By BEN WILLIAMS, Staff Writer
MT. PLEASANT – At 9 p.m. Feb. 22, the local music landscape is in for a change.
Local music promoter and entrepreneurs Cory Schafer and Wayside Central have teamed up to bring live music performed by local artists into the spotlight at one of the largest venues in town.
For years, local talent has been relegated to performing at the smaller venues in Mt. Pleasant, and has established a solid support system in the process. Venues like Rubbles, in downtown Mt .Pleasant, have played an incredibly important role in the growth of the local scene; however, with everything in life, if you make enough noise, you will be heard.
Wayside Central, one of the biggest draws for party-goers in Mt. Pleasant, has jumped on board the local music bandwagon. In the past, they have shied away from hosting live local music shows. Their reluctance most likely has merit from a business standpoint, but in today’s music culture the local scene can no longer be looked at as a reward -without-risk entity.
The importance of success for this live music event is lost on no one, especially Schafer, who has been helping provide opportunities for the past five years for local acts to showcase their talents on stages throughout Mid-Michigan.
To Schafer, first impressions are important. “With this being the first ever all hip hop show at Wayside, it’s gotta be quality, memorable,” he says. “It has to be something that people wanna keep coming back to, and it has to be something the musicians want to keep on doing!”
Local entrepreneurs have come out in support of this venture, many of whom have been working behind the scenes for the expansion of live music locally. Schafer lists MVMT Snapbacks, Cool Life Livin Clothing, and musicbliss.net as providing the needed sponsorship and promotional support to make the night one that will be remembered on the local music scene.
“In the past the Wayside didn’t usually do live music either. So to open a door for the scene is huge,” states Schafer, who has built a great line-up with locally recognized artists, including D.Val, Joey Bars, Philthy and Shimmy Sham and a special dance performance from Bird, Mount Pleasant’s resident hip hop dance royalty.
Schafer says he is hopeful the talented line-up will draw the kind of crowd needed to keep the live shows coming. “I am personally not focusing on anything more than hip hop for the time being,” he says. “There are a lot more opportunities for other genres of music locally. I am open to the idea of more types, but I am not focused on that right now; we have to build the plane, before we chart the course.
“My expectations are very high!” Schafer says. “(We want ) to do it again and again … giving locals, regionals and hopefully nationals a great spot to showcase their talents and craft!”
All eyes will be on Wayside Central Feb. 22, a night that is sure to go down in history as a major turning point, for better or worse, when it comes to the local music scene. The cost to attend Wednesday’s event is $6 for ages 18-20 and $5 for ages 21 and older.
(Staff writer Benjamin Williams owns and operates the music interview website musicbliss.net. He will be at the Wayside to view the night’s events, so watch for his review in The Laker Current.)