19 May—30 September 2018

Bristol Music: Seven decades of sound

This exhibition has now finished.

With more festivals than we can count, fiercely independent venues and a rich mix of styles, genres and sound, Bristol’s reputation is one of a musical juggernaut.

The scene since the late 1950s has been nothing but eclectic. Artists from Acker Bilk, The Pop Group and The Wurzels to Rita Lynch, Way out West and This is the Kit, are just a handful of acts that hail from our harbourside city.

Bristol Music: Seven decades of sound will take stories told by people all over the city to celebrate and debate Bristol music.

Is there one definitive ‘Bristol sound’?
Are the best days of Bristol music behind us?
Where in the city is the heart of musical Bristol?

Go back in time to seminal nights at The Bamboo Club, Granary, Motion and more, before climbing inside our graffiti’ed 90s hatchback for some karaoke.

What will be on the stereo – Bananarama or Massive Attack? You may need to stop off at Ashton Court festival for a quick rest.

Flick through hundreds of records discovering new bands while listening to compilation albums from rock and pop to electronica, punk and reggae.

Reminisce about first gigs, first records and questionable fashion choices while brushing up on your Bristol music trivia. Who are the performers that got permanently banned from Colston Hall? And when did the big music stars come to the city?

Watch a variety of films about the significance of different music scenes including reggae, grime and dubstep alongside iconic photography taken by Mark Simmons and Beezer.

If you’re in need of some retail therapy after all that then Rough Trade will have a pop-up shop on the ground floor selling a selection of records, books and merchandise.

Supported by an exciting events programme, Bristol Music is an open book authored by the people of the city.

Contribute your memories to Bristol Music

Bristol Music is an open book, to be co-authored and re-authored by you. The exhibition will be informed by your opinions, your memories and your emotions.

Help us build as full a picture as possible by contributing your experiences of music in the city.

Share your story

Got a song you want to add to our Bristol playlist? Login to Spotify (you’ll need to be using the Spotify App), follow the playlist and add it there.

M Shed would like to thank Bristol Music sponsors: DAC Beachcroft and UWE Bristol.


Header image: Filwood, 1964

Additional information

M Shed opening times:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm
Closed Mondays except Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays during Bristol school holidays: 10am-5pm

Last entry is 45 minutes before closing.

Related events