STONES FAN MUSEUM LÜCHOW - Rock-'n'-Roll-Fata-Morgana in the cultural nowhere

STONES FAN MUSEUM LÜCHOW - Rock-’n’-Roll-Fata-Morgana im kulturellen Nirgendwo

The Rolling Stones sing "Living In A Ghost Town" in their first new song in eight years and they certainly don't mean Lüchow. The small town in Lower Saxony is not a ghost town, not even in Corona times. But there's not much going on here either. There is tranquillity instead of hustle and bustle, you look in vain for pulsating life. Nobody here will see the biggest pandemic damage in the fact that the cultural life has collapsed and concerts are cancelled. Who should include this place with not even 10.000 inhabitants in his tour plan?

However, there are exceptions: A concert by the Rolling Stones guitarist was actually planned for the autumn in Lüchow. Ronnie Wood in the Rock 'n' Roll no man's land between meadows, fields and the little river Jeetzel? In fact - more precisely, in a place that seems like a mirage: a striking half-timbered house adorned with large-format photos and world-famous portraits. The Rolling Stones look down from the main façade, the "Voodoo Lounge" figure greets us from the door at the rear exit. A beam bears the inscription "Stones Fan Museum". It is the only exhibition house in the world dedicated exclusively to the legendary rock band - here in the Wendland, of all places, which is actually only associated with one notorious institution: the Gorleben nuclear waste storage facility. But the museum is not a pipe dream. Everything you encounter here is real - the countless exhibits as well as the man whose portrait is emblazoned on the outside facade: Ulrich Schröder, the head of the Stones Fan Museum, whose story alone is worthy of being visited, which is why he likes to tell it to visitors.

Ulli Schröder was born in neighbouring Uelzen in 1949 and has been a Rolling Stones fan since his puberty. As a 15-year-old, he accompanied the band in three of four cities on their first tour of Germany in 1965. He had saved up the money. Although his love for the Stones - to his parents' chagrin - did not abate, he did an apprenticeship as a bank clerk. Probably he would have stayed in the financial business until his retirement, if the guitarist of his favourite band hadn't asked him in 1997: "Do you want to stay a banker forever, or can you imagine to earn some more money with sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll? Ulli didn't let himself be asked twice: "At home I had to explain to my wife why I had simply changed my profession one weekend in Dublin." Her husband was now the official gallery owner of part-time painter Ron Wood.

This was due to his interest in Ronnie's art work, which led him to contact Woods' management. There they reacted with astonishment and an invitation to London and shortly afterwards to Dublin for a party to celebrate Ronnie's 50th birthday. From then on, the German was not only one of the illustrious circle around the band, but also toured Germany and Europe as an exhibitor with Ron Wood's paintings (among others, on behalf of the 1995 Stones sponsor VW). The fact that visitors kept asking him if there were any other Stones exhibits to be seen finally gave him the idea of opening a museum. This was no problem for Ulli, as he had collected memorabilia of the band in his parents' barn from early on - from stolen tour posters to tons of T-shirts, which friends of him brought to concerts when he couldn't go there himself (which he has done 201 times so far). "I even had newspapers with reports brought to me, because the Stones feeling has to be touchable, you can't do that on the internet - it's like dead matter."

In the end, it was only logical to set up the museum where his Stones love once began. Ulli Schröder rented a vacant supermarket building in Lüchow, then even bought it, and after the conversion he was broke for the time being. After some back and forth, the city authorities - none of whom had ever attended a concert of the band - granted a one-time subsidy on condition that the museum would exist for at least ten years

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