Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment

Fame and Talent Don’t Always Go Together: Supporting Your Local Music Scene

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 UWindsor chapter.

Local music. You know it, you may or may not be an avid fan, but you should be.

I had the opportunity to go backstage at the Railway City Arts and Music Festival, an outdoor festival in St. Thomas, Ontario, which is about 30 minutes south of London, Ontario. The festival focused on local talent, from the Peel region to Windsor.

I spent two days backstage, talking to musicians, and watching the volunteers at work. I guarantee you, you will never see more passion than you will at a local music festival. You will never see more deserving musicians either.

“Everything starts from the ground up,” said Calvin Kelly, lead singer of the alt-rock band The Hedge Hoppers. “Nothing is more perfect or more fun than local music. Small businesses are where it’s at, it’s all about community.” Hailing from London Ontario, The Hedge Hoppers consist of brothers Calvin and Graham Kelly, keyboardist Adam Wiraszka, and phenomenal drummer Laura Vanhoucke. With crisp vocals and incredible stage presence, I highly recommend checking them out on Spotify and Apple Music (their debut album comes out at the end of September!).

I had the chance to catch another London-based band, Gabi & the Whats, at the end of their set. The self-proclaimed “Indie Punk Queer” band recently graduated from Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts (MIA) program, and their talent and expertise is obvious (their song “Memory” is on all of my playlists, no joke). With an electric performance, wicked vocals from Gabi and Allie, and all-around remarkable vibes, this band deserves so much more recognition.

During the interview, Allie asked for some challenging questions, so I delivered to the best of my ability, starting with: “Why local music?”

“Eating,” keyboardist Ember responded quickly, getting a laugh out of everyone in the room.

“It’s hard to describe why to support your local scene,” Allie said. “It’s just a lot of people trying so hard.”

“It’s good to support each other,” bassist Blaire added. “When you have that tight-knit community, it’s not just one group pushing themselves up, it’s everyone supporting each other.”

“Even if you aren’t in the music scene, being able to meet people and support local art is so important,” Gabi continued.

           You can catch more information on their upcoming gigs on their Instagram. “We’re trying to work on an album,” Gabi said, “but for now we’re working on some new songs, so keep an eye out for new recordings!”

           “We want to make music that makes people feel the way great music has made us feel, we want to branch out, explore new avenues, and just make some weird shit,” finished Blaire.

           I cannot express how excited I am to see what comes next for such a talented band.

           On Friday, the band New Friends closed out the night with their first ever hometown performance. Guitarist Cole Wilson talked to me about what it’s like playing in his hometown after performances in Los Angeles, California.

           “I was extremely nervous,” he started. “This is the first hometown show we’ve ever played, I was like ‘we can’t mess this up,’”

           “I feel like local artists care more, local bands bring the community together,” he finished.

           New Friends also graduated from the MIA program at Fanshawe, with their first single, “Purple Candy High”, reaching almost 6 million streams.  They were also the winners of the “It’s Your Shot” contest in 2021, which awarded a $100,000 “Artist Development Recording Contract” to further their music career.

           Be sure to check out their album The Pilot and keep an eye out for more music coming soon. Their Locals Only tour kicks off in Toronto on September 17th, so catch them live for one of the best shows you’ll ever see!

           Fame and talent don’t go hand in hand. So, go out to local bars, watch open mic nights, attend local music festivals. Buy their merch, watch their gigs, and share as much information as humanly possible. Some of the best musicians can be found in your neighbourhood, and you’ll never know until you look.

Jaime Nemett

UWindsor '24

Jaime is an undergrad student in Forensics Science with a concentration in Biology at UWindsor. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, music, drawing, and rewatching her favourite TV shows and movies.