Former staff at Creative Loafing and local community are gathering for a “Concert Crawl” fundraiser for a new local media project

 By Matt Cosper

November 13, 2018

This year on Halloween a Charlotte institution got the ax. A few minutes after the week’s issue had gone to print, the entire staff of Creative Loafing lost their jobs. Publisher Charles Womack had decided to sell the paper to his 28-year-old son Alex, a “business growth consultant” from the Triangle. The paper would transition to online only and the staff would need to pack their things immediately. The editor-in-chief, Ryan Pitkin, posted the news on Twitter as it was happening, unleashing an outpouring of support and igniting a torrent of gleeful mockery directed at Womack and son in the roles of heartless capitalist and attendant feckless failson. The Womack’s side of the story was posted in a press release so monumentally tone deaf and universally reviled that it was almost immediately taken down.

Impressively, the community’s response to the news wasn’t confined to internet well wishing or snark. Local rock band The Business People started talking about throwing a benefit to help support the laid-off journalists and people were unsurprisingly keen on the idea. Creative Loafing had always been an advocate for local artists and had only gotten more bullish in its signal boosting in recent years. The Business People got down to business, contacting local bands and music venues. A plan emerged to throw an event that would help support the out-of-work staff of Creative Loafing and kickstart a new venture by Pitkin and other ex-Loafers. In a phone interview this week Pitkin described the demise of Creative Loafing as a blessing in disguise, the necessary jolt to fuel the creation of an independent local media project. As planning developed this funeral started to look more like the celebration of a birth.

Saturday, November 17, in NoDa everyone is invited to End of A Brand: Rest in Paper Fest. Pitkin described End of A Brand as a “Concert Crawl” celebrating the local art that Creative Loafing was always so fond of. The event also serves as the unveiling of the brand and logo for a new local alternative paper to be run by Pitkin,  Justin LaFrancois, and Aaron Stamey (also both recently laid off by Creative Loafing).

Photo: Alex Cason

What exactly is a concert crawl? It’s a take on the bacchanalian Gallery Crawls of NoDa’s storied past. It’s a moveable feast (drinking session and concert series) that will take celebrants on a circuit of NoDa watering holes where they can wet their whistles and shake their cans to local favorites playing in a variety of genres. A suggested donation of $10 will get you a wristband and access to all the shows. In addition to the bands, there will be silent auctions at Jack Beagles and NoDa Company Store. NoDa Company Store will also be hosting live “performance art” from 3-6 p.m., but there is no word as yet whether that means sketch comedy or naked people hurting themselves.

The action starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Canvas Tattoo and Art Gallery and will move to The Evening Muse, Jack Beagles and Sanctuary before circling back to Canvas to cap the evening. Organizers have announced sets throughout the day from local favorites including Faye, Harvey Cummings II and Sinners & Saints. The night ends with sets by organizers The Business People and the infectiously fun honky tonk philosophers of Amigo. Even if it wasn’t a good cause, this sort of line up is a recipe for a Saturday to remember. 

Full lineup and schedule:

Live music emceed by Robot Johnson Sketch Comedy

Canvas Tattoo & Art Gallery (1 – 3:15 p.m.)
Faye: 1:00 – 1:25 p.m.
Leisure McCorkle: 1:30 – 1:55 p.m.
Write The Ship: 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
KANG: 2:35 – 3:05 p.m.

The Evening Muse (3:30 – 5 p.m.)
Israel Gore: 3:30 – 3:55 p.m.
Courtney Lynn & Quinn: 4:00 – 4:25 p.m.
Sinners & Saints: 4:30 – 5:00 p.m.

JackBeagle’s Noda (5:15 – 7 p.m.)
BLACK LINEN: 5:15 – 5:40 p.m.
Harvey Cummings II: 5:45 – 6:10 p.m.
Nige Hood: 6:15 – 7:00 p.m.

Sanctuary Pub (7:00 – 8:30 p.m.)
Farewell Albatross: 7:00 – 7:25 p.m.
Special Guest: 7:30 – 7:55 p.m.
Reaves: 8:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Canvas Tattoo & Art Gallery (8:45 p.m. – 12 a.m.)
DSR: 8:45 – 9:25 p.m.
Indigo JO: 9:35 – 10:15 p.m.
Amigo: 10:25 – 11:05 p.m.
The Business People: 11:15 – 12:00 a.m.

Live Performance Art by Mandyland Entertainment
NoDa Company Store: 3 – 6 p.m.

Silent Auctions
Jack Beagles: 1 – 5 p.m.
NoDa Company Store: 3 – 6 p.m.

Check out more on the End of A Brand: Rest in Paper Fest on Saturday, November 17 from the Facebook event page.

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