The Bloomington Underground

-- Erin Tobey hangs out during an art opening at the Hospital.

This is a series of photos I have made during a three-month period in the late spring and early summer of 2006 in Bloomington, Indiana. Some who are reading this might know where Bloomington is. But, for those that don’t, it’s a college town in the middle of Southern Indiana in a place where I never would imagine, if I didn’t live here, there would be such an underground music and artistic scene.

Right now the scene is multifaceted … there’s punk, folk, metal, indie rock, electronica, noise and best of all a whole bunch of music I can’t really classify but it doesn’t sound like anything on the corporate music stations.

Scenes here have come and gone here but this one seems to be about as active as any I’ve seen in 9 years of living here and it’s literally underground with many of the best shows taking place in basements for only a dozen or so people. People say there hasn’t been a scene like this here since punk went around the first time back in the 1980s.

Why is this scene here now? I don’t really know … perhaps Bloomington is on the way to a lot of other places like Chicago and New York and various locales out West. A lot of bands just stop here play and then they are gone. But, a number of the bands are also based here.

I suppose, maybe, Bloomington is also a pretty good place for musicians to live at the moment. Mostly because it’s cheap to live here relative to the larger cities that are within driving distance. Also, the Secretly Canadian record label is based here. Plan-it-X, a punk label, was too until last week when it’s head instigator Chris Clavin loaded up his vegetable oil powered bus and moved out west. But, music scenes are like clouds on a sunny day … they’re always on the move and constantly changing. And, clouds, disappear all the time.

Right now we have a pretty good scene in Bloomington. I don’t know how long it will last this time, but I’ve been going around to basement shows and living room performances making these images trying to document because it’s hard to tell how long it will last though it looks like there will be a good music scene here for the foreseeable future.