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August 3, 2015

10 ways to Achieve Musical Enlightenment in Wichita

By Thea Pajunen, Pulse Action Team Volunteer

Meg Foreman - YPW Program & Marketing Manager

Like it or not, the end of summer is in sight. To music lovers, this means that the tans acquired at huge out-of-state festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella are already fading, and the awe of being mere feet away from music giants at Riverfest has started to dissipate. But fear not — there are plenty of ways to enjoy music throughout the rest of the year.

1) Go to shows at local venues. This one seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes we all need to be reminded of just how many amazing musicians comes through town and how many great venues are in our midst. Wichita has a handful of amazing venues, ranging from tiny dives to sizable arenas. It seems like the majority of concert listings live on Facebook, so be sure to browse on there frequently to stay up to date. Some venues are easy to spot around town, like Barleycorn’s, Kirby’s, Crown Uptown, Rock Island Live, and The Orpheum, for starters. But there are so many more that are tucked away, so keep your eyes peeled and take note of the posters you see taped to business windows and the events you get invited to learn about them all.

2) Check out the We Are Wichita website and playlist.  We Are Wichita is a relatively new website is a hub of unique content focused on standout local artists, musicians, and creators, with new content and features being added frequently. Their playlist, which can be streamed on Spotify, features carefully picked song recommendations from locals with a variety of music tastes. It’s an especially great resource if you’re over your current tunes and want to sample something new.

3) Check community calendars. Visit Wichita’s event calendar and the Wichita Eagle’s event page are two very fruitful resources. Both are updated frequently so they’re worth bookmarking and checking often. If you prefer updates in real-time, the Wichita KS Local Concert Page is a group on Facebook that offers the most diverse range of live music and event listings.

4) Take some music to a park. Whether that means loading up your smart phone or MP3 player with some new playlists or bringing your acoustic guitar, there are few things more enjoyable than listening to music while you get some fresh air. While we don’t recommend blasting your music too loud (you don’t want to be “that guy”), it can be really nice to stretch out on the grass and just enjoy music in a way that’s a bit more in touch with nature.

5) Go somewhere and just listen. Going to a cafe, bar, or restaurant is a great place to hear new music. With apps like Shazam, you can ID almost any song that’s playing in an instant and can even sync those finds into a Spotify playlist. Believe it or not, even Dillon’s has good songs going sometimes! It’s all about keeping your ears open for something new, where ever you go.

6) Go shopping. Record shopping, that is. Yes, even if you don’t have a turntable. Record stores are known to have  insanely helpful staff (read: not pretentious; High Fidelity is not real life) that can answer practically any question you have about a record you’re interested in. They’re always keen to offer suggestions, should you need them. Spektrum Muzik, Dead Canary Records, and Spin It Again Records are all good places to start in Wichita.

7) Stroll through shopping districts to hear live outdoor music. Downtown, Delano, and Bradley Fair often have outdoor live music during the summer, generally in the evening and on weekends. Mort’s, Oeno, and Larkspur are all known to have bands and DJs set up outdoors for your enjoyment as a passerby or patron.

8) Go to Tuesdays on the Terrace. Each summer, Botanica hosts what is one of the coolest events in what is easily the most beautiful venue in town: their gardens. Tuesdays on the Terrace is a recurring event held every Tuesday night from June to September and features different bands each week. Pack a picnic dinner or get something from their catered menu, grab a drink, and soak in what is one of the most unique events in town.

9) Go shopping… again. This time, try instrument shopping. Wichita boasts a handful of quality music stores, like Phil Uhlik Music, Midwest Drum & Percussion, EM Shorts Guitars, Damm Music, and Senseney Music. If you’ve ever been interested in learning how to play an instrument, going to a store and asking questions is the first step. There’s no better reason to stay inside this summer in the AC than learning how to play an instrument.

10) Listen to Bacon Rock. Are you tired of over-the-air radio stations playing the same old stuff from genres you may not even like all that much? There’s a hidden radio gem in Wichita, but it lives on the web: Bacon Rock. You can listen on your computer or use an app to hear radio shows that have the freedom to play underground hits, deep cuts, and songs by unsigned artists.

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