by Joanne Smiddie-Brush
Now in our 15th season, the Indy Folk Series has become an institution – a vibrant, organic reflection of our audience’s tastes and commitment to high quality acoustic music. Concerts are held in the performance space at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, our home since the series was founded in 2001.
What moves you? At the Indy Folk Series, it’s vibrating vocal cords, strings and soundboards. Tapping feet, clapping hands and snapping fingers punctuate the pulse.
The vibe is the stories that artists tell. It’s the insights, moments and connections we make in community. The vibe is timeless and ethereal. Beyond the music, it’s smiling over a glass of wine and a snack. We listen together, in the moment, and take a bit of inspiration home with us. Artists treasure the vibe here. They feel inspired to give us their best, and they’re eager to return.
The Indy Folk Series is a listening room. Performers can take chances and deliver what they feel and hear, and the audience responds. Every whispered vocal, each shimmering open-string chord, even the squeak of finger on string becomes part of the moment. This is live music: organic, ephemeral, shared.
Art is in the air, but it’s on the walls, too: paintings and photography and sculpture and fiber art. Much of it is created by members of the church whose space we share. UUI is an open, honest group of exploring souls and this octagonal, windowed space reflects it.
Americana is our DNA. “Folk” is our middle name. Our philosophy at the Indy Folk Series is to present a wide array of acoustic music – from Americana, Roots and Bluegrass, to Singer-Songwriters, Celtic, Swing, and Jazz – and everything in between.
The Indy Folk Series is organized and operated completely by volunteers. We are a fun, enthusiastic group of music lovers, who are friends “off-stage” as well as “on.” Seven people comprise our leadership team, and we meet several times throughout the year, (often over drinks or dinner) to plan and promote the season; an additional 10-12 folks help out on the day of the concerts.
For the past several years, Indy Folk Series volunteers have welcomed the opportunity to participate in FARM gatherings. FARM has been an invaluable experience for us, giving us the chance to meet people from other venues and exchange tips and tricks – and of course attend the showcases! We’ve booked many performers, including Red Tail Ring, The True Falsettos, Heather Styka, The Accidentals, Billy Strings & Don Julin, The Hounds of Finn, The Underhills, Scott Cook, and Heather Pierson after having seem them perform over the past few years at FARM. We can’t wait to go back to FARM this October!
We normally present one concert a month, on Saturday evenings, during our season which runs from September through May. We book 12-18 months ahead, and provide a professional audio engineer, sound board, and all sound equipment. We can seat up to 200, and audience size ranges from 75 – 200. Tickets are $15-$25 with a discount for students and age 65 and up.
We strive to present a mix of genres and styles each season, introduce our audience to new talent, AND bring back at least one returning favorite. Given the very limited number of concerts we present each year, one of our toughest challenges is selecting just a handful of acts from among all the incredibly talented performers whom we would truly love to invite to play our stage!
The Indianapolis music scene is vibrant, diverse, and growing – and we’ve been actively promoting collaboration and cross-booking among house concerts and other nearby venues. Some of our volunteers also host a house concert series, and they have recently begun a new partnership with another nearby music venue. In addition, if anyone in our audience or circle of friends expresses even a glimmer of interest in hosting a house concert, we happily offer encouragement and assistance.
We look forward to many more years of presenting a wide array of acoustic music, and we hope to see YOU at an upcoming show!
Indy Folk Series
615 W. 43rd St.
Indianapolis IN 46208