the Rose Theatre. Celebrating the musical heritage of Kingston RPM, the programme featured songs by influential artists like David Bowie, and a specially written piece by composer Peter Churchill.
THE KINGSTON RPM GIG DAY
July 8 saw the Kingston RPM Gig Day, a day of free music around Kingston. Proceedings began in spectacular style when Brassroots marched across Kingston Bridge, before finishing their set in Market Square. The stage subsequently enjoyed a variety of acts, before the day culminated in a gig at the Rose Theatre, headlined by John Coghlan’s Quo and supported by Tankus the Henge.
The exhibition was accompanied by a programme of summer events, intended to facilitate further engagement with To Make a Record. Activities included; a singalong for babies, toddlers and under-5s; an art session for young families; music workshops for primary school students; and a panel talk titled ‘What does the future hold for live music in Kingston’.
KINGSTON RPM: RECORD FAIR AND ALBUM LAUNCH
Last of our public events was the album launch on September 23, which took place at a record fair jointly hosted by VIP Records and Kingston RPM. With tracks from the Kingston RPM Gig Day and Kingston Music Service’s Festival of School Choirs, and oral testimonies provided by local residents, the Kingston RPM album pays tribute to the remarkable heritage of Kingston. It was a record fair like no other, and the launch was a accompanied by live performances from Dr Bluegrass and the Illbilly 8, Swing Dance UK, and a pop-up version of our Rose Theatre exhibition, and was a record fair like no other.
Kingston RPM has been created and delivered by Creative Youth, and was made possible by generous support and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the Royal Borough of Kingston.
Creative Youth would also like to thank its project partners; the Rose Theatre, Kingston Music Service, Kingston History Centre and Kingston University.