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Student revs up Ruston music scene

June 26, 2008

by Cassie Carson

Ruston has had a tough time pulling in a music scene along its historic streets for the past few years.

Cameron Goldsmith is making an effort to get the small Northern Louisiana town rocking.

But the job has not been easy.

“I used to [put on concerts] in Shreveport for a while, and I had been booking shows across Louisiana for traveling bands and
realized how hard it is in North Louisiana to
find any all-ages venues,” Goldsmith said.
“So I decided to bring shows to Ruston.”

Goldsmith, a sophomore business and administration major, said he decided Ruston
would make a good location for concerts
because the city is filled with college students from Tech and Grambling.

He said there are also students from Cedar
Creek High School and Ruston High School
that could potentially fuel the Ruston music
scene.

With not much entertainment for college
students in Ruston, Goldsmith said it would be easier to draw a sizeable crowd to a concert.

“It is really easy to get kids out at shows
and it’s easy to market to the target demographic(students) because everything is so centralized,” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith said the last show he put on
drew around 75 people, which he said was a
great number considering it was the first show presented in Ruston.

The show, which took place in April, pulled acts such as Mark’d, Versus the Bullet and After the Tragedy.

Goldsmith said a recipe for a great show
includes good bands, good music and a good turnout.

He said many people overlook exactly how much work goes into planning and preparing for a show.

Goldsmith said one of the main components to putting on a good show is “lots and lots of
talking to people.”

“I have to e-mail and call booking agents, agencies, labels, and promoters to get the show booked,” he said. “Then I have to work
out fees and contracts with them about payments, sometimes catering and other crazy rock star things.”

Also included in his expansive to-do list are renting the Norton Building so the bands will have a place to play and creating a
line-up, which Goldsmith said, “always seems to switch come show time.”

Goldsmith balances his time between school and planning by “not sleeping and drinking lots of coffee.”

Despite the challenges, Goldsmith has a great attitude towards his endeavors.

He said looking around at shows and seeing everyone having a great time makes all his effort worth it.

Stephanie Kearley, Ruston resident and Tech alumni, said since Ruston is a relatively little city, entertainment options are
limited.

“Let’s face it, Ruston is a small town that
could benefit from having some of the cultural draws of a large city,” Kearley said.

Kearley said bringing in different acts
could mean more business for local eateries
and shops.

“In addition to giving North Central
Louisiana’s musicians opportunities to perform within their own community, investing
time and effort in support of a music scene
would undoubtedly benefit the local economy,”
Kearley said.

Kearley said benefits of having a music
scene in Ruston are numerous.

“Offering cultural resources indicates to
potential residents, visitors and students that Ruston is not a boring, small town in the middle of nowhere,” Kearley said, “but a thriving oasis for the arts where musicians and music lovers can enjoy having options on a Saturday night.”

Ruston resident and former member of the
metal band War of Ages, Johnathan Lynch
said promotion for a venue is as important as
the show itself.

“Good promoters are going to promote your venue,” Lynch said. “If you have a good thing working and no one knows, it goes
to waste. [A promoter] is essential. No one likes going to some random city and only play to 10 kids, so our goal is always to get
at least 50 at every show.”

Lynch said attitude is an important aspect to being a successful promoter.

“Attitude goes hand in hand with having a good venue. You need a good attitude to be a good promoter,” he said.

The next show, which will be held at the Norton Building, is planned for July 17. The concert is an AbsolutePunk-sponsored tour and will feature bands such as Socratic, Bedlight for Blue Eyes and Driving East. The event will also feature a few local bands.

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