Freespace Potentially Changing Venues Soon
Freespace is a free monthly artist showcase that takes place on the last Wednesday of the month at Jazz Gallery in Riverwest. Curated by Sam Ahmed (WebsterX) and Kane Rulan, it has been going on since 2015 and is a solid opportunity for emerging artists to display their creative edge to a smaller and more intimate crowd.
Janice Vogt hosts and interviews each artist before they perform. Ambient artist Apollo Vermouth, Gurnee, IL hip hop artist Nams Homeless, and indie rock band Negative/Positive took the stage this month. While typically the event features hip hop and electronic artists, Vogt felt it was a different vibe in a good way.
“It was a bit of a smaller Freespace than usual, but it was also a different lineup than usual. We had high energy for Negative/Positive and everyone was super welcoming to Nams….and Apollo is just incredible. Nobody else could have been in the room and I could’ve had the greatest time.”
Vogt shares why she enjoys having the event at the Jazz Gallery.
“When we started doing Freespace here, what we liked about it is how it kinda feels like a grandma’s living room. It’s like you walk in and are waiting for the cookies. But for us the music is the cookies. I think that environment where you feel like you’re walking into somebody’s house and it’s super intimate and with the art changing…it’s something different every month.”
She explains her inception into the Freespace idea had been through her partner.
“Back in the summer of 2015, I don’t think anyone knew Vince and I were dating. He was teaching summer school at the time, and he was teaching WebsterX’s lyrics – Vince and I actually met at a WebsterX show. His students really wanted to see Web perform and Sam agreed right away…but they needed a venue and it needed to be something all-ages and in the afternoon. The Jazz Gallery just seemed like the perfect spot and it was something the kids’ parents could trust. So it’s kinda just stayed that way.”
While Freespace has historically been at the Jazz Gallery, the development of the downtown all-ages venue, The New State, may change that. Vogt is one of the main facilitators of this project.
“That will probably allow us to expand everything we’ve ever wanted to do. Freespace will probably stay the same in the sense that it’ll be a free all-ages showcase, but I really encourage others to pick up the baton and do the same. I’m really hoping that once Freespace grows toward something else, others will take its place and do their own little monthly showcases to continue that.”
The New State will be located between 26th and 27th Streets on State Street. It is currently in the final stages of event planning for summer. Freespace remains at Jazz Gallery until otherwise specified.