Q&A: Ratscape organizer Josh Schleupner talks reviving a festival, a need for new use spaces and more
July 14, 2018 - storage organizer
When we met Josh Schleupner for coffee progressing this week, a song festival he’s assisting to organize, Ratscape, was “starting to morph,” he told me. Last-minute confirmations from bands were still rolling in, and he was watchful for some vendors to pointer on.
But putting all together seems value it to revitalise Ratscape after a three-year hiatus. With other scape-suffixed eccentric song fests like Whartscape and Scapescape prolonged left and DIY spaces forced behind subterraneous after a Bell Foundry was close down by a city in 2016, bringing behind a community-minded Ratscape feels necessary–particularly in this domestic climate. And this year’s lineup, braggadocio rapper JPEGMAFIA, initial twin Wume, minimalist post-punk musician Sneaks and hardcore organisation Joe Biden as headliners, is built with a far-reaching operation of talent from a city’s hip-hop, indie, punk and sound scenes.
Schleupner, Mike Franklin and Caroline Devereaux are also operative to get Baltimore Music Preservation, LLC, off a ground, with a ultimate idea of opening a multi-use space for practicing, recording and personification music. And while Ratscape will assistance lift approval for this cause, all a income lifted by sell and ethanol sales and donations will go toward profitable a bands.
Running from Jul 20-22 in a Ynot Lot and a Windup Space, Ratscape will be simply permitted from Artscape while also portion as something of a rawer remedy to it. we talked with Schleupner about since Ratscape is entrance back, a need for new use spaces, a festival’s loser standing and more.
Baltimore Fishbowl: Let’s start with a obvious. Why pierce it back?
Josh Schleupner: Well, it’s holding too prolonged to find a possess place. It’s holding so long. In light of a a stream domestic meridian too, we were usually kinda like, this eventuality was doing, we think, some good for internal morale. It was bringing people together. And we usually couldn’t wait any longer to pierce it back. We were anticipating to have to usually wait one year. One year incited into dual years, and it started to feel like something was blank during a certain point.
BFB: Can we contend what a delays were?
JS: Well, we wanted to have a place where we could do things a way. The Hour Haus had a good vibe to it. Doing it there is kind of some-more laissez-faire, people could do whatever they wanted inside, within reason obviously. It was unequivocally loose that way.
The Ottobar’s–I theory we can’t unequivocally speak shit on a Ottobar, they helped us out when Hour Haus sealed in 2015. But it totally was not a right vibe for what we’re doing. It’s a lot colder in there. People have preconceived notions of what a bar is like before they go there. People already have these certain expectations of a bar before they go there. And we were perplexing to equivocate that.
So this year we figured a Ynot Lot would be a good place to do it after we found out that it’s A) giveaway to use, B) easy to entrance and C) unequivocally most about desegregation and formation in a community. So we figured that would be a ideal place to horde us.
BFB: Talk a small bit about this organisation that we have perplexing to start a space. Preservation is in a name, right? So what are we perplexing to preserve?
JS: So many use spaces have been going down, one after another, all over a city–for several reasons, mostly associated to safety, health and zoning. we consider underneath it all it’s unequivocally genuine estate pressures.
But we wanted to start something that was some-more clean, something that was finished in a approach that no one could take it from us. We weren’t renting it from somebody else in another city personification Monopoly with properties. So we figured maybe if we could possess a building ourselves, afterwards we would have a ability to keep it open for as prolonged as we wanted to.
And a design is to have a space that has both monthly and hourly use spaces set up, ignored rates for kids and a place for younger people to come to classify whatever events they wanna have–as a good approach to get people usually removing started on their feet.
BFB: Do we feel like there’s a miss of that kind of venue right now? You talked about use spaces, though what about venues?
JS: As distant as venues go, there’s copiousness of good venues around town. we consider carrying a place to go see a uncover isn’t unequivocally a problem. However, carrying a good place to go see an all-ages uncover is a small harder.
But we know Windup Space is hosting all a after shows for Ratscape, they’ve always been good about all of that. They’ve always been unequivocally supportive. And they were a initial ones there, right? On North Avenue?
BFB: One of a first, certainly.
