RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Cave Collective has been working to keep live music going over the summer, and will continue through the fall and winter with a new twist.
Music has taken a hit, with artists unable to play for live audiences, and local bands oftentimes don’t have the large fan bases online mainstream artists have. So, the Cave Collective in Rapid City has been providing live music events for artists through the summer.
One of the biggest being the Black Hills Drive Aid. It was an outdoor concert that allowed local artists to entertain a large crowd from around the Black Hills. In wanting to keep up the momentum, the collective will be hosting a six-month in-person concert series.
“The hope of the story and song series is that we can highlight some local businesses and bring them to the forefront of the attention of music fans in the black hills, who may otherwise never have stepped foot inside these businesses,” said Vice President of the Cave Collective and founder of Verb Storytelling Collective, Natalie La France-Slack.
The concerts will encompass acoustic performances, but will also delve into story, and question & answer sessions. Slack says one of the special things about live music performances is the connection artists have with the audience, which comes from the stories shared through lyrics and the time between songs.
Local studio and home of Rock School, Flat Iron Recording Studio, will host the first concert.
“Having a business that revolved around music, and then having all things non-essential going away, realizing that what we do is essential to people, but not really health-wise essential was a tough thing,” said Co-owner Scott Miller.
For a short time, Rock School classes were canceled, before they transitioned to Zoom and online classes. The lack of in-person practice and performances has been a struggle for students, as well as Miller, who is a part of local band,Dead Marthas.
He spoke of the importance of being able to express oneself through music, especially during trying times, and the community fostered through music, which was lost during the pandemic. Understandably, the series has drawn interest from music lovers ready to rebuild their community.
“We immediately had a massive outpouring of interest,” said Dexter Carman, the Executive Director of the collective. “We were able to actually book all 26 artists in two or three days.”
He said people have been desperate to perform in front of live audiences and perfect their craft outside of just practice. Despite restrictions, and the lack of live performances and in-person practices, one of the featured artists strives to continue his musical ventures and connect with the community throughout the pandemic.
Clayton Ryan, of Clayton Ryan and the Singing Mountain, wrote a song “Fight the Tide” with a video featuring the beauty and history of the Black Hills. The music video was written by Carman, and featured vintage photos of families from around the Black Hills. As well as areas of Custer, Deadwood, and Spokane Ghost Town.
“The song was something that spurred up, out of my take on everything that’s going on right now. We live in a time where when you say “everything that’s going on,” everyone knows what you’re talking about,” joked Ryan.
He also drew inspiration from a new relationship, which he says can often be just as uncertain and unsettling, and with those things in mind wanted to capture the positive in all that’s going on.
“The main story is just coming together to overcome obstacles, forgive each other for what we’ve done and what everyone else has done,” said Ryan. “Because that’s a huge part in not only a new relationship, but also in coming together to resolve a big social issue.”
Ryan hopes his song will help people realize they have the power to create and be the change they want to see, as well as overcome differences that don’t matter. As a reminder, he said there are plenty of small things people can do to support local artists.
“Following on Spotify is a big one, adding their music to their own playlists, following their social medias,” Ryan said. “That stuff is all very small commitment, that really does help us out a whole lot. It’s very important that when you find something you like, to help out those artists, even just minimally, in these free ways. I think people should look out for each other right now, because we could use it.”
Although the concerts will be live, attendance will be limited to 10 attendees, and organizers encourage people to buy tickets in advance online, so as to avoid money transactions during the event, and masks will be required. Each month a new lineup of artists and venues will be revealed.