The Picket: on music's front line

From 16 August 2012

display of music memorabilia

The Picket has been at the forefront of the city's grassroots music scene for more than 25 years. This display explores a potted history of one of Liverpool's legendary independent music venues.

Developed in collaboration with its founder Philip Hayes, the display uses objects, quotes and film to unravel The Picket's history, which began in the Merseyside Trade Union Community and Unemployed Resource Centre on Hardman Street, in 1983.

At that time Liverpool's unemployment levels were particularly high, and young people in the city were heavily affected. With funding support from famous names including Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney, The Picket opened to give the young and unemployed an opportunity to record and perform. Over time it has launched the careers of many bands including Space, Cast, Shack, The Coral, The Wombats and The La's, who played their first gig and recorded their first demo in the studio.

The Hardman Street venue closed in 2004, but after a campaign to 'Save The Picket', local creative communities rallied to find its new home in Jordan Street, where it opened in 2006 and remains as one of the most established and respected music venues in the city.

The display pays tribute to the many musicians and people of Liverpool who have supported The Picket over 25 years, with items that reflect the diversity of the venue, including:

  • A bass drum used by The La's between 1988 and 1995,
  • A can of Red Bull; the preferred drink of choice for under 18s at dry-bar gigs in the venue
  • Objects relating to Wirral-born DJ John Peel

"The Picket is living, breathing proof of Liverpool's musical vitality and a proven incubator of new talent. It's fantastic to see it represented in the Museum of Liverpool."
Paul Du Noyer, music author and Picket board member

man standing by the Picket display

Phil Hayes, founder of The Picket, at the launch of the display.