British Music Experience
If you are a fan of music and you are in Liverpool then you absolutely have to visit the British Music Experience (BME).
Why? Well for a start it is the UK’s only museum of rock and pop music. Yes, I know that’s surprising but it’s true. What’s more it’s housed in the magnificent Cunard Building on the city’s incomparable waterfront (just behind the famous Beatles statue) so its even more of a joy to visit.
So what exactly is the BME then and what can you expect to see?
At its simplest the BME is a beautifully curated exhibition that tells the story of British popular music from the 1940s right up to the present day.
As the only museum dedicated to celebrating British music the BME boasts an unrivalled collection of memorabilia, stage outfits, instruments, images and footage. The museum charts the beginnings, rise and influence of British pop from 1945 to the present day and includes outfits worn by artists from David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Dusty Springfield, to Adam Ant and the Spice Girls. There’s also musical instruments played by some of the world’s most renowned artists from Queen, to the Sex Pistols, to Noel Gallagher, and Arctic Monkeys. And there’s always something a bit different to see at the BME: original statues from the Brits are there as well as a very tangible slice of music history in the shape of the Apple Corp front door from Saville Row where the affectionately named ‘Apple scruffs’ used to hang around hoping that a Beatle or two might turn up and while they waited they wrote messages on the door expressing their devotion to the group or to their favourite Beatle.
The Museum includes galleries, interactive zones, audio visual experiences and hologram performances. You can get hands-on in the Gibson Brands Interactive Studio by learning to play guitar, drums or keyboards and dance your way through the eras in the Dance the Decades studio.
THE GIBSON BRANDS INTERACTIVE STUDIO
This fully interactive part of the British Music Experience gives you the chance to learn and play on a whole range of amazing instruments.
Gibson and Epiphone guitars have had a huge influence on British pop music, helping to shape the sound of a nation. Here you’ll find electric, acoustic and bass guitars, including Les Pauls, SGs and 335s as well as Roland drums, synthesisers and keyboards.
Regardless of your age or ability, the Gibson App allows you to learn songs through video lessons.
DANCE THE DECADES
Suitable for all ages, our Dance The Decades Experience brings together 70 years and 12 iconic dance styles in one spacious booth. Our virtual teacher is on hand to teach you all the moves that ruled the dance floors of the past and then you can strut your stuff and try it out for yourself.
For the real extroverts who love to show off their skill, there is a handy phone holder, so you can film yourself.
STAR CAFE & BAR
The licensed Star Café & Bar is located off our main foyer, and is open to the general public (no ticket required). It offers a delicious selection of Illy Coffee, specialist teas, fresh cakes, cold drinks, toasties and paninis.
The Merch Store is open daily and sells a range of band t-shirts, books, vinyl and memorabilia, alongside items from our temporary exhibitions past and present.
EVENTS, LEARNING & PUBLIC PROGRAMMES
Learning and Public Programmes, together with our events programme and temporary exhibitions further add to the experience. We offer educational workshops and bespoke tours for school children, and a range of public events including film screenings, Q&As, book launches and live gigs.
Keep an eye on the BME website to see what is happening but recent events have included sell out In Conversation sessions with the Sex Pistol’s Glen Matlock, Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie, Simple Minds’ Derek Forbes, and Echo and the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant as well as a Christmas pop quiz hosted by long term friend of the BME, Nasher from Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
We are even available for private hire if you’re looking to host an event with wow factor.
As well as the amazing permanent collection for everyone to enjoy all the time the BME hosts a number of temporary exhibitions every year. At the moment and up until the 14th January the museum is celebrating the history of the iconic Epiphone guitar brand through one of its most loyal artists, Noel Gallagher.
Celebrating 150 Years of Epiphone at the British Music Experience. Noel Gallagher’s Collection of Epiphone Guitars to go on Display as Part of the History of the Iconic Brand
Epiphone 150th Anniversary: Featuring the Guitars of Noel Gallagher at the British Music Experience is a temporary exhibition charting the history of this iconic instrument brand through the guitars of one of its most loyal artists, Noel Gallagher. Epiphone 150th Anniversary: Featuring the Guitars of Noel Gallagher will run from 27 September 2023 to 14 January 2024 and will feature four of Noel’s private Epiphone guitar collection.
From the timeless cool of the jazz age through the looking glass of 1960s psychedelia to the wall of sound of 1990s Britpop and today’s eclectic scene, Epiphone instruments have remained central to pop culture’s “big bang” moments. The Casino, the Texan, the Sheraton, the Riviera – model names that chime with guitarists everywhere, inspiring awe and desire in equal measure, whether you are a Beatie or a beginner. What most people don’t realise, however, is that Epiphone’s history stretches back even further than Gibson’s, beginning 150 years ago in a port on the Aegean Sea in what is now Turkey.
To mark the anniversary from a British perspective, the temporary exhibition at the British Music Experience, will feature some of Noel Gallagher’s most treasured guitars. Noel Gallagher’s love for Epiphone started with The Beatles. Thirty years after Revolver, Epiphone instruments were used throughout the sessions for albums Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, and, in 1996, Oasis headlined two epic shows at Knebworth, with Noel using a 1990s USA-made Sheraton for the era-defining performances. While he used a wide range of guitars, pedals, and amplifiers throughout his career, Gallagher often used a cherry sunburst Epiphone Les Paul, two Epiphone Sheratons, and the Beatles’ favourite Epiphone Casino.
Noel himself had this to say of the Epiphone: “I wanted to start playing Epiphones because of the Beatles. I didn’t know anything about guitars then. They looked good; they felt good, I could make them sound good.”
For further details and for booking go to www.britishmusicexperience.com
Each general ticket bought for BME is valid for 12 months which means you can return as many times as you would like during the museum’s regular operating hours.