The Garage sets the stage for young bands


Living Waste dressed up for the Halloween show at The Garage music venue on October 27th to play their hardcore punk songs. “It’s the best place we’ve ever played at.” said Billy Andrusko (shown on the far right) Photo Credit: Kiara Thomsen

Mia Swanson, Staff Writer

The Garage is a music venue located in Burnsville Minnesota and has been around since 1999. This music venue is more than just your ordinary live music setting. Its a non-profit, alcohol-free, open to all ages, sells pretty cheap tickets, and to top it all off it is a huge supporter of young bands.

For most young artists, of any art form, it can be difficult to pursue an art career in a world that doesn’t always provide the support or education needed to do so. People trying to start a band can find themselves stuck on how to exactly create the band they have envisioned. Billy Andrusko is a junior at South High school, but outside of school he is the bassist in the punk band Living Waste. Andrusko claims that it can be hard to find a place to perform,“especially if you’re under age, because no one wants you.”

This lack of music venues being open to young artist is exactly why The Garage was created. “We’re here to serve those individuals and make sure they get the equal opportunity everyone else gets to do what they love to do.” said The Garage’s executive director Jack Kolb-Williams. “There is no other opportunity for folks to do [the] stuff we do.” Sam Guindon is a freshman and guitarist for the band Cabin 10 who believes that “If you want somewhere to start off, [The Garage is] a good jumping off point.”

Both Andrusko and Guindon had the same first experience when they played at The Garage for the very first time. “The first gig we had there was a really good turn out. So we decided we wanted to play there again… We just kept coming back.” said Guindon, and

“There is a ton of people that actually come.” said Andrusko. “We offer the same kind of concert experience a band would get at any other venue.” said Kolb-Williams. Senior, Max Folina and past lead guitarist for the band Want/Need said that The Garage “Made you feel more professional” and “Felt real”.

Kolb-Williams explained that they provide a real light system, a real sound system, and as Andrusko points out “It was amazing, because its a real stage.” The band is given almost complete freedom to do whatever their creative minds desire. The one restriction The Garage has is that the performances are not allowed to be discriminative. Other than that band gets to do as they please.

Even after the show is done and everyone has gone home The Garage continues to keep in contact with the bands to “give them the support they need to be successful” said Kolb-Williams. They will help teach bands how to book other shows, market their band, be professional, and properly execute an event. “That way when they get to a point where they get to start playing at First Avenue or something like that, they’re prepared, and have already gone through a lot of these steps.” said Kolb-Williams. “It’s definitely taught me some valuable lessons.” said Folina.

The Garage is one of a kind, and although it may be a good place to start a music career, it can be difficult for youth that live closer to the heart of Minneapolis to make the trip all the way out to Burnsville. Folina said he “probably wouldn’t play there again, just because no one really comes to the shows that are super far away” So why aren’t there more places like The Garage?

Folina thinks “The reason it doesn’t work in Minneapolis is because there are already so many bars that people will just go to for free or for lower prices, and those venues also have other things to offer such as alcohol and food.” Folina further explains how this can sometimes be risky for the bar because “most of the money they make comes from alcohol sales. And so when they hire a younger band to play they don’t pull in as many older folks unless its like their parents or something. So they don’t make as much money off of younger bands. So that’s definitely been an issue.” said Folina.

For those new bands who are interested in learning how to create a band, The Garage hosts a meeting on the second Saturday of every month. “It’s a really good opportunity for folks to get some insight on what it takes to be successful in the music industry.” said Kolb-Williams.

Even though The Garage is “a good jumping off point”, as Guindon had said, new bands should keep in mind that “A lot of venues are open to hearing new stuff and they are excited to help people out” said Folina. Even though The Garage may be far Andrusko said “It’s the best place we’ve ever played at.”