Area music fans filled Bernard’s Country Inn in Stevens Point on Saturday for The Hometown Get-Down, a sold-out concert that featured local bands and entertainment.
The event included local bluegrass group Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, who coincided the concert with the release of their new album “This Old Town.”
Also featured were Madison bands including funk act The Mustache and reggae veterans Natty Nation. The festivities were kicked off by local indie-folk rockers The Hi-Matics who featured a revamped lineup as well as new material.
Tickets were sold out before doors opened, with many concertgoers buying theirs online. The event hosted over 450 attendees.
The large ballroom had been rarely utilized as a concert hall in the last few years, and has mostly been a host to weddings or holiday brunch events.
The large, open atmosphere left many concertgoers satisfied in terms of space and sound quality.
“I thought the sound was really good, a lot better than some of the other shows I’ve seen around here,” said Mike Braunsteuter, a UWSP Student and local music fan.
“And while it seemed like they might have been able to sell a few more tickets, it was nice to have it a little less crowded so everyone had room to move around and dance,” said Braunsteuter.
Adam Greuel, lead singer of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is also a student and led the production staff in setting up and promoting the concert, and considered it a success.
Greuel said that while the local music scene has faced some challenges lately, this event served as a way to bring everyone together, and he hopes that Bernard’s will act as a local venue more often, and even bring regional acts to the area.
“I think it’s pretty common knowledge that the Stevens Point music scene is growing in terms of talent and bands. There seem to be new, good acts flying up every week. But with that, unfortunately there has been a decline with Clark Place and a few other venues closing in the last few years. This concert was part of a push to get the music scene more active again, and to bring everyone together,” said Greuel.
Greuel said that the best part was seeing friends have a good time together and facilitating a place for new friends to be made.
“One cool thing about music is that it tears down walls, and disassembles the cliques that people get into. You start bumping into people that you only see once in a while, and afterwards, people open up and become friends with,” said Greuel.
Graham Prellwitz, lead singer of The Hi-Matics said that this was a great way to continue the push they’ve made to get their name out and get recognition in Stevens Point.
“We are lucky to have a lot of good friends who came to support us, and we had a lot of older, community types talk to us after the show who told us they liked our throwback sound,” said Prellwitz.
Prellwitz said that it was refreshing to get attendees to come for the music, and that the venue had a great old fashioned charm outside of the bar scene that most concerts have.
“Places like this, with a country, north woods traditional feel are really cool. And when we get kids and concertgoers here, it shows that not every concert has to be in a bar or nightclub,” said Prellwitz
The Madison bands were selected because of their ties to Stevens Point. Natty Nation has been playing in Stevens Point for over nearly twenty years, and has been a concert and festival staple in Wisconsin, and The Mustache featured numerous University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point alumni from the Department of Music.
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades’ new album “This Old Town” is available to listen and purchase at their new website, hhgmusic.com.