Provided by Erik Cherchio
OSWEGO, NY – In 2008, if you wanted to see a band in Oswego your choices were limited.
You could go out to a bar, that is, if you were old enough, and wanted to stay out late.
Other than that the choices were few and far between.
But Jasmyn Belcher, a news reporter at WRVO radio, was about to change all that.
“I stayed in Oswego after I graduated because I was working at WRVO. And not being in college anymore, I became more immersed in the community. So I wanted to do something that bridged that gap between the college and the community,” Belcher said.
And so, the Indie series was born.
The 2012 edition of SUNY Oswego’s Indie Music Series will feature a triple bill of Lost Lander, The Scarlet Ending, and Cu-Cu at 5 p.m. April 1, in the Hewitt Union lobby.
Tickets for the concert are $8 for the general public and $3 for SUNY Oswego students, and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at http://tickets.oswego.edu and by calling 315-312-2141.
“I wanted to bring more bands to Oswego, plain and simple,” Belcher added.
Since its inception, she and the current head of the series, Ted Winkworth, have brought in dozens of bands from all over the country.
Starting with Madeline in 2008, to more recently, Brown bird earlier in March and on April first, the series will be presenting Lost Lander.
Winkworth describes Lost Lander as: “…based out of Portland, Oregon, and is a new project with a debut record that just dropped in January. They were listed on NPRs top 100 bands to check out at SXSW and they have a sound that’s at times reminiscent of fleet foxes… They rule.”
Belcher now works for Story Corps in New York City, and Winkworth now organizes the concerts.
With the latest show, he unveiled new large banner/ backdrops, and a new location.
The series started in the Sheldon Hall ballroom. A large open room, with a proscenium stage, large overhead chandeliers, and high ceilings.
The show has since moved into the main floor of Hewitt Union.
It brings the event more accessible center of campus and gives a more personal feel to the series.
“The ballroom was always huge,” Belcher said, “And, if a lot of people hadn’t come, it would seem empty.”
Even though attendance has never been a problem, the new location makes the atmosphere downright livingroom-esque.
The only object that gives it a large venue feeling is the giant 10-foot-tall banner in the entry that showcases the logo for the Indie Series.
The artwork is by Cayetano Valenzuela, a local artist who is starting to blow up on the national scene.
“When I booked the first show, I needed a flyer,” Belcher said. “With Cayetano being a really talented friend of mine, I figured that could be a really good way to engage the community. I would ask a local artist to do the design for it.”
Valenzuela has done every poster since the series’ inception.
“After the first show, or second show, I realized we had to brand this thing. So I hired him to create the logo which is the tree with the heart,” she added.
There is also a T-shirt featuring Valenzuela’s artwork on the front.
Sales of the shirt help support the series and are available at the shows.
Winkworth added, “I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful if he weren’t involved. He’s done every T-shirt, every poster. Everything he contributes has given the series the feel that it has.”
Winkworth took over the reins when Belcher left for New York City.
“I didn’t want the Indie Series to leave with me,” said Belcher. “I felt like it was this really wonderful community we had begun to build. And I didn’t want to see it go because I had put so much work into it. To me the key was to find someone that was interested in making it grow.”
With the strong lineup of bands, and continued use of Cayetano’s visual imagery, Winkworth has proven that he takes pride in the series.
His pride shows in his description of the series as well.
“Whether people knew it or not, there has always been a core group who are into the music and art scene around here. We want to take what we’ve got, which is a really special thing and make it available to other people without selling it out. And I think that is what this does. I don’t think it sells out Indie rock and punk rock or anything like that. But I think it opens the door to other people who just like us, stumble upon it and are like ‘what is this?!’ And I want them to be as psyched on it as we were when we were 15 or 16 years old,” he said.
Attend Sundays show at 5 p.m. and you will find it difficult not to be.
You can find more information on the Indie series at: www.facebook.com/IndieSeries
To see more of Cayetano’s artwork, go to: http://www.cayetanovalenzuelaart.com
The Indie series is funded by ARTswego, WNYO, with additional help from the SUNY Oswego lifestyles center.