Live concert at The Vogue supports struggling venues during pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS — Live music is slowly making its return to Indianapolis.

That’s as 27 bands plan to take the stage Friday night at The Vogue in Broad Ripple.

The groups include adult students from Rock Garage, a local music school and band development program.

Preston and Rocky Nash reopened the business in a new location in September. That’s after the pandemic forced them to temporarily shut down last year.

The couple used social media to keep students connected. When asked if the Rock Garage should make a comeback, they say the student response was overwhelming.

“We said, hypothetically, if we have the opportunity to open up some place and do this, how many people want to come back,” said Preston. “Overwhelmingly, majority said ‘please, let’s do this.’”

The couple offers a non-traditional music school with a strong focus in rock. Along with private instrument and voice lessons, the school also houses a band development program, which they call the heart of the operation.

Students are strategically placed into different bands based on a number of factors.

“We kind of match people into bands the best we can by their ability level, taste in music, things like that,” said Preston. “We rehearse one hour a week, and then we go out and play shows.”

Working as a musician, Preston says performing live is one of the best ways to learn. It’s also a huge part of the band program’s curriculum.

“I’ve played every type of venue from the smallest hole in the wall on a Wednesday night at 2 in the morning, to football stadiums and a little bit in between,” Preston said, “There’s no better way to improve as a musician than to perform, and then the motivation is you have something to practice for.”

When COVID shut down local bars and venues, the couple says their options were limited to keep students sharp on performing.

As places start to reopen and expand capacity limits, the Rock Garage is teaming up with the Indiana Independent Venue Alliance. Together, they’re hoping to raise money to keep the doors open at venues like The Vogue that rely on live entertainment.

“Fountain Square is struggling, Broad Ripple is suffering,” said Rocky Nash. “A lot of our local great venues that we have to offer has suffered and continue [to suffer]. We’re still not at 100 percent capacity.”

“We want to do what we can to get the doors back open so people can enjoy live music,” she added. “We need places to play because we’re a band development program and we need stages.”

Though the Rock Garage does have kid bands, only adult bands are featured for Friday’s show. The Vogue venue is 21 and older. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the show lasting from 6 to midnight.

Tickets are limited due to COVID restrictions. You can buy them for $10 online. Proceeds go to the Indiana Independent Venue Alliance, which also provides resources, financial aid and other support to arts venues impacted by the pandemic.

The Rock Garage is open to anyone with an interest and passion for music. For more on lessons, joining bands and general information, you can reach out on Facebook , their website or call 317-610-0111.

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