The Radon Village

8 May

Hey this is Jeff from the Radon Lounge. Since we have a lull between shows, I wanted to write about some of our inner workings and thank those who have helped the Radon Lounge come as far as it has.

It takes a village to put on these shows. Without such a great community of people that have formed around the Radon, I probably would have burnt out and quit after the first year. These shows are a lot of fun, but it gets taxing when you have to worry about all the intricate logistics of getting a band physically to your place and setup for a show, financial obligations, promotion, etc. Putting these things on is hard when it’s not my day job, plus making sure I still am making time for my wife and so many other great people and things going on in my life that I do not want to sacrifice.

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First off I want to thank my wife, Cat, for all of her work filling in when help is light. When we started, she basically did all of the work that people didn’t see while I did all of the hosting. Fortunately as more people came on board she is at a place she enjoys with just focusing on creating the artwork for shows. She also designed this website. She is the visual artist in the bunch and I have to thank her a lot for making what we do legit. She truly is my partner in all of this madness.

When we have touring bands over who want to spend the night, not only do I have to clean and setup the basement for the show, but also the entire house. On the day of the show I’m often scrambling to work on just about every room, fortunately our friends Amanda, Hannah, and Amelia have stepped in to help with a lot of that. Cat also helps, too, when she can. Together these ladies have taken over a lot of random stuff that I don’t have to worry about any more, plus they help me in another huge way by greeting people coming to the show, running the refreshment table, and generally making people feel welcome. I don’t think people usually expect to see such lovely ladies taking their cover at music venues, they are our secret weapon.

Another important part that makes our shows work is food. When we started the Radon Lounge, we wanted to provide a place where musicians not only play shows but also get a place to sleep, eat, and generally recharge while on tour. Of course doing this right is a lot of work. We are completely blessed by the work of Apryl and Christine who have come in to fill this crucial part. They are really good cooks and can deal with any sort of random eating preferences musicians throw at us. Their meals are incredible and the musicians love us for that, plus they make/provide the brownies and any other random refreshments you see at the Radon. They have incredibly generous hearts. Lately they have even stayed after shows to do the dishes, ridiculous!

You might also notice we post pictures from time to time. We have always been about making sure our shows are documented, but as amateurs, we can never get the lighting right to really do the bands justice. Fortunately a real photographer has stepped in this year. Although before the Radon, Leigh Anne had never taken show pictures before, she’s definitely getting the hang of it now. We’re thankful to have her and her company LAL Photography covering our events. Check out her business here. Soon, she’s also going to give me a hand on promo CDs for our upcoming Horse Show. Of course I intentionally don’t make money during shows, so I can’t pay her what she’s actually worth, which is more reason you should support her!

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Recently, we’ve started working with another friend, JB, to do some video projects. I would challenge another house venue to have such a great team of various talents, and I’m getting really excited about the idea of posting actual performance videos that may be of better quality than the average cell phone. JB is also putting together some promo videos for us so you can have an easier time convincing your friends to spend their time hanging out in a dark smelly basement.

Of course with any show, there needs to be folks running the sound, and I am a putrid sound tech. I can move the levels up and down but if musicians are wanting a certain mix, all I can offer is terrible. Fortunately even here there are dedicated folks, Jason, Mike, and Nic who really know their way around a sound board. Not only in running the sound, but also getting us hooked up with the right equipment. It would be pretty hard to host a face melting, soul cleansing show without a system for the musicians to plug into.

We keep saying the Radon Lounge is a community, I’m hoping this post will help to explain what we mean by this. Of course the people I have listed here have defined roles, but there are even more folks who are just as important. They help get the word out and we could not exist without them. These people might even include you. The biggest challenge is convincing people there is real, actual good music of substance happening in Springfield Illinois, and it’s happening in a basement, and they need to see it. Understandably, most people need a lot of convincing to take the risk of coming out to one of our shows. But, the shows cannot exist, the musicians will not come if no one comes to see them. You folks who are getting the word out are just as integral to the success of the Radon Lounge as any of the people listed here. There are so many talented musicians out there who want to play for crowds who genuinely care about them and their art. They will definitely keep coming if you do.

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