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Arts & Culture

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Is Collecting Film and Video of Northeast Ohio's Music Scene

photo of Shannon Erb
Audio-visual archivist Shannon Erb checks a film of The Who at the Richfield Coliseum. The band played here in 1975 and 1979; the latter show took place three days after 11 fans were killed at a show in Cincinnati.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held a community event over the weekend to crowd-source rare film and video of popular music in Northeast Ohio -- and they're still looking for more.

When Bruce Springsteen played the old Richfield Coliseum in 1979, video equipment was bulky and expensive. But that didn't stop at least one fan from sneaking in with an 8mm camera and filming a few minutes of the now-legendary show. The footage is now part of the Rock Hall's archive after its first Film & Video Preservation Day, which invited anyone with rare footage to bring it in to have it professionally digitized.

Archives Director Andy Leach says -- along with big-name acts -- they're also looking for Northeast Ohio bands who may never have played more than a few shows for a few people.

“And maybe that’s why it’s important: it’s to document parts of the scene that no one had ever heard that will be part of the historical record for the future because we were collecting it today.”

Chris Rutzen of Kent brought in rare cassette tapes of influential shows by Iggy Pop and the Ramones. And he also brought a videotape from the mid-90s of Velocipede, a band he went to high school with.

“Everybody that I was friends with in that whole Kent music scene, they didn’t save anything. They don’t have any of their fliers. They don’t have any of their cassettes. Everybody just kind of relies on me to keep hold of it and keep it safe.”

The archiving program is made possible by a $9,100 grant from the Ohio History Fund. Highlights from the videos collected will be shown on Home Movie Day at the Rock Hall on Saturday, October 20, and another community collection day -- for video, audio, and any other memoribilia -- is being planned for July 28.

The archives can be contacted here.