Western Mass DIY (Do-It-Yourself concert organizing) has been notable for decades, yet still somehow manages to keep itself somewhat hidden in plain sight. You can find copies of the DIY Calendar sitting in coffee shops around the Pioneer Valley, but if you want to know where, or what, Tubecats, the Asbestos Farm, Cold Spring Hollow, Red Cross, or dozens of other venues are, you’ve got to do a bit of legwork to end up in the right basement.
DIY in the Pioneer Valley is fueled by the people who put in countless hours of work to maintain it. These people are locals who grew up here, students who participate during their time in college and often settle here, and musicians drawn from around the country specifically to the vibrancy of our music scene. Beyond the donations covering the expenses of touring bands, nobody gets paid for putting together or performing in these underground shows. The people who do this work do so for love of the craft.
DIY offers a significant degree of control to the musicians involved. For musicians who disagree with monopolistic, some would say exploitative practices of local commercial venues, or for those with underrepresented identities not often seen in mainstream venues, DIY provides a more agreeable platform for sharing music. During my interviews, many musicians echoed that they do what they do because of love for the music–a love that they don’t want to see bounded by the financial concerns of a commercial venue or the hierarchies of an unequal society.
This documentary provides a snapshot of one particular corner of Western Mass DIY during February and March of 2017.