An all ages weekly concert series in Laramie started as a training ground for students. Now, Studio WYO brings a steady flow of local and regional bands to the University of Wyoming on Thursday nights… and has become a hub for music lovers.
Tonight's act is Hectic Hobo, a gypsy rock band from Salt Lake City. Sort of like an updated version of old west saloon music. UW Student Miles Griffith booked the band.
"Well our bread and butter is definitely the folk music, and its sub genres like bluegrass or Americana, punk music, or hard core music, we've done a few jazz shows before. Basically just being as diverse as possible."
Studio WYO was created by UW’s Associated Student Technological Services, or more commonly known as ASTEC. The free weekly concert series trains students who are interested in working in the music industry. Project Coordinator Andrew Hayes heads up ASTEC.
"We casually just talked around the shop and amongst our peers about how to get live music on campus. And after batting around dozens of ideas, we started to come to this concept of developing a lab environment… and that lab environment became Studio WYO."
So Hayes gets what he wants—more live music in town… and the students get real world training staging concerts.
From mic check to lights to operating the soundboard, Hayes says student employees are the ones in charge.
"I've been able to have a much more hands off approach and leave in the hands of students because they are ultimately doing all the foot work, why should they not be able to handle the actual show in and of itself?"
Studio WYO has a dive bar vibe, with dim lighting and the constant hum of chatter and pool. Brews are available at the bar, which helps draw a good Wyoming crowd. And under-21's have their own seating with a perfect view of the stage.
A typical show includes students who are studying, friends getting together for a drink, while others are there to let loose and dance.
Student Miles Griffith says the music creates community.
"What I hope people are getting out of it is just a sense of community, a sense of belonging, where they can go and feel accepted and they can enjoy various forms of art." Another student employee, Markus Holley, says Studio WYO draws a loyal crowd.
"They’ll go to a show even though they don’t know the bands just because they want to be supportive. That’s been one of the cool things is just seeing the Laramie music scene start to expand and take in more genres."
Laramie resident Birgit Burke is a regular.
"It's a really quiet venue and a good place to listen to music. And sometimes you come down here and it's full of all kinds of people and it's a great time to listen to good music and hang out with your friends and talk."
UW's ASTEC team hopes that Studio WYO continues to grow, always keeping the focus on students, local music and the community.