Three bands performed at the Gallery Alley opening on Friday, all of them young: Kill Vargas, Tideway and The Cavves. Michael Quinnett crowdsurfed along with others throughout the night. (May 26, 2017) Julian Kincaid Courtesy photo
Three bands performed at the Gallery Alley opening on Friday, all of them young: Kill Vargas, Tideway and The Cavves. Michael Quinnett crowdsurfed along with others throughout the night. (May 26, 2017) Julian Kincaid Courtesy photo

Keeper of the Plans

Looking for things to do? Matt Riedl is your go-to guy for entertainment, art and culture news in Wichita.

Keeper of the Plans

Bummer, no more crowd-surfing in downtown Wichita alley

June 20, 2017 07:02 AM

It was a short but sweet run at Gallery Alley.

The alley, which attracted hundreds of kids last Final Friday for an all-ages show by local bands Kill Vargas, The Cavves and Tideway, will no longer host amplified performances, according to Downtown Wichita.

It was a packed show last month, featuring kids gleefully bouncing beach balls back and forth and crowd-surfing over those assembled.

But it was too much for the neighbors, according to Jason Gregory, executive vice president of Downtown Wichita.

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“It’s just the amplified sound – we’re just trying to be respectful to those buildings there, that have a mix of uses,” Gregory said. “There’s residences there, and obviously when you get high-bass subwoofers, you’re basically hearing that through the building.”

Gallery Alley, 616 E. Douglas, is a pop-up park in a downtown Wichita alley that features local artwork, music, and has bistro sets for people to eat at and congregate. It’s barely wide enough for a single car to fit through, and it’s no more than 200 feet long.

It opened late last month.

The alley will still host acoustic shows, Gregory said – organizers are looking at ways to potentially reschedule those amplified performances at the ICT Pop-Up Park, which is larger.

“With the ... destination concerts, we think the Pop-Up Park site is a better fit to host some of the larger crowds,” Gregory said. “It’s not really a change. We still want to program the alley with music – it just might be a little more laid-back.”

In addition to music, the alley hosts Final Friday art shows, movie screenings, and other events.

“The other challenging part on a Final Friday was the sheer amount of people that showed up, and being able to showcase the art,” Gregory said. “It makes more sense to put (concerts) somewhere where you can handle more people, particularly on a Final Friday where we’re trying to feature local artists and let people peruse the art.”

Logan Bush, drummer of Kill Vargas, said the Gallery Alley show was so popular because music fans under 21 had been searching for a good all-ages music venue for years.

“We finally had an all-ages venue that was approved by the city so it wouldn’t ever get shut down, and we had a spot to throw big all-ages shows,” Bush said in a Facebook message. “We’re all 16-20 year olds, and it’s hard to come up with the funds to keep a space open. And with all the nice venues in town being 21 and up, we have to stick to house shows and small coffee shops and DIY spots, which aren’t always legal.”

Bush said he is encouraged Downtown Wichita wants to relocate amplified shows to the Pop-Up Park – not all bands play acoustic.

Gallery Alley is a project of Downtown Wichita, which received a $66,504 grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation to make it happen.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt