Friends of Noise: Creating Sustainable All-Ages Music Venues in Portland | Reverb Gives

Friends of Noise

Reverb Gives provides students, teachers, and leaders of music programs with the instruments that they need, directly from the Reverb marketplace. Since its launch, Reverb Gives has had the opportunity to help support a variety of remarkable organizations committed to making the world a more musical place.

With so many unique missions, all revolving around music and music education, we wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight some of these organizations, detailing their cause and highlighting the great work that they’re doing with music.

One organization Reverb Gives has worked with is called Friends of Noise—an organization based in Portland, Oregon that grew out of the city's need for a sustainable, all-ages music venue. Continue reading to learn more about Friends of Noise and to figure out how you can get involved.

What is Friends of Noise? Can you give some insight into how the organization got started?

Friends of Noise started as a work group between an assortment of representatives from the arts, education, and music industry that came together to address the lack of sustainable all-ages venues in the Portland metro region. After months of needs-assessment and asset-mapping, we decided that the best course of action would be to form a 501-c3 and become a youth arts organization.

We started by hosting pop-up all-ages concerts across the city. All of our concerts are multi-generational, featuring both adult and youth artists. With a grant from the Recording Academy, we were able to buy our own PA system, which enabled us to start hosting regular monthly concerts. This also allowed us to start teaching a cohort of our youth participants the basics of live sound engineering using our own equipment.

Can you talk a bit about those who work for and with Friends of Noise—teachers, volunteers, concert-organizers and -goers? What are some of their backgrounds and how did they get involved?

We've partnered with Portland Farmers Markets and The Oregon Public House, as well as radio. Portland Art Museum and the Artists Repertory Theater that have also hired us to book youth performers. We often partner with local musicians and industry professionals willing to share their knowledge with our youth, and we're constantly on the look out for new volunteers and youth to join our ranks.

Most of our youth participants find us from attending our shows. While many are musicians themselves, our programming is primarily focused on music event production.

Can you talk about some of the kinds of programs, concerts, and events that Friends of Noise organizes and supports?

In 2018, Friends of Noise put on over 20 all-ages concerts wherein our youth not only had a direct hand in booking and producing the show, but also in setting up and running sound. With the generous donation from Reverb Gives, we were able to buy additional sound equipment to make our shows sound and look great. We now have enough gear to produce three separate events at the same time.

This year, in 2019, we plan on increasing that number of concerts and events to over 36. We also plan on holding three week-long Free Teen Music Biz Professional Development camps. We also hope to provide live event sound services to a handful of clients putting on galas, fundraisers, and outdoor festivals.

What kinds of upcoming events does Friends for Noise have planned? How can people get involved with the organization?

Friends of Noise hosts two regular concerts a month. This year, we'll also be hosting a spring break camp for youth from March 25 to March 29. For more information on that and anything else related to Friends of Noise, you can check out our website here.

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