Playtime: hope all is well | Live Culture

Playtime: hope all is well

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COURTESY OF HOPE ALL IS WELL
  • Courtesy of hope all is well

Hey, friends! Welcome back to my virtual treehouse/music support group! This week, I'm introducing hope all is well. Founded by Carson Ehlert and Mason Dixon, the Burlington-centric collective describes itself as a "boutique promoter occupying the grey space between D.I.Y. and professional." For now, this means using past experiences in both underground and industry music booking and promotion to ensure local and touring bands have excellent Queen City experiences and broaden their reach.

Ehlert and Dixon have a longstanding friendship with the Burlington music community. Ehlert, who currently lives in Portland, Oregon, worked with BTV venue/recording studio Signal Kitchen in promotion and booking. Dixon is a member of local shoegaze favorites Sleeping In and was an organizer with Burlington's now defunct D.I.Y. booking crew Almost There.

During that time, Ehlert would refer inquiring bands that SK couldn't book to Dixon. If they were a proper fit, Dixon would organize a show through AT. This A-plus teamwork led to some massive underground gigs in partnership with SK — most notably a show with Queens, New York punk trio Show Me the Body.

Eventually, AT fizzled out and Ehlert moved west with nothing but a backpack and a desire to branch out. Despite the move, he has kept roots in Vermont, still occasionally working for SK remotely and keeping in touch with Dixon about ideas for the Burlington community. Thus, from opposite sides of the country, hope all is well was formed as a platform for curation and with hope of coalescing a somewhat scattered network of D.I.Y. artists with the potential for larger success.

Carson Ehlert - ROBERT MAYNARD
  • Robert Maynard
  • Carson Ehlert
Ehlert and Dixon have an extensive list of goals and a lovingly conceived ideology for h.a.i.w.

"We want to book artists that we love," Ehlert explained via email, adding that he and Dixon focus on bands who might not draw enough to book Burlington's bigger clubs. "We want to help these artists grow, with hopes that the next few times they come through town they can have potential to play with a larger presenter in front of a larger audience," he continued.

Ehlert further explained that h.a.i.w. aims to get creative with promotion. Some of these efforts include a series of photographic portraits and interviews with artists they book. Ehlert hopes that these materials can be used to strengthen artists' presence and solidify local experiences.

Mason Dixon - TAYLOR COOK
  • Taylor Cook
  • Mason Dixon
Also via email, Dixon described the process of curating shows — discovering bands, booking them in town, doing promotion and, best of all, enjoying the finished product — as a labor of love.

"Putting your heart into booking an event and really trying to make it memorable, I believe this is a common ideology with Carson and I," he wrote.

hope all is well hosts its first event at SideBar in Burlington on Saturday, July 8. The show features the femme inclusive rock and roll of Chicago's Ratboys and Burlington's Clever Girls. The event is free, but a $5-10 donation to the bands is encouraged. Visit them online at hopealliswell.net to stay in the network.

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