I find the places I cover in a number of ways. One is by looking at the event calendar on Knoxville.com. This is generally because I want the venue to at least be ATTEMPTING to promote themselves before I come along putting them in the newspaper. Believe it or not, I have walked into bars that have no interest in having their place covered by the newspaper. I don’t know the reason and don’t bother to ask. If you don’t want to have more people find out about your place, then you probably have some shady things going on or have no business sense.
Perusing Facebook, one of my friends mentioned they were attending an event at a place I didn’t know about. It was called Groundswell Collective. Not long after that when doing my normal stop on the calendar, I saw the same event I had seen on Facebook. I checked the details and headed back to my Facebook page to try to find the venue. It immediately sparked my curiosity because it was on Magnolia. So I was anxious to write about something on that side of town. I also want to dispel the myth that ALL of Magnolia should be avoided at night. I will be honest and say, SOME of Magnolia should be avoided at night, but then again, SOME of any city’s neighborhoods should be avoided at night.
I arrived at Groundswell and pulled up to the front recognizing the striped awning in the front of the building. I was the lone car parked in what appeared to be legal parking on the street. Still, any time I approach a city I make extra sure I am not going to come back to my car to find it ticketed or worse yet towed. Nope, no signs that indicated this was the case, so I threw my camera bag over my shoulder and walked up the stairs to the front door. On the final step, I peered up and quickly asserted that this was not the entrance for the place. Research had already told me the place had once been a hair salon along with a string of other businesses. I walked to the left of the garden that consumed the side lot and to the back door where I found the entrance.
I immediately met Emily and William. They took a moment to sit down with me before the crowd began to pour in, and the two discussed just what Groundswell was. They told me they had gotten started with a New Year’s Eve party in 2011. After that they began having shows March of last year. Since then they have had occasional shows, but what has consistently occurred is their Monday meeting. William told me that Groundswell’s contributors come out on Mondays to propose workshops, meetings and other things related to the facility and the collective.
I toured the building, which was a cross between a small office space and someone’s house. When you first walk in, a slender kitchen is to the left. Emily told me the organization Food Not Bombs operated out of the kitchen. Just to the right across from the kitchen were two rest rooms. At the end of a long hallway, the room shift to the left, forming an L. In that tiny corner is where the performers set up. To the left of the main former hairshop room are two smaller rooms that act as a lounge, a computer lab and a library. The library is complete with a check-out register, which consisted of a notebook where you could write down your name and the title of the book you checked out and date.
I had left and come back because the band was not yet started. By the time I returned the second band was on — the Objectum Sexuals. Everyone had an English accent in the band, they did say their were from London I believe, but for some reason I kinda felt they were from Newport or something. (Author’s note: I know they are not from Newport. They were fun and almost the perfect volume for the space.)
I then met Maggie Brannon and Charice Starr of the local band Daddy Don’t that was just about to take the stage. They were bounding with energy and hopping around with preshow excitement that was completely contagious. I was having a good time, and I was having fun!
Groundswell Collective is not out to make a bunch of money. They are out to continue to exist and create. If you are creative and interested in meeting other like-minded folks or would like to host a creative workshop at Groundswell, contact them through the website or just head down on a Thursday or Friday when they have live music on the schedule, and enjoy an intimate show in one of the more unique creative spaces in Knoxville.
1512 Magonlia Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37915
Hours: Wed: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Smoking Indoors: No
Alcohol Served: No
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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