Arts: Burlington Underground digs the music scene

Burlington Underground is a Web site dedicated to informing the public of all upcoming live music shows around Burlington at venues ranging from the Fireplace Lounge to Higher Ground. Founded by UVM sophomore Ryan Orlove, SA Concerts President senior Brady Lee and junior Dan Mesa, the three business students seek to make the Burlington music scene more accessible by providing a comprehensive calendar of live, local concerts.Burlington Underground provides a visually pleasing yet bare-bones approach to the idea.The site spreads the information that the reader is looking for in an easy-to-read, informative fashion. The idea was born out of Orlove’s desire to explore the music community during his freshman year. “When I went to shows, I interviewed band members and [falsely] told them I was a reporter for a newspaper,” Orlove said. Orlove, hoping to create a Web site dedicated to the Burlington music scene, spoke with one of his business professors about his aspirations. His professor directed him to Lee and Mesa. Lee had previous experience with the local music scene through SA Concerts, and Mesa had a background in Web site design. The group focuses on providing a site on the local scene that “emphasizes that small is just as important as big, that one guy playing an acoustic guitar is just as important as a national band playing at Higher Ground,” Lee said. Although the professional site design, “of a brown-board college dorm,” Orlove said, the three founding members compile the database of show listings based on calendars released by venue Web sites. “From Web sites of venues to underground blogs, we do all of the searching so that other people don’t have to,” Orlove said.  The latest edition of the site came out in the beginning of November 2008, advertised primarily by a simple yellow post-it note around campus with the Web site scrawled on it. The low budget, viral marketing strategy was “wildly received — from statistics, people have been coming back consistently,” Mesa said.”It’s pretty helpful, I don’t know of any other Web site for Burlington that compiles the concert listings of so many venues,” UVM freshman Chris Barbey said.And that’s just the UVM community — we hope to do more advertising for the greater Burlington community soon,” he said. Surprisingly, Burlington is one of few college towns with such a comprehensive database. “I’m a jealous — I wish that we had a calendar like this,” Baltimore, Md. sophomore  student Joe Moran said. The task of compiling a list of shows among all venues in Burlington, from small garage shows to pubs and larger venues, is “daunting, especially since school comes first,” Orlove said.”But the payoff far exceeds the time spent,” he said.  “We’re both gaining real life experience by talking with marketing people, but also benefitting Burlington by providing a resource for concertgoers.” As the thinkers behind the site continue to market their product, they also hope to expand in the future. “We hope to complete the concert experience, but we’re not entirely sure what the features will be,” Mesa said.cutline