The Media School

Bloomington residents voice concern over lack of venues

March 26th, 2019 by

Bloomington’s music scene is vibrant but lacks infrastructure, according to random interviews with event-goers conducted at the Bloomington Music Expo on Feb. 9.

They enjoy the music that the city has to offer, but they wish to see more support for the scene.

Bloomington doesn’t have enough music venues, said Scott Witzke, 48, of Bloomington.

“I wish there were more places where you could see [live music],” he said. “It’s hard to find those underage clubs as well, where you can get a wider audience to come.”

“I wish there were more places where you could see [live music] … It’s hard to find those underage clubs as well, where you can get a wider audience to come.”

Scott Witzke, 48, Bloomington

Most of Bloomington’s prominent venues like The Bluebird and The Bishop primarily hold shows for those 21 and over. In December 2018, Player’s Pub closed, leaving Bloomington with one less venue.

“Player’s Pub was great because it had that underage thing,” he said. “That where the void is, finding those [venues] where those 18, or even younger, can come in and see live music,” he said.

According to Witzke, one thing that Bloomington has is skilled musicians.

“There’s so much talent,” he said. “The great thing is that you get not just one style, it’s the whole gamut.”

Asa Scott, 21, of Pasadena, goes to house shows when he can’t find performances at local venues.

“Going to house shows, there’s just like more of a vibe associated with it,” he said.

“When you’re at a house show, like, literally you have nothing to lose. So I feel like there’s a lot more engagement.”

Asa Scott, 21, Pasadena

Scott said he enjoys going to house shows more than organized venues because the small houses allow for better interaction between the musicians and audience.

“When you’re at a house show, like, literally you have nothing to lose,” he said. “There’s a lot more engagement.”

Because there are so many student musicians in Bloomington, Scott said IU and Bloomington could work together to promote the scene.

“I’d like to see support from the university for some of these events,” he said.

Despite his love of house shows, Scott said Bloomington would benefit from more major venues as well.

“It would just be cool to have a more open audience, or an open platform,” he said. “We just don’t have the platform we need to make it big.”

Paul Powers, 26, of Bloomington, also enjoys the informality of Bloomington’s scene.

“I don’t see why Bloomington can’t have a very vibrant, like really, really good music scene that people from Southern Indiana drive to, to come see bands play.”

Paul Powers, 26, Bloomington

“I’m a musician by trade, so I love watching novice musicians hone their craft,” he said.

However, the music scene go could farther with respect to its diversity, Powers said.

“I wish there was someplace that maybe did a little bit of a better job of getting some country groups in,” he said.

Bloomington is limited in what musicians they can get, but bigger touring groups that play in Indianapolis could come down to play in town, Powers said.

“I think it’s pretty good for what it is, being a college town,” he said.

Bloomington has a lot of talent waiting to be heard, Powers said.

“I don’t see why Bloomington can’t have a very vibrant, like really, really good music scene that people from Southern Indiana drive to, to come see bands play,” he said.

Powers said it’s important for Bloomington to promote local music.

“Music is one of those things that speaks to the soul of what your city’s about,” he said. “There’s something that has to pull them there spiritually from a soul standpoint, and I think music does that.”