Proving Our Local Independence

Story by Taylor Kuether

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This Saturday, local music connoisseurs of all ages will pack into the Oxford Theatre, 1814 Oxford Ave, for six solid hours of indie rock known as this year’s Local Independence Showcase.

In 2007, now-senior Scott Morfitt, a broadcast journalism and English literature double major, founded the Local Independence radio show on 89.7 WUEC. After volunteering at the station for a year prior, he pitched the idea to the advisory board and regional director of Wisconsin Public Radio for a local show that plays music native to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and specifically the Chippewa Valley. Now, Local Independence is a three-hour show that airs Sundays at 7 p.m.

This is the second Showcase that Local Independence has put on, the first held in 2008 on a much smaller scale at The Nucleus restaurant.

“This one is one that we’ve put a lot more time, effort and love into,” Morfitt said of the upcoming show, “this one I wanted to be much more of a community uniter. I’ve picked a wide range of indie bands, and I want it to be a chance where people from the college meet musicians in the community and community members.”

The $10, all-ages show will host The Daredevil Christopher Wright, Laarks, Meridene, Small Cities, The Heart Pills, and Wisconsin Built.

“It’s a great primer for the local music scene and who are the key players in it,” Morfitt said of the lineup, “I think these are a good introduction to what’s happening here.”

The Heart Pills’ bassist Silas Thompson said he’s mostly looking forward to playing for people who are interested in local music.

“I feel like this show might be a lot like the Sounds Like Summer concert series (weekly shows held in Phoenix Park over the summer and hosted by Volume One magazine), but indoors and wintery.”

The Heart Pills is currently working on recording their first album and setting up a tour to go along with it.

For those who find a six-hour concert overwhelming, other attractions will be present. The Foodlums, a UW-Eau Claire student-run organization, obtained a license in order to serve food at the event and will be selling various options for $2 and $3, including “banana dogs,” a banana in a hot dog bun.

“I’m very excited to have them be a part of this event,” Morfitt said, “they focus on local food issues and really give a voice and a lot of respect to the issues that are happening to local farmers whose main aim is to promote sustainable food options.”

The UW-Eau Claire Environmental Adventure Center (EAC) will also be represented, debuting the new type of stationary bicycle to be used in McPhee Strength and Performance Center. A model of the new bike, which through use will give back power to the electrical grid in McPhee, will be available to explore at the Showcase.

Morfitt said he likes that EAC will be present, as they are an “under-recognized,” but active group on campus, providing students with bike and canoe rentals as well as outdoor adventure opportunities.

The Showcase also includes a Goldsprint demonstration available to try. Goldsprint is a relatively new competition simulation in which racers compete on a set of electronic, stationary fixed-gear bicycles for a set length of time or distance. The demonstration will be set up by Derek Parr, who provides the same demonstration weekly at The Mousetrap Bar on Barstow St.

Morfitt said he is most excited about the mixing of Eau Claire students and community members.

“I think kids owe it to themselves to get off campus for this event,” Morfitt said, “it is so much what Eau Claire is about.”

Editor’s Note: Currents Editor, Eric Christenson and Managing Editor Thom Fountain are participating in the  Showcase.

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