INTERVIEW: Kathryn Edwards on the need for all-ages venues in NashvilleRead Now
The proposed site of a new venue being funded in part via IndieGogo.
Nashville has a rich history of house shows. They've been happening forever, as far as I can tell, mostly in houses being rented by college students—but that doesn't mean that any two are ever the same. You might be in a living room, or out in the garage, or in a musty basement, but you're there, hearing the greatest band ever divebomb their way through a brilliant song on a P.A. that's not powerful enough; it never is. Nothing can match the power of two amps and a drumset at a house show, megatons rushing through hearts and bones, and who cares if you can't hear the singer, anyway?
There's a need for these shows. Even though the venues come and go, the performance spaces are hot and cramped, the hosts have to deal with rowdy fans and complaining neighbors, and the police are sometimes called, the shows continue—in part because Nashville has a critical dearth of all-ages rooms. Virtually every venue here is also a bar, with a few being 18 and up and the rest requiring you to be 21 in order to enter. This is how bars operate, but life begins long before 21, and we fall in love with music very early, before we iron out our social skills, or decide on a career, or learn how to dress ourselves properly. All-ages venues are very important to the development of both individuals and the collective scene and should, ideally speaking, function as beacons for experimentation and inclusivity and as safe spaces where young adults can learn, grow, share ideas, or just play some kickass rock and roll.
Kathryn Edwards understands this. As a booker and promoter who has lived in and booked shows at house venues for a number of years, Kathryn is determined to establish a permanent DIY space for artists and fans of all ages. The location has already been found and the lease has been signed, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot of expenses to take care of. And for anyone in Nashville or elsewhere who loves the spirit of independent music, there are opportunities for you to get involved.
Please consider supporting this project directly with a contribution. The reality is that it costs money to operate a venue, and not just the startup costs of restoration and purchasing equipment, but the ongoing expenses of rent and utilities and repairs, all of which are necessary to maximize the longevity of the space.
Kathryn was kind enough to allow us to ask a few questions about her plans for the new venue.
Love Local Nashville: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Kathryn Edwards: Hey! Kathryn, 26, lover of cats, slinger of records. I guess my official term would be "booker/promoter" but that sounds way too business-y. I put together shows of varying genres with local, national, and occasionally internationally touring acts. I used to mainly do this at my former house, The Other Basement, after the founder/past roommate CJ Giordano handed me the reins. We eventually got priced out of the area, and I began booking at other house spots and venues. Here we are now!
LLN: What inspired you to want to open an all-ages venue?
KE: I lived at a house venue for a few months shy of three years, and during that time I realized how necessary a DIY space was. Not knocking traditional venues, as I frequently book them, but there is something much more real about seeing people who shun the mainstream performing in a dark room or basement. Kinda fitting. Also, I remember growing up in Mississippi and there was a complete lack of anything even remotely close to a venue for anyone under the age of 18 (mostly 21, bar shows) that displayed anything close to good music. Hearing from the underage kids who came to The Other Basement about how they found a home in my and other house venues across town shows that experiencing music should be for all on a frequent basis, not just a bone thrown every now and then.
LLN: How did you find a house that was willing to rent for non-living purposes?
KE: Well, the owner of the property considered the fact that it is in a huge up and coming (already arrived, in some aspects) area near Fort Houston and Track One. That area is itching to spring up on the radar, and he figured he would take a chance on the idea that I had. It's great that it gives the feel of a house show without the hassle of getting approval from roommates or the risk of personal items getting lost in the fray.
LLN: When do you anticipate being able to open?
KE: I just signed the lease today, so we're aiming for an August opening. We have a lot of work to put in before it's ready to have the first event. But stay on the lookout!
LLN: Are there other ways people can help in addition to donating to the fund?
KE: Sure! Always looking for people who want to put on shows or even just doing general cleaning to get the place in shape and keep it that way. Emailing me or following The Other Booking Facebook page can get them all the info they need to be a huge help!
LLN: What are your short term and long term goals for the venue?
KE: One short term goal would be to create a place for people to have a safe and open environment to showcase their musical and artistic talent. There is a huge lack of that in Nashville that caters to people of all ages. I hope that people can find a place where they are always welcome to experience the best our underground has to offer. Long term, I hope it fosters a sense of community in all that participate and grows our local underground scene.
Thanks to Kathryn for her time and please consider donating if you haven't already.
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