The Club opens tonight by uncdiversions
July 7, 2009, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Club Is Open Festival is a labor of love. It’s not really set up to make money as most festivals are, and whatever money it does make always goes to charity.

The proceeds of this year’s second annual event will go to CyTunes.org, the charity to pay for the medical bills of Cy Rawls, the local music super-fan who died of cancer last year, and to Duke’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center where Rawls received treatment

It’s not set up to gain publicity for its organizers. This isn’t the record-label sponsored TRKfest of June, and it’s not a self-promoting display in the vein of WXYC’s Backyard BBQ shows or this publication’s own Diversions Parties.

When you get down to it, the five day, five venue festival that hits Chapel Hill starting tonight at the Reservoir is exactly what it bills itself as. It’s an outlet, an attempt to open up every room in town and fill them with local music.

“There continue to be great new bands in the local community,” said Rusty Sutton who organizes the festival alongside friend and bandmate Steve Oliva. “All the bands we had last year are doing really great things. A lot of them have put out some of my favorite records form the past year.

“It’s not like things are slowing down in the community. So there’s no reason to stop doing it.”

Far from stopping, this year’s festival is expanding into uncharted territory. Wednesday the festival will provide the entertainment for the re-opening of Chapel Hill’s new and improved Players. Durham’s Hammer No More The Fingers and Pink Flag will join Sutton and Olivia’s band Rat Jackson The Pneurotics in invading the dance club.

Nick Stroud, new operator of Players, said his involvement with the venue started booking the festival. When he worried that Jack Sprat Café, which he also does booking for, wouldn’t be able to hold the large crowd that a free Hammer concert would attract, he approached Players to see if they could use the space.

“Players was going down hill,” Stroud said. “I started talking to the owner about lease agreements. Eventually it turned into a whole business plan.

“The club is open all puns intended. That’s really what it turned into.”

And with 18 bands from all over the Triangle scheduled to perform and shows also slated for Cat’s Cradle, Local 506 and the Cave, it really does live up to its name. The lion’s shares of the town’s venues are opening their doors for a week of homegrown fun. It’s a week that Pink Flag’s Betsy Shane can’t wait to get started.

“I wouldn’t say that a single band playing this year isn’t a band I’m not excited to see,” she said, adding that camaraderie of the event makes it special. “It’s getting together with your buddies, rallying and making something happen.”

– By Diversions Editor Jordan Lawrence


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