Coffeehouse Concerts begin this term

by Kaina Chen | 2/2/15 6:01pm

The cold weather calls for a different type of social space, preferably one that involves hot chocolate and coffee. Programming Board’s new Coffeehouse Concerts aim to create this new environment by providing students with a relaxed atmosphere where they can socialize and listen to live music from up-and-coming bands in One Wheelock.

The concert series began on Jan. 22 with a performance by the Spring Standards and will continue with two other performances this term, all on Thursdays at 8 p.m.

When planning the concert series, Programming Board used the feedback from last winter’s American Authors concert, after which many students expressed dissatisfaction with the exclusive nature of limited tickets. The tickets were limited because there is not an indoor space on campus that can provide an inclusive event for the entire student body — the largest indoor venue that is appropriate for a concert, Leverone Field House, only holds approximately 1,500 people. The Programming Board’s assistant concert director Zachary Tannenbaum ’17, however, said that the group is hoping that by providing three smaller, casual events, more students will be able to attend.

Tannenbaum said that the first of the concerts had a “low-key vibe” and gave students a nice place to relax and listen to music while taking a break from studying.

The process of organizing the shows began last term and involved a large amount of planning, Tannenbaum said. When choosing the artists, Programming Board looked for small, highly-acclaimed bands. The three groups performing in One Wheelock this term have impressive resumes, including playing at festivals such as South by Southwest music festival, collaborating with well-known artists such as Bon Iver and attracting attention from National Public Radio.

The idea for the Coffeehouse Concerts came from the results of a campus-wide survey asking students what events they would like to see on campus, Tannenbaum said. From a cappella groups, Collis After Dark’s “Brews and Bands” series and Collis Governing Board’s open mic nights, free music shows already have a large presence on campus. Many students, however, expressed interest in concerts with a “coffeehouse” atmosphere, he said.

“We felt that there wasn’t anywhere on campus where there was a coffeehouse setting where you could come and do your homework, and just relax with coffee and music,” he said. “We want to try out and see how it would go.”

Around 100 students attended the last event, which Tannenbaum said Programming Board considers a great turnout considering that it was a new event held on a fairly busy day.

Tannenbaum said that he hopes the attendance will grow as information for the events are better advertised and spread through word-of-mouth.

“We were very happy with [the attendance] of the first one, but we think we can do better,” Tannenbaum said.

Bob Wang ’18, who did not attend last week’s concert, said that he would be interested in attending one of the concerts in the future.

“I like a chill, relaxing alternative social space and I think One Wheelock is underrated,” he said. “Sometimes, Dartmouth students are just looking for something to do but can’t seem to find any event.”

Vivian Lee ’18 said that she would consider going to the concerts in the future because she believes they provide a good contrast with the fraternity scene.

“As Hanover is a small town, we don’t really get [coffeehouse concert type] events,” Lee said. “It’s nice to have.”

Other students, however, said that the day of the week might pose a problem in the future.

Lauren Mitchell ’18 said that Thursday night is not an ideal time for concerts and that she would be more willing to attend if the series featured more students.

Wang suggested instead of Thursday nights, future events be moved to Friday or Saturday night in the early evening when students are looking to de-stress by listening to music.

Tannenbaum said that Programming Board wants the student body to give as much input as possible for their events, including the concerts.

Anais Mitchell will be performing at One Wheelock this Thursday for an hour to 90 minutes at 8 p.m. Mitchell has been called the “queen of modern folk music” and compared to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

The Ballroom Thieves, a folk band that mixes in blues and rock influences, will play the final concert on Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. The Ballroom Thieves have played at the South by Southwest music festival and with bands including The Lone Bellow and Dispatch.