Shenani-Bands: Shenanigans introduces new era for concerts

By Lilly Moore
Staff Writer

Fiona Charnow (C’20) is excited to let the student body know that they can, in fact, buy tickets to Shenanigans concerts with pub bucks. As a student promoter for the newly refurbished concert venue in Shenanigans, Charnow helped usher in a new opportunity for Sewanee students and community members alike. 

Last spring, Shenanigans opened the upstairs part of the restaurant as a new entertainment venue. It began as a place to hold private parties and events, sometimes featuring a musical guest, along with a full bar and Shenanigans’ food. Since then, it’s grown into a space for bands coming from Nashville and Chattanooga to perform.

With Sewanee being located between the two cities, Shenanigans is a great opportunity for touring groups to play a gig before moving on to a big city, and it’s a great opportunity for the community to bring in cool, new up-and-coming groups, like Desert Noises, who played a show this past week. 

As a music lover, Charnow’s main goal is to provide the community with an abundance of new sounds to experience. “I want to get really good bands,” said Charnow, “and I think Sewanee has such a unique culture. I want to expose bands to this culture and expose the students to music.”

One of the most exciting aspects of this project is how establishing a music venue will affect “nightlife,” as we understand it here in Sewanee. Greek organizations are responsible for a majority of the social entertainment on campus, but with introducing a new location for providing entertainment, there’s an alternative. 

It’s also a way for student bands to play gigs outside of the Phi barn or an ATO concert. Bands like The Bloody Mary Situation or Dirty Mike and the Boys have already played as openers for touring groups and will continue to be featured. 

When student bands have the opportunity to mix with bands from Nashville and Chattanooga, it also widens the reach of the group.  “I had, at Desert Noises last week, friends of the band’s manager from Nashville come down to Shenanigans watching the Bloody Mary Situation open,” said Charnow. “One of the guys came over to me afterward and asked to talk to their frontman. So that right there is a great opportunity.”

One of the drawbacks, however, of having an established venue is that bands cost money to host and thus tickets do come at a price, usually ranging around $10-15 depending on if you buy them pre-sale. “I do my best to try and put in student discounts,” said Charnow, “and I completely get it being a student myself, but the problem is, it can’t be free. The bands have to get paid somehow. Restaurants don’t make that much money on their own, [and] we wouldn’t be getting any bands if tickets were free.” It will be reiterated, though, you can buy tickets to Shenanigans concerts with pub bucks. So, next time you’re in line at Stirlings, consider switching your vegan chicken salad sandwich for a ticket to a concert or two.

Charnow hopes to see concerts happening weekly, and she’s close. If she had her way, there’d be an opportunity to see a new group every night of the week, spanning a variety of styles and genres. “I just hope to get some cool music around, I also want to know people’s suggestions, what different genres we can pull from. So far we’ve kind of stuck to a rock [and]indie route, but we’ve had a great DJ before, and I want to expand,” she noted.

On Wednesday, February 12, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show will be playing a free show, accompanied by Sewanee students. The following day, February 13, in partnership with The Caverns in Pelham, Shenanigans will be hosting the after-show of their Umphrey’s McGee concert. The Shenanigans show will feature Dirty Mike and the Boys as the opener and The Special as the featured act. Doors open at nine. 

As Fiona Charnow so iconically put it, “Come see cool bands. The end.”