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Setting the Scene

January 17, 2018

STARLA GATSON
Editor-in-Chief | sjg021@ latech.edu

 

Rupert Lange, Reid Coie and Jackson Taylor, three members of Noreaster, play a set at Grandma’s House, a local house show venue. – Photo by Starla Gatson

 

Through the years, Ruston citizens have bonded over many pastimes, from the summer’s annual Peach Festival to tailgating at Louisiana Tech football games. Now, the city’s residents are connecting through another outlet: music.

 

Creating and performing music has become a popular activity in Ruston, particularly among college students. Small businesses, like Rumo’s Barber Shop, Parish Press and The Depot Coffee House, have catered to this interest in music by hosting open mic nights, and some students have even begun opening their homes to host house shows.

 

Two of these students are Chance Allen and Rupert Lange, who started their house show, The Farm, with the intention of fostering a community.

 

“What we said when we started it was it’s about the music, but it’s also about the people; we want a lot of different kinds of people to come together over that,” Allen, a senior marketing major, said. “We just want people to be a part of the community, and I think music’s a really good way to do that and bring people together.”

 

Allen said their desire to create a solid music scene in Ruston was inspired by Grandma’s House, a now-defunct house show in Ruston, and the do-it-yourself ethics they picked up from other local musicians.

 

“We’re kind of carrying over the DIY kind of things we learned from running merch and doing things with the hardcore scene in Monroe,” he said. “Those DIY ethics, that dates all the way back to like the early ‘80s punk scene, and I kind of feel like that’s what this is reflecting.”

 

Clayton Horne, a co-founder of local house show Suzan’s Place, said he believes the city’s growing focus on live music has led to a sort of subculture movement.

 

“Live music became a bigger focus in the past few years,” he said. “This year, they’ve been doing a lot in Railroad Park, and I think they’re starting to realize you don’t have to have big names to have good music.”

 

He said he believes much of the interest in supporting a local music scene comes from students’ desire for a unique pastime.

 

“When I first came to Tech, Ruston was a completely different town than it is now,” Horne, a junior sociology major, said. “The most interesting thing to do at the time, if not the house party or The Rev, was to leave Ruston. And there’s obviously a lot of events on-campus, but I think this gives it a third option.”

 

Horne said he hopes to see Ruston’s music community continue to grow in the future and evolve into something larger than house shows and open mic nights. He said he believes it would not only benefit the area’s musicians, but also small businesses and the city as a whole.

 

“Whenever we first started, I joked about wanting to do a three-day music festival at the end of the year at Railroad Park,” he said. “I just would love to see all of the local industries, including the music industry, working together to build Ruston and elevate it. Ruston’s in sort of like a golden age, so to speak, and I think we need to capitalize on that and definitely not let it pass us by.”

 

While Horne is excited to see the artists’ audiences grow, others are looking forward to developing more camaraderie among fellow musicians.

 

Haidyn Long, vocalist and guitarist of Farmerville-based duo Whys of the Wise, said the musical community she has become a part of has pushed her in a new direction as an artist.

 

“Having that support system pushes artists to be the best they can be,” she said. “And it makes you want to continue to do your music.”

 

Long, a junior family and child studies major, said though Ruston is small in size, the town’s heart for the arts has made a difference in her life and in the lives of other local artists.

 

“When you start to wonder if what you’re doing is legitimate or if it even matters, it makes you feel like it does, even though it’s a small town,” she said.

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