When I came to WCU as a freshman, I had already heard the rumors of the vicious boredom that plagues college students in Cullowhee. But I refused to let myself be subjected to Friday nights spent locked in my dorm room. No, I wanted to get out, I wanted to have fun. I wanted music.
And not just any music; I wanted local bands. The freedom and homegrown energy of a native artist can draw in crowds and foster fan loyalty faster than any popular band. And so I began my search. A few places I checked out were offered to me by seasoned veterans of the music scene, while others I stumbled across on my own. But now I offer you my prized favorites, five venues right here in Cullowhee and Sylva, for your listening pleasure.
The closest venue to campus is actually right on campus. Open Mic Nights, presented by Last Minute Productions, allow students to pump up the volume and jam out. Six acts register per Open Mic Night. Acts other than music are encouraged, but there is sure to be at least one musical group per event. Open Mic Nights are fantastic because you can see what your peers are doing, and perhaps you’ll even be inspired to share your talent. To find out when the next Open Mic Night is, you can check out LMP’s Web site, lmp.wcu.edu.
Traveling off campus, the next musical outlet choice is Soul Infusion, located at 628 E. Main Street in Sylva. This teahouse and bistro not only provides cultural foods and beverages, but it also is a registered live music venue. Most weekends, stop on by to hear local and non-native bands and musicians as they entertain the masses with tunes and stories. All musical events are family events, unless otherwise noted, and the majority of them require no cover charge. For more information about the teahouse and upcoming musical acts, visit their Web site, www.soulinfusion.com.
Heading into downtown Sylva, your next stop should be Guadalupe’s CafÃ© on Main Street. Guadalupe’s is heralded as one of the most well-known local venues, providing an eclectic range of music for any musical taste. This small but inviting restaurant welcomes you to come in a stay awhile, order some food or an adult beverage and chat with friends while the band amuses your ears. Some bands are local, but others travel from parts of North Carolina and Georgia. Fresh music can be heard Friday and Saturday nights, and occasionally on Thursdays, too. A continually-updated calendar can be found on the restaurant’s MySpace page, www.myspace.com/guadalupecafe.
If you want a little larger area and are comfortable with the bar atmosphere, walk across the street to Main Street Sports Bar and Grill. While offering a variety of beer, wine, and wings, they also occasionally have live entertainment. So gather your friends and swing by for great wings and music. Call ahead to find out their schedule, (828) 631- 4260.
The Rusty Lizard, located in the Jackson Shopping Plaza, is mainly known for its college nights and karaoke nights, but this bar also serves up live music. Area bands and some traveling from a little farther can be heard at various times throughout the year. Call to find out which nights you can expect live music, (828) 631- 0705.
So there you have it, folks! Live music for everyone. Save this article, and next time you’re tempted to complain about the obvious lack of anything fun to do around here, check out any of these five venues, and let the local artists prove that there is something to tap your toes to in Cullowhee and Sylva.