JS: Yeah, we don’t consider there’s a necessity of places to see things, though there’s a necessity of content, we think, since of a fact that there are so many bands that are displaced. We know during slightest everybody that was in Hour Haus possibly had to pierce into arrange of a some-more close space or they usually put all of their things in storage. And a same thing with a Fox Building, Studio 14–those are some of a categorical spots around town. So we wish to have a place that’s right in a heart of things that can’t be destroyed, can’t usually be taken out from underneath you.
BFB: One, will a deduction from this go toward that goal? And two, what places are we looking at, what neighborhoods?
JS: The deduction from this are going to be separate adult among a bands. We wish to make certain that each rope gets paid.
We need people to donate. We’re still watchful on some confirmations from pop-up food vendors. If people wish to hit us about tabling or contributing in any way, they can do that.
But yeah, anything we make off this is going to go towards profitable a bands. Right now it’s some-more about creation certain that all of these people that unequivocally wish to be a partial of this are thanked.
BFB: Do we consider given a factors we were articulate about before, is it harder to keep a rope going or get one started?
JS: Yeah, we mean, if we don’t have a place to play, that’s all. And use spaces get crowded. Some people can’t even keep their rigging in there. we have a space that people do keep their rigging in, and we have like 8 bands in there. They’re all fighting over time, and it’s too most for a lot of people.
Also hourly is good, too, for people that can’t means to have their possess rigging or for people that maybe wish to usually use some hours during a time or for people who don’t even know how to play an instrument nonetheless or have one.
BFB: For people who competence not be informed with a bands that are on a bill, how would we report this cross-section of Baltimore song a lineup offers?
JS: It’s unequivocally arrange of all a artists that are operative a hardest in a city that I’ve seen, that tend to go possibly unsung or have achieved some nice, plain subterraneous status. And some people usually wish to be involved, and we check out their song and we like it and they’re good [laughs]. Some people are usually good, and they hit us and we can’t contend no to that. I’m perplexing to keep a a hearts and ears a small some-more open this year.
Our headliners are substantially bigger than ever this year. We have JPEGMAFIA, Sneaks, Wume and Joe Biden. And Butch Dawson. They’re all holding off in their possess ways. we mean, it’s flattering uniformly divided, as we competence say, it’s maybe even a small some-more hip-hop than stone ‘n’ hurl this year. You’re kind of removing like a lot of a some-more subversive, maybe abrasive, some-more severe music. Things that are arrange of opposite a pellet or paint a some-more singular character here. It’s weird, though it’s good and it’s us.
BFB: When we initial started this, we feel like there were maybe some-more of these festivals, like Scapescape, Whartscape had finished a few years before that. And now there’s kind of default of them. Did that minister to bringing Ratscape back?
JS: To be honest, it was kind off a periphery. We weren’t meditative about it. The other festivals were fine.
I consider that there is kind of a disastrous opinion on festival culture. People get kind of sleepy of saying so many all a time. But we consider that ours is some-more community-related. What we’re going for is something that’s a small some-more grassroots and accessible. We’ve always left for accessibility, some-more inclusivity, and so we wish to have something that people can afford, something that people don’t have to try that tough to find, something that people don’t have to take a weekend off of work for. Something that can be common by everyone, really.
BFB: we trust when we talked with we forward of a initial one, we pronounced a mantra was kind of “we’re a rats.”
JS: Yeah, like unsung heroes or a people that are operative unequivocally tough and maybe aren’t removing that kind of inhabitant recognition, since a city tends to see a unequivocally transparent eminence between determined artists and existent artists. Those were some phrases that were upheld around during a Mayor’s Safe Arts Space Task Force meetings, that we attended since we wanted to make certain that if we had a space, it would be safe. But those were some terms that were kind of pushed around. For instance, Dan Deacon or Ed Schrader would be deliberate determined artists. Whereas someone like Butch Dawson would be deliberate an existent artist.
I don’t unequivocally consider that those things are jointly exclusive. we consider being an artist, we exist, and once you’ve determined a reputation, afterwards you’re established. Now, maybe in a eyes of business and money, those things competence be different. But this is about putting some eyes on people that competence not differently get them. we consider that bringing communities together and assisting people support one another can make that occur faster.
This talk has been edited and condensed.
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