Kilburn magical music tour
ICONIC British rockers The Who played a renowned gig there which was immortalised in Jeff Stein’s documentary The Kids Are Alright, and it has been the centre of Irish ceili music in London since the 1950’s.
Yet Kilburn High Road’s vast musical heritage is often overlooked, perhaps overshadowed by nearby Camden Town.
But all that is set to change as Camden Council launch a new initiative to promote music and nightlife in Kilburn.
As part of the drive, council chiefs have launched a guided magical mystery tour of Kilburn’s clubs, pubs and venues.
And the Times were one of the lucky few to be invited along to the inaugural walk.
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Guiding our merry band was Simon, a blue badge professional guide who has been giving tours for six years.
Waxing lyrical about the area’s cultural diversity and how this translates into a burgeoning musical scene, he said: “It has got such a great musical heritage, mainly because of the Irish who have been here in large numbers since the 1950s who brought their rich musical traditions with them.
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“Kilburn is beginning to be recognised as the iconic music centre it is. Venues like the Tricycle theatre and the Gaumont State have played a big part in all that.
“For someone coming to Kilburn for the first time they have got to experience the music. It is the best place in London for seeing up and coming bands.”
The tour takes in all the great music landmarks old and new. Highlights include the Gaumont State which played host the The Rolling Stones, The Who and Frank Sinatra back in the 1960s, and the Luminaire – Kilburn’s very own dive bar.
There are some hidden gems too, including the Sir Colin Campbell pub, whose authentic Irish charm has won it many fans.
The tour certainly proved a hit with tourists, several of whom joined our merry band as we snaked our way down the high road.
Ron Pushchak, a Canadian hobby guitarist who is staying in Kilburn while on holiday with his wife, said: “In my part of the world we would call Kilburn a rich, bohemian place.
“This is where things happen in the same way that Greenwich Village was for Bob Dylan, or Toronto was for Leonard Cohen.
“For places like Kilburn to stay at the cutting edge the venues must keep their independence and unique atmosphere. That’s the trick.”
For more information about the Kilburn music tour visit www.camden.gov.uk