New public art to celebrate 60 years of amazing gigs at King George’s Hall

Published Friday 5 July 2019 at 10:17

SOME of the world’s most influential bands and artists of the 20th century to have ever played at Blackburn’s King George’s Hall – right from the Beatles to Bowie – will be celebrated in a permanent feature thanks to an exciting new public art commission.

The innovative tree grate project – with new paving, will capture some of the best artists and bands to have played over the past six decades at the town’s iconic hall.

The project has been commissioned as part of the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage public space improvements which are now well underway.

Local typographic artist and designer, Stephen Caton has created the artwork that will form decorative metal grates around the base of six new trees to be planted – four around Blakey Moor and two on Northgate.

Building on research from a previous project ‘1973 When Bowie came to Blackburn’, the commission will focus on popular music and the designs based on a selection of artists that have played at King George’s Hall since the 1960s – one tree grate paying homage to each decade.

Archives at King George’s Hall, together with online databases, fan clubs, memorabilia and newspaper articles were used to research a list of gigs.

The full list of names is, quite simply, incredible from the Beatles and Cilla Black to Bowie and Buzzcocks, New Order, Robbie Williams, The Stone Roses and more recently artists like Kaiser Chiefs, Jake Bugg and The Courteeners.

Unfortunately, there isn’t room on the grates to list every single gig, so a small team of local music lovers and people from the town’s music scene were enlisted to help select those that best represent each decade. Where space permits, the group also agreed some of Blackburn’s home grown talents should be included.

Pete Eastwood, local music producer and one of the selection team said;

King George’s Hall is a great venue with a great history of musical legends gracing the stage and touring bands, so a very positive move to highlight these special nights and to tip our hats to the fabulous acts past and present.

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member of Regeneration said;

It’s a brilliant idea to celebrate Blackburn’s musical heritage in the design of the new public space around Northgate. Picking the final list was good fun and we hope that residents and visitors will have as much fun examining the list of the bands that are included and arguing about those that have been left out.

Paving works to the area are due to be completed by the end of June and the new grates, trees and other planting will be installed soon after.

Visitors stepping onto the new paving will be able to discover some of the amazing musical heritage of King George’s Hall and enjoy reminiscing about the gigs they went to. The full list of artists and gigs will form part of an online archive that will also capture people’s memories, photos and memorabilia of their favourite gigs.

Anyone wishing to submit information for the archive should email:

The project is part of the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project, a joint investment by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to transom the historic heart of Blackburn of Blackburn Town Centre.


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