Saturday, July 24, 2010

Personal History: All-Ages Music in Indianapolis

I started out in journalism when I was relatively young and with little to no training other than I knew I liked music and politics. And in your teenage years, who doesn't love music, right?

I started reviewing concerts for a site called Indianapolis Music Net. I was probably the youngest, at age 16 or 17, regularly writing for the site. I was able to get out into the all-ages music community and write up shows featuring local and regional acts, as well as sometimes getting press passes for national shows happening at the Murat Center, Conseco Field House, and Deer Creek Music Center. I also met a lot of people as well, who weren't just playing music, but hoping to build something.

At this time, 2001-2004 or so, Mayor Bart Peterson was talking about making this a city for the arts or an art mecca or something similar to that. A lot of people that I've talked with over the years found that a bit ironic, since the police were coming down hard on all-ages venues. Solidarity Books was raided when the National Governor's Association came in due to what was claimed to be an anonymous tip on a fire code violation, and was subsequently shut down. Festivillia shut down out of the blue, with rumors due to pressure from law enforcement. And the Emerson Theater, which is still in business, has no shortage of stories of law enforcement officers having less-than-positive interactions with those attending and performing at the Emerson Theater.

One of those people I met was Clark Giles. He wrote this e-mail several years ago (early 2004) to some kind of committee, outlining motivations and realistic actions to take to foster a positive all-ages music scene in Indianapolis. In my opinion, giving young people something to do while they're here will retain them when they become adults. Negative experiences, such as some of what my friends and associates had in years past, will only serve to drive them away.

I'd normally type up an introduction to Clark, but he does it well enough in his e-mail.

Here is the link to the Google Docs version. It did not turn out well copy/pasted from a forum post to this blog post. If you do not HAVE a Google account, get one. But if you really don't have one, feel free to e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

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