A word from Heather Rose, one of the producers of WhistleStop Rock Festival, a traveling fest filled with ‘New England Power*Pop*Punk queens’ happening :
Saturday, January 11th 2020 3:00 pm @ ASKEW
There was a time not so long ago in this great city of ours where you could find a rock club around every corner. Some venues shared a street address, while others even shared a wall.
With a decent pair of sneakers and about ten bucks, you could walk yourself to multiple shows, seeing multiple bands in one night.
As the years passed and clubs closed or moved outside Providence, the original music scene and your chances of surviving as a musician without succumbing to the nauseating siren call of an overpaid, underwhelming cover band gig, were pretty bleak. Bands relocated or broke up. Music stores shut their doors. Groups of miserable track-suit-wearing East Side ladies started to tear down any remaining show flyers off of the telephone poles. The Capitol even started to hold a deadly competition to see which District would prevail! Okay, fine. That last one was The Hunger Games, but everything before that is true.
Although the struggle was real during this quieter period, live original music still found a way to provide the true heartbeat of the city. Fans just had to get creative and a bit more choosey with their nightly plans. Music lovers existed in an either/or environment. You could either go see your buddy’s band downtown, or you could catch your co-worker’s band in Olneyville. Musicians were in a similar position, having to choose between either taking a show in the Jewelry District or supporting a favorite local band in a completely different part of the city, just far enough away to make enjoying both impossible.
Having personally experienced both versions of the Providence music scene, it’s not surprising that I miss the time when clubs were as numerous as Dunkins and bills were comprised of bands that made sense together and supported each other’s music. Eventually, I found that one work-around was putting together my own shows with bands I liked and wanted to see. This method is tricky though, as each successful bill carries with it weeks of stress leading up to what was only supposed to be a fun gig for my bandmates and I.
There had to be a better way. There had to be other band leaders out there who knew where I was coming from and maybe even knew something I didn’t. How could my band branch out into other cities if navigating our own felt like driving one of those night gondolas during WaterFire? The answer arrived unexpectedly last September.
“I sent out a message to a bunch of friends that I had played shows with or wanted to play shows with. It was a lazy attempt at booking, really.” explains Simone Berk (Kid Gulliver). “I asked that they consider adding us to any bills they were putting together and we would do the same. And it evolved into “Wouldn’t it be great if we ALL played together?” and thus, after 15,000 messages, WhistleStop Rock was born.”
Many of those initial messages were introductions by one musician looping another friend into the group. Cat Verlicco (The Knock-Ups, OTP) invited my band (Heather Rose In Clover) into the discussion, as we’d been wanting to swap shows since the summer. In a matter of days, a total of 9 bands had joined forces (The Chelsea Curve, Cold Expectations, Field Day, Heather Rose In Clover, Justine and The Unclean, Kid Gulliver, The Knock Ups, PowerSlut, and Tiger Bomb.) Oh, but this wasn’t going to simply be jumping onto each other’s bills. Where’s the sense of adventure in that? Instead we pooled our resources, skill sets, and connections to create WhistleStop Rock Fest: a multi-date, indoor, traveling music festival tour featuring some of the best original power/pop/punk rock bands in New England.
And what of our fine city? Well, I’m honored to say that Providence is the very first stop on the tour, which kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, January 11th at Askew. Festival goers will be treated to a full day of music, with an energy reminiscent of epic PVD shows past, in that one ticket will give them access to the entire curated bill of original rock bands, minus the venue hopping. For the very 90’s ticket price of $12, Askew will host 9 bands on one, cozy, winter-be-damned stage, including a very special, one-night-only performance featuring members of Providence’s own VulGarritty, Red Mantis, Heather Rose In Clover, Metric Electric, and Brianna Kieon. Doors are at 3pm. Music begins at 4pm. 18+
For tickets and set times please visit: http://www.WhistleStopRock.com
Write up by Heather Rose
Edited by Chrissy Stewart