New exhibition to celebrate the sounds of Milton Keynes

Photos of acts including David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen will feature alongside those from MK’s own music past.

By David Jackson
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 12:16 pm
The main stage at the Electric Daisy Carnival at the National Bowl. Photo by David Jackson
The main stage at the Electric Daisy Carnival at the National Bowl. Photo by David Jackson

A new exhibition opening at Milton Keynes Museum tomorrow will be championing the town’s rich musical heritage.

A feast of photographs, records and memorabilia of artists that live in the town and frequent its local venues through to the world-famous acts who have performed on the National Bowl stage will be on display.

The exhibition has been put together by Sammy Jones who last year published the book Wired For Sound which charted the town’s music scene past and present.

Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day performing at the National Bowl. Photo by Barry Rivett.

She said: “Milton Keynes has such a rich musical heritage, and this show definitely proves it.

“It is a real trip down memory lane and an opportunity for people to reacquaint themselves with our brilliantly creative past.”

The exhibition will also feature some of the releases created at Linford Manor which has previously welcomed guests including Biffy Clyro, PJ Harvey and Jamiroquai during its time as a residential studio.

Marshall Amplification is one of the biggest names in music and the international brand has been resident in Bletchley for more than half a century.

MK band Graveltrap. Photo by Kelly Cooper.

The exhibition gives a nod to its founder Jim Marshall and also to Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine who enjoyed a hugely successful international career of their own and also set up The Stables music venue which last year celebrated its half century.

Miss Jones added: “Jim was an astute businessman and his steely determination and brilliant work ethic turned the Marshall Amplification name into an iconic brand. What he achieved is truly inspiring.

“John and Cleo were as prolific as they were talented and their passion for music was second to none.

“It's only right that we celebrate the contribution all three made to Milton Keynes.”

The Rhythm Aces. Photo courtesy of Rose Dytham.

The National Bowl collection is full of images – many previously unseen – from artists including David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Linkin Park, AC/DC, Status Quo and many more.

There is also a large archive of local bands, promotions and venues.

Miss Jones said: “Most people's first live music or clubbing experience is in their locality and those memories live forever – whether you watched one of the many bands who took to the stage at The Pitz, or enjoyed nights out at Ultra Vegas, you'll find something to stir memories.

“And we want those memories too – we'll be inviting visitors to fill in a postcard sharing details of their favourite MK show, which will contribute to a 'wall of sound memories,' so have a think and come prepared.”

Milton Keynes – Wired For Sound opens at MK Museum on Friday, August 27, and runs throughout September during the usual museum hours and every Thursday evening from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

For more details visit

Anyone with images or memorabilia to donate is asked to make contact via