Pub where Radiohead and Led Zeppelin star played to get heritage plaque

An iconic Kidderminster music venue where acts from Radiohead to Catatonia and Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant performed is to be honoured with a heritage blue plaque.

Rock and indie fans raised enough cash to secure the Market Tavern the honour in just two hours on GoFundMe on September 6.

In its 1990s heyday, the former pub with a capacity of just 300 hosted emerging bands on its small stage from Radiohead to Catatonia, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, Terrorvision, Chumbawamba and more.

Read more: Redditch celebration of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham bounces back bigger after Covid

Mark Badgeman, the former promoter for the venue off Comberton Hill, teamed up with Richard Morley, the lead singer in Kidderminster’s Pale Kings band to launch the Blue Plaque crowdfunding appeal.

They aimed to raise £600 towards the costs involved and money came flooding in from music fans.

The pair have already got approval from Kidderminster Civic Society that the Market Tavern can be awarded a blue plaque.

It will detail it as a site of historic significance, where it once stood, which is now flats in Ray Mercer Way.

Photo of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine band on stage at Market Tavern, which they autographed afterwards

Mark, whose book Memories of the Market Tavern relives the Kidderminster music scene from 1990 to 1996, said: “I had no idea we could raise the money this quickly. It just shows the strength of feeling out there for this venue.

“When I worked at the Market Tavern, I was young and it was fun, but years later I can see that it really meant something to people. It was an alternative youth club for degenerates and people felt a connection to it.

“Radiohead were just starting out and their gig in Kidderminster was postponed until the end of the tour, but by that time, their album was in the Top 40.

Mark Badgeman, who promoted Market Tavern in the 1990s
Mark Badgeman, who promoted Market Tavern in the 1990s

“Then there was Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. They played their first album launch there and kept coming back, even when they were too big for the venue.

“Catatonia came early on in their career and had Space as a support act, but Robert Plant supported it too as a local and came and did a benefit in aid of the hospital.”

It will add to Kidderminster’s proud music heritage that already includes a blue plaque on the old Frank Freeman’s building where Fleetwood Mac, T-Rex and Captain Beefheart played shows, often with John Peel DJing.

Pub where Radiohead and Led Zeppelin star played to get heritage plaque
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“This is something celebratory for Kidderminster’s music heritage,” added Mark, who used to make badges for Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.

“The Market Tavern is worthy of a Blue Plaque and we have the full backing of Kidderminster Civic Society.

“It was a proper music venue that shone brightly and this is a great way to commemorate the town’s history and remind the people living in those flats that they live on hallowed ground.”

If you have photos or memories of the Market Tavern that you would like to feature, contact Alison Brinkworth on [email protected]

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