Top of the Roc hosts last Free Music Friday

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor

The grand finale of Cavetone Record’s Free Music Friday concert kicks off at 8 p.m. at Top of the Roc featuring bands and super-bands from all over the nation.

Top of the Roc, located on 410 6th street, is presenting the Ex-Bombers, Condor & Jaybird, the Good Dinosaurs, Cat Danger etc. the Useless Na Na Nas, Ryan Noir and Bowling Alone, all ranging in different genres and styles share the stage performing segments from 10 to 30 minutes.

Scott Walus, owner of Cavetone Records, said he scrapped three months of performers and condensed them to make one epic night, which took a lot of phone calls and negotiating.

“Cat Danger etc. is five bands in one each band performing one sequence that night and people started bands just to perform at the free music Friday,” Walus said.

The concert serves as a place to let local, upcoming and original bands get a chance to perform for an audience and gain practice.

“How else are you going to see five bands all over the country for free,” Wilcox said. “I’m worried nothing will be able to take its place.”

Former intern for Cavetone Records, Connor Wilcox will perform a 10-minute act with an acoustic guitar and drum machine for the first time sheerly because he always desired to.

“I have the opening spot and that kind of shows the commitment to the community that Scott Walus has fostered,” Wilcox said.

Mike Knoop, owner of Top of the Roc, made the decision to end the Free Music Friday series due to financial complications with four music unions.

“I’m fighting them because I don’t want to pay the price they are asking,” Knoop said. “It is impossible to have the event without loosing money.

In the beginning, there was only one music union however the unions and fees has increased over the years along with a decrease in attendance caused the ending of the free concerts.

“It takes a higher population than what we have to make it work. If the expenses weren’t there and we had more people it would still be going on,” Knoop said.

This event served the community as not just a place for entertainment but yielded a Charleston sub-culture.

“There is going to be nothing anything like it,” Walus said, “It’s an entire music community pouncing under one roof, friendships were made and it was a big deal focused on original music.”

Wilcox got involved with Free Music Fridays initially for class credit but as he spent more time with the event he began to develop a love for it.

“It is more thAan just people being in a bar listening to music and was my first real exposure to Charleston community outside of Eastern,” Wilcox said.

Although this will be the end of Free Music Fridays, the friendship, communal support, and a love for live music will continue to live on.

“Once you’ve been a part of Cavetone Records it doesn’t leave you!” Wilcox said.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]