On my way home from the Charlotte airport I passed a van with a bumper sticker that read: “Support your local musician.” Initially I thought that was pretty clever. But after giving it some more thought, I realized how true of a statement that is. Local musicians and local scenes are incredibly important and not just for the performers and bands in the area, but for community as a whole.
Having spent so much of my time in Boston and now New York City, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to truly be a part of a tight local music and poetry scene. That’s not to say that performers and artists in these cities aren’t close with one another, but in both NYC and Boston there are so many poets and so many musicians that it would be impossible for me to know all of them. I might be able to narrow down some scenes, for example the Boston Poetry Slam community is very tight, and know a good number of people, but cities are too vast to know everyone, even by name, like I could around Lake Norman.
And sometimes I’m nostalgic for the scene in the Lake Norman area. Thursday night I went to Bella Love in Cornelius to watch my friends play music and Friday night I went back for a poetry specific open mic. It’s inspiring to see, especially since I started reading my poetry and playing music here around. It feels very homey.
While it’s a younger generation that gets to reap the benefits, the people I was performing with when I was younger made a point to open up the area. They tried to write, paint, draw, and perform in a place that remains largely unreceptive to anything but music on the radio. I remember driving around the city with demos of an old high school band, dropping them off everywhere and anywhere with our contact info and never receiving a single reply. Not even a NO.
Now there are open mics that go for four hours with full bands and attentive crowds the whole night. There are art crawls and street festivals like Music on the Main in Mooresville and The 2nd Friday Art Crawl in Cornelius. There is a growing and vibrant scene.
Remember: Support your Local Musician. And all those other artists too.