Macon Continues to Make Music a Feature of the Community
Macon continues to make music a feature of the community!
I moved to Macon around the ripe age of 15 years old. I quickly got involved in Macon’s music and fell in love with our musical heritage. God bless the Waldens and others like Little Richard, Uncle Ned and the Hayloft Jamboree, Otis Redding and more that have made Macon home and provided the path for Macon’s music to continue to thrill music fans from around the world.
Back in the early 90’s my father, Talmadge Stuckey, saved the old Capricorn studio from being demolished and That is where I had my first studio. So many people have owned that building, but, I will always thank my dad from saving it from permanent destruction.
The thing I have always preached in Macon, for Macon to be a vibrant music city, the thing that separates us from cities like NYC, LA and even ATL is infrastructure. I have tried over my career to bring said infrastructure. Over the past few years many others have been doing the same thing.
I love the concepts of the guys at “Macon Productions “and “5-4” so this article is to applaud their accomplishments.
Read my interview below to find out all about the great things they are doing.
JS: How did you come up with the idea of Corner Concerts?
Andrew: We both wanted to change Macon’s music scene for the better by providing a new environment for artists to perform and the community to interact. Most venues and bars start their shows after 8 and lack the amount of emphasis needed towards the musicians as we thought was necessary.
While I was at Mercer, I (Andrew) sought to solve these issues but did not know exactly how that would look like. I was at lunch with JR Olive with College Hill one day and he suggested to host concerts in a vacant location like a pop up boutique. From there I began to plan these “pop up” concerts in the spring of 2014 with the first show the fall of 2014. I didn’t know anybody and I had no concert promoting experience, I had never booked a band, I had never rented a building before or a porta potty either! But all of Macon seemed to come together to help me. People like Jamie Weatherford, Sean Pritchard, Alex Morrison, Josh Rogers, The College Hill Staff would answer any and all of my questions and would put me in touch with the right people. My friends helped out too with marketing, photography, selling tickets, setting up and everything in between.
One of the ways I wanted to lower costs was by running my own sound at the shows. In fact that’s how I met George, buying gear the week before my first show at Guitar Center. George, an audio engineer by trade working at Guitar Center at the time was more than interested in what I was doing. I gave him a ticket and he came by the first show and gave me pointers and by the second show he was volunteering to help with the show and by the third show we were going 50/50 on the shows.
We were running sound and lighting so well for our concerts, we started getting booked for gigs for other concerts and events. So we started a sound company, Macon Productions, to handle those jobs and have great success supporting the music scene in that way too.
JS: Where can people go to find out about the next corner concert and how can bands apply to participate?
George: All of Macon has been very supportive of our efforts to help bring local and out of town artists to a new stage. This stage moves every time we have a show. That's where Macon has been the most supportive. Whether it’s getting us into a building we must absolutely have a concert at, or just helping man the ticket booth. There are always people willing to go out of their way to make sure these shows are a success.
The list of supporters is huge and always growing. These people and businesses include Harley Davidson of Macon, Larry Bush Tire, NewTown Macon, Historic Macon, Creative Exchange, Rock Candy Tours, Macon Pops, Apparel Authority, Sam Osakue, Georgia Pallet, 5/4 Music Space, Josh Gaisser, Brent Lanford, Infinity Network Solutions, 11th Hour, Faizan Moosa, Just Tap’d, The Hummingbird, Tony Butler and Macon Productions.
Even with all sponsors, we are always accepting new ideas to help expand Macon’s footprint any way possible. If you are a local or out of state band please send us your music. We want to hear you. EPK’s can be sent to [email protected] or by visiting our website at www.cornerconcerts.com for more information.
JS: Tell me about the idea for your practice space, how much does it cost bands, how did you come up with the idea and how can people get involved?
Andrew: Working with bands for all the concerts we were promoting gave us better insight on what is actually going on in the music scene here in Macon. Band costs are too expensive, and revenues for bands are just not enough to allow an artist to work anything less than full time. This lack of time to devote to their art really takes a hit. And if a band is lucky enough to be really good, there is not enough band services in Macon to keep them here. The band will move to Athens or Atlanta to be closer to the action and up until now no one has been able to blame them.
So in the summer of 2015, our group met up to talk about how we could find a solution to these issues. We circled around the idea of a physical location for music to grow and develop but we didn’t have the slightest clue where we could host it and how we could get the startup funding. Come November and Mercer announced the Capricorn plans to renovate in a band incubator and decided that we could do an interim version of that and gain enough seed funding from the buzz around the Capricorn plans. So we literally took the Capricorn business plan and stuck it in the old Tubman building. Mercer loved it because they got to see us test their ideas of the band incubator and figure out how to iron out any wrinkles.
The 5/4 Music Space is fully operational and in full swing as of February 1st 2016. The 5/4 in 5/4 Music space stand for Five partners for Music, consisting of George Murray II, Andrew Eck, Brad Lenz, Marc Whitten, and Mike Miller. Steven Jarvis moved to Macon to help with this project and is now the Property Manager running day to day operations.
Practice spaces are rented on a monthly basis with the cost ranging from $100-$250 depending on the size of the room. For most new bands, finding a decent practice spot is one of the first hurdles that they have to jump and, aside from the super low rent, practicing at the 5/4 Music Space has other advantages.
The space is an all-inclusive music incubator. With 10 different band rooms being used by so many different kinds of artists, collaboration is a natural part of the everyday process at 5/4. It is a space that harbors a creative community that continues to improve as it is more diversified. On top of that, 5/4’s mission is simply to support and develop musical art. So if any of the artist’s need advice or help - the 5/4 crew is there to supply that for them and help them reach their creative goals. The 5/4 recording studio is in the same building. We also host concerts at least once a month in our venue that always features one or more of our artists. It helps them fine tune their performances while they make some extra cash to help pay rent.
JS: What is the best way to get in touch with you guys?
JS: Thanks guys, great stuff!
I want to thank everyone for working so hard to make Macon return to the music city it is and always has been. It is with things like the 5/4, corner concerts, Macon Music CD and Bragg Jam that we further this mission.
Remember, if you have Macon music news, drop me a line and I’ll try to help let people know about what you are doing.