Both Ian and I have been musicians and certified audiophiles our entire lives, but it was only about 6 years ago, when we started dating and discovered a local dive in Peoria, IL called Johnny's Coffee House, that we started thinking about having our own place. We'd walk past an empty storefront and think, "Hey, wouldn't it be great to have a venue here? The stage could go right over there, and we'd put the soundbooth there!" We never thought it would happen so soon, though. Ian and I are only in our very early 20s. We have part-time jobs, one car between the two of us, no money... We can't have pets and I'm the only one who's had any success with potted plants.... Yeah, we never thought our dream would come true so soon. However, only three weeks ago, the opportunity presented itself and we jumped at it. Now, we've already had our Grand Opening and we are booking gigs out as far as October. Some are so excited to see this happening that they've already asked for job applications.
Even though we've been in Austin for three years now, we've had a difficult time locating the music scene here. There isn't a safe and affordable place for young music junkies and aspiring musicians to come together and share their music and experiences. There isn't a proving ground for regional acts, and there's certainly not much to do in this town on a Saturday night if you're under 21. Well, now there is. We welcome everyone sober and eager for music, and we won't look twice if you bring your younger sibling or parent with. When we can afford it, we'll be open more than just Saturdays, and we'll have things like Open Mic Night and Guitar Hero tournaments.
This is the place to be, and what makes it even better is that we aren't asking bands to pay to play at our place. Some venues do that, but we don't. In fact, we are trying to set up our business in such a way that bands, at the very least, get money for gas and food. We love our local and regional musicians, and we want to support them. We'll also have a community posting board so people can have an easier time finding that drummer or bassist they've been looking everywhere for.
The only thing is - we are young. We don't have money flowing out our ears. We know that you probably don't either, but anything you could contribute to help us get started would mean the world to us! Starting and running a business is incredibly expensive, and since this opportunity basically fell into our laps, we didn't have much time to prepare.
What We Need & What You Get
We need money to become a registered business, plus pay for rent, utilities, insurance, bands, beverages, decorations, and other business-y things, like toilet paper and replacement lightbulbs.
We have some awesome perks for you, like the totally awesome "BBQ With Ian & Chels," where you get to come over to our house for a BBQ. Really, this venue is for you and you friends to come and have a good time and discover your local music scene - even to become involved in it - and so any donation, no matter what size, is helping us to give back to you. It's about time something like this came to the area.
Austin needs this. The whole Midwest needs this. All-ages, substance-free, non-pay-to-play venues are scarce and getting scarcer. This is a safe place for anyone to go hang out and connect with the local and regional music scene. Our Grand Opening drew 120 people, and we weren't even in our permanent location yet. We got that many people just from Facebook and word-of-mouth. If you are a business owner reading this, there's so much potential here for you to give back to your community and see something awesome happen to the city of Austin. If you are just a regular ol' music lover like Ian and myself, and whether or not you are old enough to get into other venues, this place is for you. It's whatever you make out of it. Talk to us. Tell us what bands you want to see. Ask us for help in finding a singer. Let us know if you want us to plan a talent show night. Ask us to help you increase your band's following. Help us decorate our place and make it your place. Bring your friends here and expose them to new kinds of music.
Other Ways You Can Help
Being poor youngsters ourselves, we can understand if you can't contribute at the moment. It's totally alright. However, you can also help us out in one of these ways:
-Help us decorate our place! We need people to donate band, event, and movie posters and fliers, Christmas lights, neons, spotlights, blacklights, funky props, old couches, paint and paintbrushes - the works. We also need people to help us do the actual decorating. Even if you don't have any decorations to donate, you can help us put everything up. We'll let you know when that is, and we'll provide pizza for everyone that helps out. Also, anyone that donates an item will go up on the Wall of Shock.
-Spread the word about the venue and our campaign! Like us on Facebook, subscribe to us on YouTube, follow us on Twitter, do whatever with our lame Google Plus page - links below!
I can't remember what the link for our Google Plus is, but it's probably something "TheElectricLair" or whatever. =)
We love all of you just for indulging us and showing up on Saturdays for our events and liking our FB page. You guys are what will make the Lair happen and stay happening. Thank you a million times over for helping Ian and myself start up our dream!