Skip to main content

Rock Hall of Fame offers free admission to Republican conventioneers

Written By | Apr 21, 2016

CLEVELAND, April 21, 2016 After what seems like decades in the doldrums, my old hometown sure has been in the news a lot lately, ever since the Republicans were persuaded to hold their 2016 National Convention in this traditionally bluest-of-the-blue working-class city that, most appropriately, is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

That said, while outside left-wing agitators are almost certainly gearing up to cause trouble, Cleveland has been going all out to extend the welcome mat to Republican conventioneers this July for what could turn out to be the most memorable political convention in nearly half a century.

Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum at sunset. (Via current Wikipedia entry on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum at sunset. (Via current Wikipedia entry on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

What Republicans will find is a city that’s finally on the mend, slowly beginning to diversify away from its once-robust industrial base. The Cleveland Clinic has become a massive national force in public health. The restaurant, brewpub and foodie scene will amaze this summer’s influx of out-of-towners. And the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, the other side of Cleveland’s musical coin, will be making that other kind of  music in its summer home, the Blossom Music Center, all summer long.

But, perhaps most importantly of all for rock and roll fans, Cleveland’s internationally famous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is throwing open its doors, offering free admission exclusively for visiting Republicans from July 17-July 21, 2016 from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. daily. Such a deal!

Oh, wait. Like your standard, garden variety Washington politician, I misspoke. That free admission deal is open to everyone who visits the Hall of Fame. Even Democrats! There’s radical bipartisanship for you. What a concept!

The Hall of Fame would probably like us to tell you that the bill for its free admission party is being underwritten by AT&T. Which it is, according to their press release:

“AT&T has been part of the Cleveland community for over 100 years and has a long history of working with local institutions and we’re thrilled to work with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” said Adam Grzybicki, President, AT&T Ohio. “It is our hope that as many visitors as possible can visit the museum and see first-hand what a unique institution it truly is.”

Both Cleveland and Washington DC rock music fans will also be interested to know that the museum, co-sponsored again by AT&T, will be mounting a special “music and politics” exhibit geared to coincide with the convention. According to a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame press release, this: “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics,” exhibit will explore

“… music’s power to change the attitudes of patriotism, peace, equality and freedom….  ‘As the world’s eyes focus on Cleveland, it’s the perfect time for us to explore music’s powerful role in politics,’ said Greg Harris, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [The special exhibit] highlights how artists have used rock and roll as a platform to express their views and shape public opinion from Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan to Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar.’”

The exhibit will premiere in Cleveland on May 20th at the Rock Hall and January 6, 2017 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where it will be on display during the 2017 presidential inauguration events and through July 31, 2017.”

In other words, if rock-loving visiting pols and delegates should somehow chance to miss this particular exhibit, they can catch it at the Newseum in DC starting a couple weeks before the next president’s inauguration in January and continuing through the end of July 2017.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum facts: Located on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the Museum is regularly open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. throughout the year. On Wednesdays (and Saturdays through Labor Day), the facility is open until 9 p.m. For more detailed information, call 216.781.ROCK (7625), visit or follow the Museum on Facebook, Twitter (@rock_hall) and Instagram (@rockhall).

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17