“Music is sound, painted on a canvas of silence.” ~Unknown
When I was first becoming more involved with music locally, Wichita has what was called Final Friday. The last Friday of every month local art galleries would host local bands to perform in their art gallery. These art galleries were located downtown and were relatively close in proximity; therefore, it was easy to simply walk to and from each venue. This collaboration of music and artists (most from WSU and Friends) created a strong sense of community. Each side enhanced the experience of the other.
Bands back then were not as focused on making money, as much as they were just trying to be heard. In the same way, artists were not ultimately trying to sell their art, as much as they were just trying to show it to people, or prove a social/political point.
Most bands now-a-days have grown a sense of competition. They have shifted their focus to the bar venues. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you are not a bar go-er, there is a fear of confrontation that keep many people from attending. It also limits the audience to 21+. There are many academic artists (both music and art) that are being ignored or excluded. Without the music to compliment the art, the art department has seen a decline in attendance. Without the art to compliment the music, the music had to resort to only bar venues. There is nothing wrong with bar venues. They are really fun most of the time. But there is a distinctive lack of an academic vibe there that I once found so refreshing.
One could argue that the artists have all graduated and are now of a more business mind set, which creates a monetary motivation to succeed. In turn this creates a vibe more focused on competition. Of course that will lead to a sense of vanity, which could lead to people talking shit and ego’s getting bruised. I have to admit that I prefer the academic collaboration over the individual vanity.
However there are many business opportunities that have sprung up from this competitive sense. There are several recording studios available now, where earlier there were few. Air House Studios, Red Cat Recording, Forge Audio Productions, TAHRC, Smoke Signal Productions are just a few notable mentions.
The business minded bands want to make it a record label so they can go on tour and further their business. The art minded bands just want to be heard and contribute to the community. I urge you, dear reader, find a local band that you can support. Word of mouth is the best advertisement. Go see a show. Buy a Sticker/Tshirt. Don’t loose the sense of community.
Final Friday still makes events. Sadly I haven’t been able to go in a long time, because of my work schedule. Now that school is back in session, look for more events. The most notable areas now are the District Market Place, The Workroom, WSU Shift Space, and Walnut St Gallery.
WSU Shift SPace
Walnut Street Gallery