By Dave Flaherty
Lindsay Post Reporter
Those were the words of Canadian musical icon Neil Young, who spent a good time of his youth in Omemee.
That attitude still rings true at the Youngstown Rock & Roll Museum, located downtown in the small village.
The museum is filled with hundreds of pieces of memorabilia that owner Trevor Hosier has amassed over the past 45 years from artists from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Youngstown officially opened last May and Hosier said it was a successful first year, with more than 650 visitors.
“People came here from around the globe,” he said, noting people visited from as far away as Europe.
Artists such as Neil Young, The Beatles, Elvis, Johnny Cash and the Who are just a small selection of those featured in the museum.Some notable articles Hosier has include the hat and jacket John Lennon wore on the cover of the “Hey Jude” album and a personal harmonica of Bob Dylan’s.
Although Hosier said though he is happy with the how the first year went, he is more conscious and will be pay very close to attention to attendance numbers over this season.
“Although privately owned, the museum is basically a non-profit venture,” he said. “It concerns me when we’ve been asked, “Are you making any money?” “The answer is no. Museums rarely produce a profit, we started this because we have a passion for music, its history, the artists who created it and wish to share the experience with others.”
Hosier said he finds that many visitors are surprised by the quality of memorabilia he has inside the museum.
“From the outside, people may see this old building and not really expect to see what we have,” he explained.
He said he chose Omemee because it was the childhood home of Young, who he called
“perhaps the greatest artist this country has ever produced.”
and not because it was a commercially strategic location.
He said he hopes the community will continue to support the museum in its second year. Youngstown Rock & Roll Museum is features three distinct types of articles that Hosier said he has collected for the past four decades. The first is memorabilia such as toys and cards which he has either collected at a younger age, received as a gift or found at garage sales or in stores. There are many articles which have been autographed as well.
“I’ve met many bands and been able to get 250 autographs,” said Hosier.
He described himself as “an autograph collector more than anything” and recalled a story about sleeping for 16 hours outside to get ex-US president Bill Clinton’s autograph.
Perhaps the crown jewel of the museum is the various artifacts (personal instruments and costumes) Hosier possesses, many which have come from world-class auctions. Hosier said what makes him so fond of these bands, particularly from the 60s, was the positive message in the music.
“It was about peace, love and fun, but there was also messages behind the songs,” he said.
One particular musician Hosier admires is John Lennon.
“His lyrics of so many of his songs come from his own experiences,” he said. “I also admire that he was an authentic rock and roll rebel.”
Hosier said he feels today’s music industry has become more of a business and the “spirit of rock and roll” has dulled. He said that he does suspect many younger people “are looking for something more in the music they listen too.”
Youngstown Rock & Roll Museum will open this year on Friday, April 24 and is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Hosier is also hosting a event titled “Still Give Peace a Chance”, a musical tribute to Lennon, which is commemorating his bed-in-for peace with Yoko Ono in Montreal in 1969. It will feature live performances by artist Christopher Clause and Beatles tribute band “The Beatlz”. That event will take place on Saturday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Coronation Hall in Omemee. Tickets are $12 at the door and advance tickets are available at Omemee Pro-Hardware at 799-2233. For more information on Youngstown Rock & Roll Museum, visit www.youngstownmuseum.com or contact 799-2903.