In Seattle we're now a bit spoiled compared to most cities and towns across the U.S. when it comes to all-ages action . Vera, Studio>"/>
In Seattle we're now a bit spoiled compared to most cities and towns across the U.S. when it comes to all-ages action. Vera, Studio Seven, El Corazon, Atlas and countless others tout under 21 options most nights a week- but, head outside the Pacific NW's emerald city oasis and you'll find it's not the same for under agers all over. House parties and DIY basement scene's can flourish, but bonafide spaces that kids can call their own are tough to come by.
Not so anymore in Reno, Nevada thanks to Seattleite-at-heart (disclaimer: she's also one of my dearest friends) Brittany Curtis. After living in Seattle and working in the music community here, she was inspired by the vibrant all-ages scene and venues like Vera that foster it by providing an epicenter for learning skills related to music and arts, being able to see shows in a positive environment.
Less than a year ago, she headed back to the biggest little city in the world, her home town- hoping to rally the troops and give something back to the kids there. After many months of blood, sweat and tears, Holland - named in honor of the original all-ages space the the Vera Project is patterned after, Vera Groningen in the Netherlands- became a reality this weekend.
I was there for opening day this Saturday to witness all of the hard work and love that has been poured into the project- (and sell concessions! Her mom's home made brownies were quite the hit). She and a team of dedicated volunteers have taken a cavernous, rundown warehouse, donated by the city and transformed it into a warm, welcoming place. From the stage to the hand painted bathrooms (one even has white fluffy clouds hanging from the ceiling), each detail has been lovingly crafted and placed- the result is a venue filled with soul.
The community came out in full-force with kids, parents and babies running around all day and night for double dutch, a poster show featuring a selection of different artists rederings of prints commemorating Holland's opening day and performances by local bands. Psychedelic rockers Groove Box Replica were mind-blowing with the lead singer writhing around onstage, oozing sexuality in a Jim Morisson like way, with a voice like Robert Plant- he's still in high school by the way. I would have thought them a tough act to follow, but the opera singer that did had the crowd thoroughly mesmerized, most had probably never seen a live performance like that, let alone sandwiched between down and dirty rock and roll, folk band Buster Blue and Who Cares, the socially conscious hip hop that closed the night. Skater kids and punk rockers packed the place till the end, bobbing their heads side by side with huge grins on their faces.
They spilled out into the night afterward looking elated- and looking forward to the next time. Congratulations to Brit and the Holland crew for making it all happen and giving such an enormous, important contribution to Reno's music and arts community.