Trendy, new music venue opens Downtown

 - by julie

Today’s blog is written by Michaela Schell, a local writer and business professional.

A new music venue has come to Downtown Grand Forks! You probably haven’t seen any big outdoor sign marking its location, actually you can’t even see the venue from the street. That’s because it is tucked away in one of Downtown’s already prominent landmarks… The Empire Arts Center.

What used to be a staging area behind the theater has be recreated into a trendy little social area the Empire is calling “The Backstage Project.”  The Empire’s website describes it as a place “designed to utilize creative, urban spaces for live music performances by local and regional artists.” I call it “pretty cool.”

Grand Forks is lucky to have the large scale concert venues such as the Alerus Center and Ralph Engelstad Arena and mid-size venues like the Empire’s and the Chester Fritz Auditorium’s stages for fairly large performances, but we have always been missing that small, intimate space where local artists can perform to an up-close and personal crowd. Until now.

The Backstage Project kicked off its first show of the series on April 5th with music from local jazz band favorite, Jazz On Tap. Jazz On Tap performed to a group of about 60 people scattered throughout the cozy space on chairs, couches, and standing around the bar.

“I couldn’t be happier with the success of our first Backstage Project concert,” said Emily Burkland, Executive Director of the Empire Arts Center. “The concert-goers loved the relaxed, intimate feel of the space. It felt just like a bar in New York or LA. It’s the perfect place to enjoy music and conversation with friends in a venue unlike any other.”

The Backstage Project has a series of concerts lined up for the coming months featuring

Chase Burkhart on April 27 @ 8pm
Rosie Sauvageau on May 10 @ 8pm
Mike & Hanna Power followed by Black Cat Abraham on May 24 @ 8pm

More concerts are being planned throughout the summer.

The charge for the event is just $5 at the door with a bar provided by Rhombus Guys.

Preview of upcoming artist Chase Burkhart

Fargo-based singer/songwriter Chase Burkhart brings a unique voice to the Grand Forks music scene. Wielding the acoustic guitar to complement a set of tenor pipes, Burkhart draws from a vast array of creative influences to inspire his musical expressions. Tapping into over 2 decades of experience with musical expression in a various genres, his music is best described as an acoustic fusion of folk, indie rock, R&B, and jazz.

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