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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

Live music has long been a form of entertainment that unites people. Even with the rise of streaming making music easier to access than ever before, concerts are still alive and well. Events like the scramble for tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour prove exactly this. At least for me, there’s something about being in the room with thousands of people that love an artist as much as I do and being able to hear the music up close that draws me in. However, large-scale stadium concerts have their downsides: they are crowded, expensive, and tickets can be difficult to come by. These issues are what eventually brought me to start attending shows in my local Do-It-Yourself (DIY) music scene.

An area’s DIY scene is often about where the bands playing originate, especially in larger cities. Smaller venues are often hosting local artists or those coming from surrounding areas. But for me, what I categorize as a local show depends more on the size of the venue and the kind of artist playing. I started attending shows at a coffee shop near me toward the end of high school. All of the artists playing had small audiences, with only a few thousand Instagram followers. Most were from Michigan, but one time a band came all the way from Oklahoma City. While the bands differed in genre, they all were a part of a small DIY label; some were completely independent.

This brings me to the first reason why I love these shows: they bring my attention to new music I may have never discovered otherwise. I would often go to this coffee shop and never know any of the artists, but that didn’t hinder my experience. Instead of being able to scream all the words, I would go home from these concerts with three discographies of music to listen to. Though openers at large shows can also bring new artists to people, The DIY scene allows people to support artists that do all of their promotion themselves and often perform in their own community.

The vibe at a local show is different from a large-scale concert. I feel more connected to the artists and the community alike. There is an obvious divide between music and fans at a stadium-sized show: Everything is ultra-produced. That divide is simply not present at these DIY shows. Artists talk directly to the crowd and people are able to respond. They are sometimes even the ones selling their own merchandise after the show. Additionally, they are often more accessible. I have paid as little as five dollars to go to a concert and was still able to hear amazing music. The war to pay hundreds of dollars for tickets is non-existent when I walk into someone’s house and drop money into a donation box to see the bands playing there. No exorbitant vendor fees, no sitting in nosebleeds so high my head hurts. It’s all right in front of you. The show isn’t something you watch. It’s something you are a part of.

While those are both nice features, by far, the most important aspect of local music to me is the community it brings. The energy at some of the shows I’ve been to has been incredible. The audience is supportive of the artists and each other and are truly happy to be there, while still doing plenty of moshing. The concert industry is gargantuan, and sometimes I feel like I’m only supporting a brand when I see an artist in a stadium. But DIY music is a way of resistance to this capitalistic perspective on music. It is people getting together to support each other and to create community spaces for expression.

I was afraid that I would be out of luck finding opportunities to see local bands when coming to East Lansing, but that was not the case. On Aug. 27, MSU’s student-run radio station Impact89FM and the University Activities Board put on Rock the Rec, a free concert on-campus that featured three local bands: Rodeo Boys, Sulk, and Elephant Den. I went with a few people from a group chat for people interested in live music that one of my friends created. The show was amazing, the crowd was energetic, and by the end, I had met even more people. At that moment, a group of strangers were united by both the music and the experience, which is exactly what is supposed to happen.

Since the first show, I’ve kept up with most of the people I met. I was able to attend my first house show in Lansing and plan to keep seeking out opportunities to support local bands. If you’re interested in getting immersed in your local scene, I would suggest following small venues on social media and listening to local radio to stay informed about shows in your area. The DIY music scene is something that has brought me a lot of joy, and I hope that it can for you, too.

Ashley Morgan is a staff writer for Her Campus at MSU. This is her first year writing for the publication. Morgan is a freshman at Michigan State University majoring in journalism; she is still deciding on a concentration. Morgan wrote for her high school's newspaper her senior year, which solidified her love for the craft. She is also involved with MSU's student-run radio station, Impact89, where she writes for the Entertainment team and is on the Music Review team. Aside from writing, Morgan enjoys going to local music shows, leisurely kayaking, playing bass, reading, playing TTRPGs, and collecting various trinkets to display in her dorm.