Bringing the party home

By Kylie Corral, buzz Editor

House venues are popular among the University students, and it’s not uncommon to see groups of friends dressing up on a weekend evening to see their favorite local bands. While it’s well known that students are attracted to house shows on and near campus, it’s often forgotten that some of these same venues are run by students as well.

Ryan Waldinger, senior in ACES, is one of those students. The house venue that Waldinger runs is Champaign-Urbana’s Waluigi’s Mansion. 

“So, actually, my older brother ran Waluigi’s, and started it in 2018 with his roommates at the same house. I actually didn’t go to U of I the first couple of years that I was in college,” Waldinger said. “Then, the year that I transferred here was the year my brother was actually moving out. He suggested to me that I move in and start and keep the shows going after he leaves.”

Waldinger added he was skeptical about continuing the venue at first since he didn’t want to copy his brother’s management style. However, he said he soon found fun in managing it. 

“I saw how much fun it was for him and how kind of gratifying it was, and I kind of wanted to do that too,” Waldinger said. “So I asked a few friends of mine if they wanted to join in, and yeah, that’s how my roommates got involved. We pretty much just kept it going”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Waldinger described the venue as a place where touring and local bands can bring a big stage presence to a small space. 

“(What) we typically have is bands, occasionally rappers and then sometimes, we do open mics where we kind of allow anything, (it) can be poetry, the spoken word, stuff like that,” Waldinger said.

He added that the only difference with house show venues and other venues is that it happens to be in the space they live in. 

“So, I would definitely say it’s challenging, and the most challenging thing for sure is probably the fact that it coincides with our living space,” Waldinger said. “We had to work out when that works well for us as roommates. But I would still say that it’s a lot of fun and we enjoyed it.”

He explained that most shows are put on one week out of the month. Waldinger and his roommates move all their furniture, schedule artists and complete their shared checklist.

“For one thing, I definitely have to call off my job for at least two days so I can manage everything,” Waldinger said. “In terms of balancing (things) between my job and school and setting things up, it’s a little bit challenging. But we’ve tried to do it where it’s easier for us to manage.”

He also added that his favorite part of managing house shows is that he gets to see many of his favored artists within Waluigi’s lineup. 

“I hope that people see these kinds of experiences and want to get into it,” Waldinger said. “It’s really, it’s super fun. I want as many people as possible to try and experience it, whether they’re running it themselves or whether they’re helping a friend out that’s doing it or they’re just going.”

Keaton Yarber, senior in FAA, is another student house show manager. He organizes house shows at a well-known venue called The Mirror. Yarber said that at The Mirror, many acts are bands, local rappers and solo acts. There are performances throughout the night that never lack musical variety.

“There’s a cover charge (that) usually all or mostly all of goes to the artists,” Yarber said. “(There’s) not necessarily all (performances) that we’re a fan of or that we listened to, but just try to get people to, you know, like, get their own stuff out there and share.”

Yarber explained that he was propelled into the house show business by his own inclination to music. 

“I’ve never actually been to a house show, and I wanted to meet more people, and I thought it would be a great way to do that,” Yarber said. “I’m a musician, and I wanted to meet other like-minded people. I talked with some of the people in the bands that I was booking for the first show just about how to do everything.”

Yarber said that the first step to house shows is always the booking of stage presences. After that, most bands will reach out to the venue themselves.

“Getting that to line up and then when the show actually comes around, it’s a lot of moving things, you have to empty out your entire space,” Yarber said. “If you’re doing like a living room thing, you don’t want people standing on the couches or destroying your fish tank.”

He added that running cables for sound equipment can be the next hardest thing; however, it’s worth it for the end result. 

“Lately, the house has been pretty inactive this year due to a smaller space,” Yarber said. “But last year, when we were in full swing, it was not nearly as intimidating as it sounds. We only used to have about one to two shows planned at a time … It seems daunting, but it’s really not and it’s really rewarding.”

But when there’s no performances planned, Yarber said the venue is just like a regular house, buzzing with excitement for the next show. 

“People are incredibly respectful and just happy to be in the space with some great music,” Yarber said.


[email protected]