Who doesn’t love the Swinging Sixties? Great music, outrageous fashion, social reform and the constant threat of nuclear warfare! If I could have lived at any time, I’d probably have chosen the 60s; That or the 80s.
Records and Rebels is a new exhibition running from September 2016 – February 2017 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. Housed in the temporary exhibition space, its an amazing set up, with plenty of content to keep you entertained for hours!
Upon entering you’re handed an audio guide and some very good quality headphones. There’s no need to search for headphone signs around the exhibition, or fumble with badly-calibrated touch screens, this audio guide knows your location, and adjusts its track accordingly. It is a truly genius system.
Walking through a succession of 8 rooms you find yourselves immersed in the art, fashion, literature, media and of course music of the age. The 60s were a huge time for political and social change, and this was reflected throughout the exhibition, with each room focusing on one or two topics. From feminism, mini-skirts, LSD, police violence, the Vietnam war and the Beatles you gain a comprehensive understanding of what it was to be alive in the late 60s.
My favourite room was a celebration of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. 3 sides of the room are covered in 10 foot high, 30 foot wide screens showing intimate footage of Jim Hendrix famous set, closing Woodstock. Guests are invited to lie on bean bags on the floor and utterly immerse themselves in the sublime music.
The exhibition would have taken us about 2 hours, had we been allowed to finish it. We were in the 1600 time slot, and we weren’t warned that the exhibition would take more than the 1hr45 we would have there. What we saw of the exhibition was fantastic, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to do the final 2 rooms, and when the announcement went up to tell us 30mins left, it knocked out the audioguides for about 15 minutes. At nearly £20 a ticket, it’s not exactly something we can pop back to finish, and by no means did we linger in each room. It’s such a shame, as it meant we left on a sour note. It would be worth the museum pointing out you may not finish the exhibition, if you go in past 1530.
Despite the timing issue, this was a fantastic exhibition, which I would wholeheartedly recommend, although make sure you’re early enough!
You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 is on at the V&A until 26 February 2o17. Ticket prices are £17.60 or £13.50 for students.