During late 2017 - early 2018 the Pioneers Museum was looking at different ways in which we could become more visible within the community. The team got together and we discussed different ideas of how to achieve this. During these conversations we decided that we’d take the Co-operative Heritage Trust out into the community instead of simply hosting events at the museum. 


A number of ideas were put forward and the one we chose was a live music event to be hosted on Toad Lane where the museum is located. It is vital that not just us, but all museums and cultural organisations take measures to keep the ‘offer’ fresh and new so new audiences visit us and those who have visited want to return hence the decision for an alternative event. 


To get this event to be a success, we aimed at working with local businesses and organisations co-operatively to provide a live music venue in an alternative area of Rochdale. We wanted to provide a platform for bands to perform to an audience made up of people who had rarely, if at all, visited Toad Lane. 


We approached St. Mary’s in the Baum Church who agreed to host the event and The Baum Pub to put on a bar and we would organise the event. The bands chosen to play all had local links to Rochdale. The Palms, from Middleton, The Galahads Rochdale/Oldham and The People also the same. They were all ‘new’ bands who hadn’t had many opportunities to play so this was a great platform to gain experience and get paid to support their music. 


The first customers start arriving at the Gig

Since the gig in July 2018, all bands have gone on to build their profile and gain slots at a number of gigs and festivals. The Palms drummer has gone onto launch a solo project called Killer Pascal. He has since had a number of support slot bookings in Manchester and this year is being booked by festivals. The Galahads took a hiatus with exception with a gig here and there but in 2020 they have made a comeback.  They’ve had a number of bookings in Manchester as well as festivals. The biggest success story is from The People. This was their first ever gig to perform and within a year they were in demand and were booked by festivals. They went onto release a single ‘Milk and Honey’ which, when they were booked for Cotton Clouds in Oldham they named it their “song of the summer”. They will be appearing at Kendal Calling 2020. 

Based on the success of the Co-op Gig in 2018, since my return from New Zealand and returning to the museum we have since began discussions to make this event bigger and better. We have ideas to put on more bands and artists and provide them with a much needed platform to perform to different audiences and get paid for their work.