Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Though physically gone, New Direction is alive in spirit

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | February 22nd, 2017

As some of you may know, local venue The New Direction closed back in September 2016. For several years, this small, all-ages venue located below street level Downtown, hosted concerts showcasing talent from numerous independent and local music acts.

Although unforeseen circumstances caused the physical location to close its doors, people are still eager to keep its spirit of supporting local and independent music alive.

I had the opportunity recently to speak with Jack Stenerson, one of the owners of the original venue and organizer of the 6th New Direction Fest, which will take place for three nights, from Friday, February 24th to Sunday, February 26th. This will be the first New Direction Fest to be held outside of the defunct physical venue, but the spirit behind it is still very much thriving.

The New Direction was opened below street level, next to Paradox Comics, in March 2011 by Jack Stenerson, Jed Felix, Charlie Wang, and Rusty Steele. The modest size, intriguing placement, and inclusive, all-ages policy gave ample opportunity for local and independent artists to perform and find a wide-ranging audience.

Unfortunately, substantial hikes in the rent for the property made keeping the venue open unfeasible, and it closed its doors last fall. A large number of people were understandably upset by the news but refused to let it crush their spirits.

They say that birds of a feather flock together, and according to Stenerson, well-loved local venue The Aquarium actually approached him first about the possibility of still holding a New Direction Fest, albeit in different surroundings. “They were very enthusiastic,” said Stenerson.

Though the Aquarium generally caters to an audience ages 21 and up (it’s above a bar, after all), they were more than willing to cater to the all-ages ethos of The New Direction in this instance.

Over the course of the three nights of the event, there are eighteen bands slated to perform, six a night. All but three of the bands on the docket performed at the physical venue while it was open, and some, like local punk rock act Crab Legs (who have played at every fest), were quite the regulars.

The musical festivities at The Aquarium will not be the only attraction of New Direction Fest, however. On Saturday, the second day of the festival, there will be a punk rock garage sale and record fair at the Lost in Fargo store from 2 to 5pm. People are encouraged to bring clothing, video games, cassettes, and anything else they may want to sell or trade. Later on that night, after the main show is done at The Aquarium, there will be an acoustic afterparty at the same store. People who paid for the performance at The Aquarium can come to this event free of charge.

I asked Stenerson about the possibility of there being a new physical venue for The New Direction, since for the time being the fest is still continuing. “I have no plan to get directly involved in opening a new venue,” he said. Though he has heard rumors about there being a search for a new location to open a venue with a similar ethos and devotion to local music, he said it would not be The New Direction. That name, he said, was so inextricably tied to its old venue that a similar effort opened somewhere else would just be a spiritual successor. “The place meant so much to people.”

Despite having no resolution to open a new physical venue under the name “The New Direction,” Stenerson is still bound and determined to keep the spirit of the place alive. “When we had the first festival, the tagline was, ‘More than a building.’ That’s why having another festival is so important. It’s about the community.”

And community is more important and has more staying power than any building or lease.

IF YOU GO

6th Annual New Direction Fest The Aquarium (Dempsey’s upstairs), 226 Broadway N, Fargo 

Friday, February 24: Ghost Bath, Alistair Hennessey, Township, Tigerwine, Baltic to Boardwalk, Grazing 

Saturday: Hands, Infinite Me, Benefactor, Wanderer, Salt Creek, Monday Night 

Sunday: Unturned, Crab Legs, Stars Hollow, Many Months Left, Triple Deke, Phobophilic 

3 day passes are $25 and are available now at Orange Records and www.ticketweb.com. Single day passes will be available for $10 the day of the show.  

Recently in:

CANNON BALL - Joint Terrorism Task Force agents contacted an Indiana activist days after he returned home from Standing Rock’s fight in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline.Aaron Pollitt, 28, from Indiana, was charged…

The 48th Annual UND Writers Conference, “Citizen,” will take place March 22-24, 2017, at the Memorial Union on UND’s campus in Grand Forks. The Conference will feature authors/artists who contemplate what it means to be a…

Best Bets

​Hand to God

by HPR Staff

March 16-30, 7:30 - 9:30 PMThe Broadway Theatre Garage, 409 Broadway, FargoA dark comedy play about the God-fearing children of Cypress, Texas, who go to a local church and practice their Christian puppet ministry. But when one boy…

In the WNBA, was there ever a team like the 2011 Minnesota Lynx? People argue about it, but we say they’re the best. Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Bronson, Maya Moore, Taj McWilliams-Franklin.The Lynx drew first in…

How can we be so stupid?So here we go again with healthcare costs. Doctors once were paid pigs, chickens, and veggies for delivering babies. But now we have $10 Tylenols, $1,000-a-day pills, $10,000-a-day hospital rooms, $100,000…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On a cold windy Tuesday night, we wandered into the new downtown establishment Magnolia’s. I was impressed that the new tenant had replaced the garish green exterior of the previous Kitchen Gremlin. A pink and white signage and…

Changes in the presidential administration are always bound to bring out artistic expression, whether supportive or critical. The recently inaugurated Trump administration is no different. It’s safe to say that the 45th President…

Cinema

​2017 Fargo Film Festival

by HPR Contributor

By Kaley Sievert Movies have this magic. An emotional pull that lures audiences into their universe. Filmgoers can get lost in stories painted in dazzling lights, electric colors and robust sounds. They mourn over the hardships of…

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the North Dakota Governor’s Awards for the Arts. Recipients of this year’s awards include a wide range of different artists working in a variety of different methods of expression. A…

When I arrived at the practice space for Tin Roof Theatre in the Moorhead Center Mall for an interview last week the place was decked out with set pieces and stage flats, preparations for their upcoming show. Tin Roof founder…

Humor

What is acceptable comedy?

by HPR Contributor

By Bill LucasYou may wonder about the title. Whenever we hear someone’s opinion I think it is important to know a little about them. We all are offended by many things that are due to our experiences in life. We may be able to…

It was right around this time last year that news articles around the world were spreading fear about a looming hop crisis. Supposedly driven by an overwhelming influx of new brewery startups, as well as the American craft beer…

Shopping can be a stressful experience, especially while looking for healthier food items or trying to decide which supplements you need to add to your regimen. It can be mind-boggling for someone stepping onto the path to a…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“There is one thing, and only one thing, in which it is granted to you to be free in life, all else being beyond your power; that is to recognize and profess the truth.” – Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within YouThis is…