The air was crisp and the wait was long. Folk band Rivers, along with Minneapolis-based solo artist Siri Undlin, played at the St. Olaf Art Barn on Friday, Sept. 26. Since its opening in the Fall of 2013, the Art Barn has hosted a range of events from a Norwegian Folk School Interim course, to yoga classes, to the DNNR PRTY Album Release Party. A year of these events at the exciting new venue has led students to recognize the potential and value of having a more intimate, consolidated space for shows. However, at the Rivers concert, space was a bit too limited.
The security was strict about not exceeding the capacity of the Art Barn. The anxious crowd, eager to join the small group already gathered inside, stood on tip-toes to peer through the small rectangular windows in attempts of catching a glimpse of the musicians. However, because this wasn’t the most ideal view, patience faded quickly for some Oles.
“My friends and I waited to get in for about five minutes but then decided to go to the Astrophotography event at Stogrow instead,” Megan Ecker ’15 said. “I think the Art Barn is a cool venue, but it was slightly frustrating that there was a capacity limit.”
The atmosphere seemed relaxed inside the Barn while calming folk music filled the air, but tensions ran high outside where MEC staff passed out cups of cider to frustrated students clumped around the door, peering over each other in hopes of being the next person let inside. The cider, though a cozy autumn touch, was not enough to convince the crowd to wait.
“We couldn’t see that cider was coming anytime soon, and we didn’t want to wait outside for very long, so we stayed a total of maybe four minutes,” Rory Anderson ’15 said.
Some students were lucky enough to get in at the beginning of the show, while others got in one by one only as other members of the crowd left the building.
“I understood that the band wanted to create a calm, low-key atmosphere inside, but it was really annoying to wait outside for so long. Once I got in though, it was a pretty neat time,” Chris Hager ’16 said.
It seems that a band would want a large crowd to interact with, yet the audience was kept at bay just outside the door. The free show succeeded in drawing in the masses, but the restricted entry cost the band potential Olaf fans.
“It was a pretty standard Art Barn concert, but I think they lost a lot of the crowd by being so exclusive initially,” Eileen McNulty ’16 said.
Eventually, security allowed everyone inside at once to enjoy the music. Though some students left before this happened, those who waited had positive reviews of the show and space.
“I had to wait for about 15 minutes after arriving 20 minutes late, but it was worth it,” Elizabeth Branscum ’18 said. “The music was awesome and the atmosphere of the Art Barn made the whole experience even more fun. Eventually they let everyone still waiting in at once, which was a little frustrating since I had been waiting due to an occupancy limit that was apparently not that important. But overall I really enjoyed the concert, and I would love for there to be more events like it.”
While the show ended up being an unexpected test of patience, it seems that the music was worth the wait and left students with excitement at the prospect of future Art Barn shows. Students hope that a larger crowd can gather together at the next Art Barn event to support the musicians coming to campus and better utilize this unique space.
Photo Credit: MADISON VANG/MANITOU MESSENGER