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Students to play music under the stars at B-side tent shows

Brown-RISD musical community brought together for cozy, outdoor performances

B-Side Magazine’s semi-annual Tent Shows will return to Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle this Friday to showcase student musicians in an outdoor setting. Originally hosted by the Brown Concert Agency, the yearly event was taken over last year by B-Side Magazine.

“B-Side is all about showcasing music in general but especially music at Brown and RISD, and Tent Shows is a good way to bring that music to people in person,” said Michael O’Neill ’19, B-Side’s managing editor.

“This year we have a variety,” O’Neill added. Spread over three stages and two and a half hours, this year’s concert will showcase sixteen musical acts that represent different genres and styles. Audiences can expect folksy singer-songwriter acts alongside hip-hop performances, electronic instruments and rock bands’ acoustic sets, he continued.

Fall Tent Shows have since become one of B-Side’s many community events that provide avenues for the Brown-RISD music scene. “We played Tent Shows last year and had a great time, so we thought it would be fun to play it again,” said Luk Yean ’19, speaking on behalf of his band, Strawberry Generation. B-Side is “doing great work,” he continued.

“It’s one of my first times performing solo on campus with my original material. I’m very excited,” said Allison Rosenbaum ’18, another performer at the event.  “I’m very grateful that … (B-Side) has this opportunity where they showcase so many different people,” she said.

Planning this event was a month-long process, according to O’Neill. “We only opened up (applications) to Brown and RISD students as performers because we wanted to make sure we highlighted students as part of our community,” he said. 

This year, every application from performers could be accommodated, allowing for a diverse range of acts. O’Neill said one of the show’s priorities was to have a balanced lineup that ranges in musical genres. “The way the applications this year came in, it worked out naturally,” O’Neill added.

Though Tent Shows does not adhere to any particular theme, it aims to provide a cozy ambiance for students to enjoy live music. “It’s outside on Simmons Quad, and under the stars. We have lights in the trees, blankets and sheets. It’s a quiet, intimate setting.”

Though there are many “gig opportunities to be found” at Brown, according to Yean, the Tent Shows event is differentiated by its laidback outdoor settings. Tent Shows also accommodates more folksy acoustic acts than the average performance space, Rosenbaum said.

Looking ahead, O’Neill highlighted other upcoming B-Side shows, including their more frequent “Coffee Haus” events, which also give Brown and RISD student musicians performance space.

“We can write about music all we want, but actually having student musicians and giving them a platform to perform for their friends and even for people they don’t know is really, really valuable,” O’Neill said.


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