Urban Outfitters hosts musical ‘pre-party’



By Kelly Gustafson

Urban Outfitters, 507 E. Green St., hosted the indie rock band Elsinore on Sunday in the first of four pre-parties taking place in the store leading up to the Pygmalion Music Festival in September.

Elsinore took the stage at 4 p.m. and played a variety of cover songs as well as songs from their new album “The General EP.” The crowd of about 45 stayed consistent during the hour-long show as the band played on a makeshift stage surrounded by racks of street style, vintage clothing and displays of accessories.

This fall marks the fourth year for the Pygmalion Music Festival. The festival, which will take place between Sept. 17-20 at various clubs in the Champaign-Urbana area, was brought to Champaign by Seth Fein. As a musician himself, Fein thought the Champaign area needed an outlet for local talent after he visited a similar musical festival in Athens, Ga.

“It dawned on me how fun it could be and I took that concept, built upon it and made it as big as it can be,” Fein said.

Fein said his hometown of Champaign is probably the best music venue next to Chicago in Illinois. Over the past four years, the festival has grown greatly, he added.

This year, Fein said he wanted to reach out to Urban Outfitters because the store “really taps into the heart of what indie rock culture is.”

Though traditional clothing stores typically do not opt for live band performances, Fein said it made sense for him to work with Urban Outfitters because he hoped the store would be a liaison between the campus community and the local music scene. Other Urban Outfitters stores have also hosted musical acts.

Ryan Groff, the lead singer of Elsinore, agrees that the store can bridge the gap between local bands and the student population.

“(The pre-parties are) probably one of the better ways the local music scene and the campus community can really magnetize with each other,” Groff said.

He said he hopes the store continues to host similar shows even after the promotions for the Pygmalion Music Festival. This way, stores similar to Urban Outfitters can incorporate local music.

“I like the idea of the shows being in Urban because the bands are forced to strip down,” Fein said. “The experience is really raw and more intimate.”

He added that the local musicians draw shoppers into the store while also gaining exposure to a campus populated by nearly 41,000 students.

One audience member, Jared Park, sophomore in LAS, said he likes the idea of Urban Outfitters having more in-store shows like Elsinore.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Park.

“You can tell that people walked in off the streets because they heard music and wanted to find out what was up with this.”

Park is a fan of Elsinore and also a part of the band Tall Tale, which will perform at the clothing store Sept. 5.

He said he thought Urban Outfitters provides a good music environment as well as a great location because Green Street is in the heart of Illinois’ Campustown.

“Having live music in a store like Urban Outfitters maintains the spirit of cool that surrounds it,” Fein said.