Making a Scene for the Scene

How often do I say this – the Quad Cities’ Music Scene is vibrant and alive. In the past few weeks I have experienced some of the best music I have heard right here in the Quad Cities. I’m not talking about shows at the iWireless or the great touring bands and artists we saw at Daytrotter, or the touring bands and artists I’ve seen at places like Codfish Hollow. I’m talking about our local music scene.

It’s like our scene is this beautiful gem that we’ve put away in a jewelry box and just bring out when no one is around. It’s not “local” music. It is music for the world. We need to recognize our local artists. We need to show the world what we have here in the Quad Cities. It’s time our local music scene was celebrated for what it is.

In the past few weeks I have seen exemplary bands like Bigger on the Inside, Waking Robots, The Zealots, Heavyweight, Still Standing, The Kellos, The Blacklights, Frankie Joe N Kinfolk and more. I’ve seen brand new bands that caught my ear as well – Burden the Bear comes to mind. We have an up-and-coming round of youth bands as well. Some of those talented young people will be at the benefit on April 24th – you might want to check them out.

Before lines are drawn and sides are taken let me explain that I’m not knocking our local venues at all. Every venue in the QC hosts local music. Some host more than others. Some host original music and some prefer cover bands and tribute bands. Each venue has its purpose. We couldn’t have the vibrant scene we have without the variety or without the access to outside music. And we’ve seen some tremendous artists come through the QC. We can thank venues like Daytrotter, RIBCO, The River Music Experience, Rascals and Rozz-Tox for bringing us music that inspires our local artists to raise their sights to higher levels. Each of those venues also hosts local music, and for that I am forever grateful.

We also have local musicians who have become promoters of music. Some that come to mind are: Open Minds Productions, Masterpeace Productions and Iowa Alliance Productions. Partnerships are being formed – and each week we see these wonderful events popping up at places like Bierstube and Waterbar. House parties are becoming as regular as venues.

When I began working with the Local Bands for Music Education benefit show, I saw it as more than just a fundraiser. I wanted it to be a celebration of local music. I thought about all this great musical talent we have here and how great it would be to do something bigger than a one-night show. Something that would showcase all this wonderful, beautiful music. What we have here is so much bigger than can be grasped in a single day event. In three events we’ve hosted on the stages at the River Music Experience, we have yet to have the same band twice. And we have barely scratched the surface.

Somehow there needs to be more. But what do we create that can celebrate what we have here in the Quad Cities? How do we let the world in on our little secret? Because it shouldn’t be a secret. A couple of months ago during the hubbub when Daytrotter Downs was first announced, I suggested that maybe Daytrotter should hold the event a little later in the year – maybe April or early May. People would still want to attend indoor events, but they would also be able to wander the streets and go into the bars surrounding the venues and check out some local music as well.

Or… maybe we need to have a Quad Cities-wide music weekend event? Do we tie in with one of our already popular events – The Bix 7 streetfest, Rock the District, The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, or River Roots Live? How do we create a festival across multiple genres in multiple locations that would draw interest from outside the Quad Cities? We have great music and great minds both here in the QC. Let’s put them together and create something spectacular that will live up to the music we support.


Right On!

Local music fest would be great... I've talked a little with people in Davenport & Rock Island about an all day fest. My thoughts where that it could be a summer festival that could take place downtown in the streets. Preferably down by Ragged records & Great River (that area). Also some folks in Rock Island are seriously considering a east-end of the district fest down by Rozz. Or how about a Riverboat fest.

Why not all of the above at

Why not all of the above at once? One location for one day would not handle any more bands than we're showcasing on 3 stages at the Local Bands for Music Education benefit. Think big Ben!