The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Getting to know: The Cabin

Thom Fountain talked to Lauren Bryant and Caitlin Diedrich, co-chairs of The Cabin committee, about the most active venue on campus and how it runs behind the scenes.

TF: So my first question is to you guys individually: How did you get involved with The Cabin?
LB: I started my freshman year, second semester. And I’d always wanted to become a part of The Cabin even before I came to Eau Claire because I wanted to get into the music industry, like promotion. My major’s marketing.

CD: I transferred here last spring and I was looking for an organization, and some friends I already had here told me about it, so I joined the committee right away. I really liked it and got involved and started working a lot of shows and helping out with other things. And then I applied for co-chair last semester because our chair Hillary (Johnson) is in Scotland. So now it’s us two and I really like it because you get to meet the bands, you get to talk to the bands and it’s really cool to hear the music that comes out of the (Twin) Cities — because that’s where a majority of it comes from.

TF: All right, so how do you select the musicians who play at The Cabin?
LB: For local artists, we’ll get emails from people who want to play and usually right away I’ll try to work something out with them and try to book them. But not if they don’t seem like they really fit in The Cabin, like their genre, or if I feel like people wouldn’t go to the concert. Because we’re kind of like an acoustic-style coffee house.

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CD: It’s not set up for a rock show [laughs]. The acoustics aren’t really right.

LB: For featured artists, we always encourage our committee members to give us ideas of what they want to hear. And with our surveys we were encouraging that, too. We have our Cabin selection for featured artists each semester and we’ll just get together for an hour or two and listen to music. And then we’ll vote on a one to five rating and whoever scores highest that’s who we book first, right away.

CD: And lots of bands contact us wanting to play, so we usually have a good long list of things to go through.

TF: So what do you look for in musicians?
LB: I guess just what the students want.

CD: Because it’s free for students, it doesn’t cost them anything. So if it’s free, it’s got to be attractive for students to just walk down the hill or from Putnam to come watch.

LB: I get a lot of ideas from Volume One. I’ll just kind of glance through whoever’s playing in the area and look them up on MySpace and be like ‘Oh, they seem like they’d fit at The Cabin.’

CD: Yeah, we do research. [laughs]

TF: What have been your favorite shows in, let’s say just the last year or two?
CD: There’s a lot of them.

LB: When we’ve had a really big crowd — like (last weekend) with Laarks — that was really great to see. Or the turnout for The Daredevil Christopher, that was just amazing. Over a hundred people each night. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never seen that many people at The Cabin.

CD: My favorite? It’s hard to pick a favorite. I really liked Mages. They played on Water Street not too long ago. They’re just really unique sounding. They sound like Fleet Foxes a little. I just really liked the show they put on and lots of people came for that, too. They had a unique set-up, a unique sound. I really liked that show.

TF: What garners a great Cabin show — when you walk away and say ‘That was a real success’?
LB: I think when the crowd really gets involved, when they’re really enjoying it. And then when the artists relate with the crowd. They’ll say comments or get them to laugh.

CD: A lot of them come up with really good jokes or have funny stories to tell. There’s always good stories from travelling musicians. I like it when we have the tech crew and someone’s doing a really good job on the lights. I love the tech crew. They do such a good job. They get paid and everything, but they’re there and they set up everything. And they do a really good job. They’re reliable. And I think that makes a good show. When we have good people on tech.

TF: What do you guys have coming up in the next few months?
LB: Well our last featured artist is Patchouli. It’s a duo, this girl Julie and I can’t remember the guys name (ed note – it’s ). We’re looking forward to that. Two of the shows I’m really looking forward to are Elliot Arms and Stutenberg.

CD: Open Stage is always popular, too.


TF: So how would someone get involved with The Cabin?
LB: We have meetings at 6p.m. in The Cabin, so they can always just show up to that.

CD: We make announcements at shows, too, we always talk about when our meetings are.

LB: Or they can email either of us. And at (Blugold Organizations Bash), that really helps getting people to know more about The Cabin and sign up for what they’re interested in.


TF: So the last question might be a little tough, but what’s your favorite part of working at The Cabin?
CD: My favorite is talking to the artists. They’ll be setting up and I’ll be talking to them, asking questions. I always want to know what they look for, what they’re trying to do, where they go. I love hearing that. And most the time they’re really nice people and fun to talk to.

LB: I guess for me its just booking the bands and having a sense of accomplishment. Booking the semester was really tricky because I didn’t have anyone for February 4, so it was really stressful getting it all in. But once you get the booking done and get the promotion and the posters out and you get a good crowd, you know that people hear about the concerts. I really like that part.

CD: To add to mine, I really like talking to the artists to make them feel comfortable in the venue and feeling like they have a positive experience at The Cabin and that they’d want to come back. That they have good things to say about it. Just an overall positive vibe is what I go for.

LB: A lot of times they’ll say ‘The Cabin’s my favorite campus venue to play’ and I’m like really?

CD: We do hear that a lot.

LB: Just that the atmosphere is really great.

TF: Alright, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks a lot!

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