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The Picket - 25 Years on

Your memories wanted of the enduring music venue and a big event next week

Written by . Published on June 23rd 2011.


The Picket - 25 Years on

THIS year marks 25 years since Pete Townshend officially opened the recording studio at the Merseyside Unemployed Resource Centre, which would later become known as the Picket.

Bolted onto the late and great Flying Picket pub in Hardman Street, upstairs became one of the most enduring music venues in Liverpool.  

As a hall of fame it had all the right credentials, supported by a string of Britain’s most famous musicians from Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono to Paul Weller, Peter Gabriel and Suggs from Madness.

The venue has seen performances by Deaf School, Billy Bragg, Pete Wylie, Amsterdam, Ian McNabb, Joss Stone, Neil Finn from Crowded House, Baaba Maal and Travis.  It’s also helped launched the careers of the emerging names who became some of Liverpool’s most famous bands from the La’s to Space, Cast, the Coral and the Wombats. (Not to mention the editor of Liverpool Confidential fronting one or two musical combos back in the day, but the less said about that the better.)

The New PicketThe New PicketAll the time backstage, the venue promoted, encouraged and inspired the young to have a go.

Then, with the gentrification of Hope Street, somebody had the bright idea of turning the building it into flats, meaning The Picket was forced to move from its central location to an industrial unit past the Baltic Fleet. It faced savage funding cuts in Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year too. And yet, like the buddleia on the architecturally barren side of Wapping,  it lives on: a hub of support and opportunity for musicians with visionary youth schemes and some pretty good nights out. 

Next Thursday,  Ronnie Hughes, from community film-makers A Sense of Place, will be interviewing the Picket’s founder, Philip Hayes, ahead of the release of book - The Story Of The Picket Liverpool; 25 Years On Music's Frontline. This will also mark the first showing of their  film On Music's Front Line: 25 Years Of The Picket.

There will be an opportunity for people to submit their memories of the Picket, bring along photos, videos or posters for possible inclusion in the book. 

There will also be Q and A session with Phil, to listen his personal highlights of working at the venue from 1983 in the heady days of hands-off Merseyside County Council and union funding, to now in the Baltic Creative Quarter.

Tickets £6 waged, £3.00 unwaged. To buy, visit this

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