Superstar Bowie’s message launches first ever Friars exhibition

Launch night of the Friars exhibition at Bucks County Museum
Launch night of the Friars exhibition at Bucks County Museum

The guardians of the town’s internationally recognised music scene gathered in Aylesbury for the launch of a landmark exhibition.

After months of preparation and anticipation the exhibition detailing the illustrious history of Friars music club showcased at Bucks County Museum.

Stars of the Aylesbury music scene from the club’s birth in 1969, through its most recent reincarnation at the Waterside Theatre in 2013, are covered in the the three-month long exhibition.

Amongst the guests were 80s hearthrob Howard Jones, former town dustman turned performer John Otway, Aylesbury-based Marillion lead singer Steve Hogarth, Jakko Jakszyk from the band King Crimson and music historian and journalist Pete Fraime.

One highlight for organiser and Friars promoter David Stopps was a text just hours before the opening from superstar David Bowie.

Bowie wrote: “From Bowie for tonight... memories are everything apparently, and I have only great ones of the fabulous Friars. Have a wonderful night! db.”

On display is a huge collection of memorabilia from the Friars archives, the exhibition features Pink Floyd’s wave drum kit as used by Nick Mason in the 70’s on the Floyd’s ‘Animals’ world tour, Edgar Broughton’s 1962 Stratocaster as used at Friars in 1969, the late Lol Coxhill’s saxophones, Howard Jones’ 1982 Moog synth rig, a double neck guitar used by Mike Rutherford when Genesis played Friars in 1980, a tape box with handwritten notes by George Martin when he produced Stackridge’s ‘The Man in the Bowler Hat’ album, what’s left of Shure SM58’s microphones after a John Otway gig, Pete Trewavas’ (from Marillion) 1982 Rickenbacker bass guitar and one of Toyah’s stage costumes,

Also on display are old Friars posters and pictures from the historic gigs recording what was a golden era for the town spanning more than 40 years.

Mr Stopps said: “I am so pleased that this exhibition is finally happening.

“It is something I have been trying to do for 20 years. Huge thanks to the Buckinghamshire County Council and the Buckinghamshire County Museum for partnering us to make it happen.

“The launch on Friday was an amazing event. People flew in from all over the world to be there. The icing on the cake was the text from David Bowie.”

Tickets for the exhibition cost £4 and are available through (0844 870 0000) or from the museum box office.

Our Facebook page has a photo gallery from the launch night