Marc Bolan rock shrine: Pilgrimage, identity and ownership in a fan community

Downing, Niamh and Otter Bickerdike, Jennifer (2017) Marc Bolan rock shrine: Pilgrimage, identity and ownership in a fan community. Journal of Fandom Studies, 5 (2). pp. 193-207. ISSN 20466692

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Abstract / Summary

Marc Bolan, lead singer of T-Rex and purveyor of the glam rock movement, died in 1977. The passenger of a mini cooper that crashed into a sycamore tree, Bolan was killed instantly from injuries sustained in the accident.
When reports began circulating in 1998 that the tree was in danger of being felled, fan Fee Mercury Moon formed the T-Rex Action Group (TAG) in an effort to save the tree and the site. The space has been preserved and embellished through TAG’s efforts and self-funded initiatives, transforming what was a space of grisly death into a location for worship, reflection and behaviours often echoing traditional religion.
While the shrine attracts pilgrims from around the world, a core Bolan contingent continues, almost 40 years since his death, to in-fight over who controls the right to the memory of Bolan, the place of his death and the rituals performed by visitors to the site. As ideas of heritage and history clash with rising property prices, TAG faces a battle in which they need more than ever to be united to face instead of splintered over personal peccadilloes. This article will examine how a physical space, such as the shrine, allows for both the perpetuation of memory as well as the expunging of the icon from the importance of the place, as personal meaning and value become intrinsically tied into fan authenticity and religious rituals and behaviours.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
ISSN: 20466692
Subjects: Geography & Environment
Music > Popular Music
Courses by Department: The School of Writing & Journalism > English & Writing
Depositing User: Niamh Downing
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2017 10:45
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2018 01:38


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