Croydon’s plans for London Borough of Culture 2023 just got all the more exciting following an announcement of additional funding to create a music heritage trail to celebrate the borough’s rich musical history.
Following a successful bid, the council has been awarded £225,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the project. From bass to blues, Indian to indie, punk, rock and classical, the music trail will showcase Croydon’s role in a wide range of music genres.
Locations representing musical events, artists and venues, selected by the community, will be the basis for the trail which will kick-start the year-long celebration of culture. Each point will have its own plaque and unique display of a historical music moment.
From Thornton Heath’s Jamaican ska and reggae singer Desmond Dekker – famous for his 1968 song ‘Israelites’ to Kirsty MacColl from Selsdon – who gained international acclaim for ‘Fairytale of New York’ with The Pogues, the trail will highlight the range of genres of music with Croydon connections.
Other trail locations could be Lloyd Park – the venue of Croydon Mela which saw audiences of over 20,000 in the early 2000s, Tiffany’s in Purley – famous for hosting the first soul all-dayer in the UK, and The BRIT School in recognition of its alumni which includes Adele, Leona Lewis and Stormzy – the first Black solo artist to headline Glastonbury.
The Museum of Croydon will be looking to speak to residents later this year about which artists, events and venues should be included in the trail.
15 young people working with local organisation Apsara Arts, will be trained in interview techniques, podcasting and oral history creation to capture stories, memories and collect memorabilia from people who were part of Croydon’s music moments.
In addition to the trail, materials will be used for podcasts and short videos which will be played at an exhibition during autumn 2023.
“This funding is another great step in our plans for Croydon’s London Borough of Culture 2023. The music trail will give residents and visitors the chance to learn about the borough’s rich musical heritage and connections to some of the biggest names in musical history including Queen and Stevie Wonder.
“The trail will also showcase our current musical offering and venues across the borough, demonstrating the opportunities and spaces available to nurture and develop the Croydon musical talent of the future.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture and regeneration
Malti Patel from Apsara Arts, said: “We’re thrilled to be the main partner of the musical heritage trail project in discovering and telling stories of Croydon’s rich musical heritage through oral history and videos into an exhibition. In recognising the role of diverse musicians and artists, the trail project will enhance community cohesion celebrating the rich diversity of the borough.”