Kirsten O'Brien/The AS Review

With dreams of filling gaps in Bellingham’s all-ages music scene and reconnecting the community to its musicians, Western juniors Jasmine Utu and Carlton Eide have formed a club to put on live shows and do a little good at the same time.

“Our goal is create awareness about what’s going on at Western and in the Bellingham community,” Utu said. “There isn’t a lot of integration between campus clubs, and we hope that Music for Change can bring some of the clubs with similar causes together and create a more cohesive campus.”

The club’s first concert, called Localpalooza, was held Jan. 20 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. About 500 Western students and community members attended the event, which featured three Bellingham-based bands. Eide said that the strong attendance shows the need for more free, all-ages music events on campus.

The Bellingham band Eclecticity on stage at Localpalooza in the VU MPR Thursday, Jan. 20. (From left) Frank Vitolo, Matt Pollock, Samuel Eisen-Meyers and Christian Casolary. Photo by Joe Rudko/The AS Review

“We’re so excited that so many people came,” Eide said. “This just shows that there is a huge demand for more events like this.”

Jeff Wescott, a volunteer for Sustainable Bellingham, was representing one of the two nonprofits that attended Localpalooza. Sustainable Bellingham is a volunteer organization that focuses on community building and practicing an environmentally friendly way of life. He said that Sustainable Bellingham’s mission fit well with the kind of community awareness the Music for Change club is trying to achieve.

“I think this is a great idea, and I think it’s important to support and be involved in things like this,” he said. “I like to support local musicians, and things happening on Western’s campus too.”

The Music for Change Jan. 20 concert drew around 500 people. Photo by Joe Rudko/The AS Review.

The musicians also strongly support Music for Change’s mission. Bellingham-based Eclecticity performed at the show, and band member. Kwabi Amoah said that music is a way to reach out and send messages to many people.

Eclecticity's Frank Vitolo at Localpalooza. Photo submission by Brooke Warren.

“For us as a band, we feel that music is not just something to bump your head too,” Amoah said. “It should send a message. We’re doing more than just playing instruments, we’re trying to inspire people.”

Eide, the club’s budget authority, said that the idea for the club was inspired by the Whatcom All-ages Arts & Music venue on East Maple Street in downtown Bellingham. He said that whenever there was a show at venue, there were always various nonprofits present to explain their cause and help people get involved. Unfortunately, WhAAM no longer hosts regular shows, which leaves a gap in Bellingham’s all-ages music scene.

Utu, the club’s president, said that the club wants to plan a variety of all-ages shows throughout the year, and also partner with a variety of Bellingham nonprofits and other Western clubs. Their next meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. in Bond Hall 105.

“Concerts for people who are under 21 are basically nonexistent,” Utu said. “I think it’s weird to put an age restriction on music, and so we want to provide a way for anyone in the community, no matter what age, to be able to come and hear good music.”