In an effort to introduce incoming students to the Bloomington music scene, Soma Coffee House and Juice Bar and Laughing Planet Cafe will be host to the pair’s first patio show featuring several local bands and solo acts.
Performances will include sets from artists Crescent Ulmer, Joseph Komari, Midwest Symmetry and Duck Trash at 6 p.m. tonight on Soma’s outdoor patio.
While these acts already play at many Bloomington venues, Soma manager Esther Moudy-Gummere said the patio show is distinctive for its openness to all ages, especially those students who are under 21 and looking to discover local talent.
“Sure, there’s lots of shows that happen at bars in Bloomington, but that’s not an accessible space for everyone,” she said. “So having one outside, for free and for all ages in a friendly space was a really appealing idea to us because then everyone gets to hear the music.”
Being based in downtown Bloomington, Moudy-Gummere said she is closely connected to the city’s music community as she once lived with many artists in a local co-op.
After exploring the idea of a restaurant patio show, she pitched the event to a few of her friends who doubled as Bloomington artists and band members.
“It’s a great way to show people, hey, there’s a lot more going on here than just house parties or bars or your academics,” Ulmer said. “Maybe there’s someone in the crowd who’s a musician and they might say, ‘Wow, this is an opportunity for me to plant some roots here.’”
That type of student is exactly who Komari said he was when he came to Bloomington as a freshman, now taking a semester off as a junior music major. By exposing different aspects of music culture, shows like this affected his own college experience, Komari said, just as he hopes it will affect this year’s incoming class.
“I had a profound experience that music could mean a culture that I was a part of instead of just people on a stage that I paid to see,” Komari said. “(Students) come here and they get this full blast of what it is to be independent and they get more culture in their life and, with that, live music can be very affecting.”
If the event proves successful, Moudy-Gummere said showcasing local artists will continue to be a goal.
“Bloomington’s not a huge town, but there’s a whole lot of talent for such a small space,” Moudy-Gummere said. “I think it has a really impressive arts community for its size and it will be nice if we get a chance to show what that community is about.”