Indianapolis Colts owner & CEO, Jim Irsay's collection goes on tour

Jim Irsay, owner & CEO of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, is bringing items from The Jim Irsay Collection – his renowned assemblage of historic and iconic artifacts from rock music, American history and pop culture – to his hometown of Chicago on Tuesday, August 2, showcasing his passion for curating culturally-significant artifacts to share with the world.



The core of Irsay's collection has always been guitars played by famous rock musicians. Photos courtesy Indianapolis Colts.

The core of Irsay's collection has always been guitars played by famous rock musicians. Photos courtesy Indianapolis Colts.

The exhibition will feature newly acquired guitars owned and played by Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain. Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" guitar and Cobain's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" guitar will be displayed prominently among other iconic guitars from rock and roll history.


Irsay, a Chicago native, will open the collection for a combined public and private showcase from 7 P.M. to 10 P.M. at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Irsay has toured the collection through a series of exclusive showings but will be debuting it for the first time in his native Chicago at this historic, free event. This is only the second time the entire collection has been available for public viewing, after debuting in New York in June with acclaim featured in Bloomberg, CHEDDAR, Reuters & The Daily Mail.


Irsay's passion for rock music led him to assemble instruments and items owned and used by some of the greatest artists in music history, including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Prince, Eric Clapton, Sir Elton John, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia, Les Paul, David Gilmour, Jim Morrison, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, The Edge and other music icons.


Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a performance from The Jim Irsay Band, a band "which has never existed and will never exist again." Led by Irsay on vocals, the band includes Mike Wanchic on guitar (John Mellencamp), Mike Mills on bass (founding member of R.E.M), Tom Bukovac on guitar (has played on over 700 albums with major artists), Kenny Wayne Shepherd on blues guitar (Five-time GRAMMY® nominated), Kenny Aronoff on drums (Sir Paul McCartney, John Mellencamp, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson), Michael Ramos on keys (John Mellencamp, Los Lonely Boys, Patti Griffin, Paul Simon), Carmella Ramsey on fiddle and BGVs (Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless and more) and special guest, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Ann Wilson.


Outside of music, the collection includes Presidential artifacts, historical documents from American history, original manuscripts, sports memorabilia and much more. An active philanthropist, Irsay regularly loans items to museums, nonprofits and other organizations for display and research. Items have been displayed at the U.S.'s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Lincoln Memorial, the world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel, the Indiana State Museum, the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the British Library (London), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome) and other locations around the world.