In the past few years, UW-Eau Claire’s University Activities Commission has created legitimate reasons to brag, as well. The Cabin brings in a slew of bands you regularly read about in this very magazine, and, to top it off, they hold these all-ages shows for free.
The Cabin is not the only area for all-ages shows on campus. Each semester, UAC Concerts also books larger bands in the Council Fire room on-campus. Unfortunately, these shows are often ignored and, in the past, have included big-name acts that have many of the same names as the top listed bands in my iTunes right now.
The main thing that we need to remember with all of these campus organizations is that they are open to community input. That really means that if you would like to see something different happen on these campuses you should contact these various committees with your suggestions. This can open dialogues both ways.
But the universities aren’t the only all-ages game in town. Community venues like The Acoustic Café, Infinitea Teahouse, Living Room, and Obsession Chocolates offer regular entertainment, albeit leaning mostly to the singer-songwriter realm. The Grand Theatre and The Oxford are the larger-scale all-ages venues that have hosted a wide variety of acts, from metal to acoustic folk, but the disadvantage there is in asking bands to pay fees to play shows rather than booking them themselves.
As I alluded to earlier, there’s several parties to point fingers at in an argument for the all-ages scene. But no single one is entirely to blame, nor is one simple act going to solve the situation. Everyone needs to recognize the importance of all-ages shows and act accordingly.
The big take-away from this should not be who we can blame, but what we can do to make the scene better. Right now my radio program, Local Independence (on WUEC, 89.7 FM) is planning an all-ages showcase at the Stones Throw on Feb. 25. It was as simple as working as a team and making good old-fashioned phone calls. There’s a lesson somewhere in there.
No matter how you slice it, you’ve got a stake – nay, a responsibility – in this. After all, this is a scene worth fighting for.