Hey, remember back in December when we all packed into Zorn Arena for that great all-ages show? That was great wasn’t it? For me, seeing Bon Iver take the stage was awesome. They put on a fantastic arena show that was simultaneously breathtaking and intimate (especially during Creature Fear).
I don’t know what triggered it, but experiencing Bon Iver on the big stage threw me into a state of reflection and nostalgia. It brought me back to seeing them in little more than a cramped space at Racy’s in the bygone era commonly known as 2007 (or, among hipsters, “for emma ago”). This was before their national tour and stardom. But the nostalgia I was feeling wasn’t reflecting on “how far they’ve come” or “if they can make it, loads of other local talent can, too.” It made me think about the state of the Chippewa Valley’s all-ages scene.
The goal, of course, is to provide the under-21 crowd the opportunity to experience the same fantastic music that this region regularly provides for the 21-and-above crowd. Or maybe that’s just my goal, because I’m one of those deluded enough to think back to those days and really remember how music changed my life.
My obvious bias and vision for the all-ages scene has led to an ongoing discussion with people both on and off campus, trying to create that connection between the insular communities of the university and general populace. Often the discussion turns into blaming one entity for the lack of connectedness, but my usual response is, “What have you done to both see what is out there, and possibly contribute?”
The truth of the matter is that there are some great opportunities to see live music on our campuses and ways we as a community could work together to promote a larger all-ages shows in our communities.
One of the stars of the booking game in the Chippewa Valley is Blue Devil Productions at UW-Stout. Since I’ve been here, I’ve gotten to see a great mix of both up-and-coming artists and established gems from both the area and the Twin Cities. In my mind, that is their greatest strength: putting on shows worth driving to the Cities for (Cloud Cult, Motion City Soundtrack, etc.). It’s bookings like this that really shows that they are plugged into what music nerds of all ages want to see. And with the remodeling of Memorial Student Center, they have some fantastic venues for bands to perform in both in and outdoors.