When Eau Claire’s iconic House of Rock shuttered its doors nearly two years ago, local musicians and fans were left wondering what would come next for the Chippewa Valley music scene.
Without that space, Will Wall said what’s happened is a newfound sense of division in what had always been a richly diverse music scene.
But in hopes of changing that trend and celebrating his band FMDown’s latest album, “Maybe we Could Get Somewhere if we Could Just be Somewhere Else,” Wall decided to organize the first annual Bad Art Music Festival, which on Friday will bring together area musicians of all genres and types.
“I wanted to bring the older, more seasoned bands with some of the younger musicians and kind of make a big deal about the whole scene rather than just us,” Wall said. “I’ve been around this area for my entire life ... I’m really quite familiar with this scene and I’ve just kind of seen things taper off. That can’t continue.”
The one-night festival kicking off at 7 p.m. in the Jamf Theatre of Pablo Center at the Confluence, 128 Graham Ave., will include performances from Wall’s band FMDown, as well as other local bands such as Gash, folkster D. Janakey, metal band Ghosts of the Sun, alternate folk band the Gossips, alternative rocker Jim Pullman and ambient band Gash.
The show also will feature a “bad art” visual gallery by Steve Bateman.
This, Wall said, is the perfect way to showcase all the Eau Claire music scene has to offer, and to combat the idea of a divided, shrinking local music scene.
“Eau Claire’s music scene isn’t dead at all. It’s very much alive,” Wall said. “There’s so much of every genre, every type of music that you could possibly imagine. The variety of bands and artists around here is really staggering, even by comparison to bigger markets.”
The idea for the festival sparked while discussing album release parties over the summer, Wall said, and whether they wanted a large celebratory party or a small one.
What emerged was an idea of a one-night festival combining what they love most about the Eau Claire music scene: a multitude of artists across a multitude of genres.
And the name? Wall said the band’s original idea for their album name was “Bad Art.”
Though they didn’t end up going with that name for their album, Wall still felt it was a “cool name.”
Wall said he was excited for the show to also, no less, be in the area’s newest, largest arts center, especially considering the lack of a central venue as the House of Rock used to be in the Chippewa Valley.
“It’s about time the local presence is felt in one of the bigger rooms in the Confluence,” Wall said.
Whether or not attendees love every band they hear, Wall said what’s important to him is that they see all the different types of music happening in the Chippewa Valley.
“Ultimately, what we’re looking for people to do is to come and experience it,” Wall said. “Just that little snippet of what this scene is.”