The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Welcome to the Starkville music scene: everything from big-name bands to local performers

Starkville’s music scene had a few legendary moments come and go in the past few years. 

One night The Weeks and Colour Revolt played in the house show paradise dubbed the Garden Center on Miss Highway 182, and the police busted the concert due to lack of permit. 

That same night, the show was moved to the second floor of the now-defunct State Theater on Main Street, where rumor is the floor threatened to buckle.

Clayton Waller, senior marketing major at Mississippi State University, one of the founding members of local rock band Wolf Cove and the founding member of alternative group Rock Eupora, said the night Colour Revolt’s show shifted venues sticks out to him as a Starkville music legend — and not just because the floor nearly caved in.

“It’s like a whole crowd of people made the trek from the Garden Center to State Theatre and were helping Colour Revolt haul their equipment up the stairs. [It was] so epic,” he said. 

As Waller notes, Starkville’s music scene is not a one-way street — instead, the scene exists as a community of musicians and concertgoers without much dividing the two. Space Capone’s members may ask for an impromptu tambourine player from the crowd at Dave’s, and Colour Revolt’s members may need listeners to help them pull gear up a flight of stairs. 

In a smaller town like Starkville with only a handful of local bands, the music scene remains largely unpretentious and joyous. For example, Waller said at times, the members of Wolf Cove would sometimes perform as their own opener under a different moniker.

“We also played for some fraternity, sorority and organization events and would play a bunch of cover songs. We’d call ourselves Top Tier,” he said. “After the covers we would walk off stage and walk back on wearing the exact same thing and magically reintroduce ourselves as Wolf Cove.”

Waller said part of the fun of playing in local bands and joining Starkville’s music scene was helping to enact change and watch the following reactions.

“I loved playing in Starkville because people aren’t used to the kind of music I would play,” he said. “I remember when Wolf Cove first started playing, I could tell people were like, ‘I don’t know about this.’ It was cool forcing people out of their music comfort zones.”

Though bands like Wolf Cove and the Jarnigan Gypsies have cropped up and dissipated recently as students come and go, the big nights of Starkville’s music scene are far from over. Starkville’s music scene’s consistency ties to the efforts of Music Maker Productions, a student-run organization that works to bring quality musicians and concerts to MSU. 

Thomas Fitzner, 2014-2015 MMP student director and recent graduate,  said the members of MMP gauge students’ interest to begin to discover acts to bring to campus.

“MMP is very thorough with their selection process,” he said. “Throughout the current and previous years we research not only which artists are on the rise nationwide, but more specifically those who are gaining attention here at Mississippi State.”

Though MSU students have diverse music tastes, Fitzner said the members of MMP work to incorporate a wide range of genres into concerts each year. 

“Just last year we hit every genre from Pop to Christian to Rap,” he said. 

Waller, a member of MMP in his time at MSU, said the organization works to bring in nationally-recognized acts — such as 2 Chainz, Cage the Elephant, The Neighbourhood, Pretty Lights and FUN., just to name a few from the past few years — at lower ticket prices for students. 

Fitzner said MMP concerts happen in multiple venues, including one unexpected equestrian space unlike any other in Starkville — one that typically accommodates more hooves than feet.

“A lot of our general admission shows are in the Mississippi Horse Park,” he said. “The Horse Park is an amazing venue with 85-foot ceilings, grandstands and open floor-space which make for an incredibly spacious concert experience.”

Sarah Margaret Hewes, recent graduate and 2013-2014 student director of MMP, said the importance of Starkville’s music scene lies in the community it fosters between the city and the university, between students and Starkvillians and between concert attendees themselves—even ones who are complete strangers.

“Live music has the power to bring people together, and that is the most important part of having a community,” she said. “If you are at a show with 5,000 other people, you might not know a soul there, but for a few hours, you have something in common with 5,000 strangers. I mean, I can’t think of many things that are more powerful than that.”

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Welcome to the Starkville music scene: everything from big-name bands to local performers