Students and townies experience Athens differently, whether it be because they’re at different points in their lives or just because they're from different parts of town. The music scene serves as a bridge to connect these groups, however, genre preferences and gatekeeping can still divide them.
The Family Recipe started out performing at house parties, but now mostly performs at venues or small festivals like Athtoberfest at Akademia Brewing Company, Will Ruff, electric mandolin player of the band, said.
Ruff, a senior from Atlanta at the University of Georgia, said locals tend to come to more of the band’s venue shows and the group receives more appreciation from this crowd. He thinks the reason is partly because The Family Recipe’s funk, jazz fusion isn’t “easily digestible” or “something everybody likes to listen to,” and partly because he believes “locals have a more refined genre preference.”
There seems to be a difference in the genres students and locals enjoy. The Family Recipe and other jam bands see more locals at their shows, whereas the EDM performances have mostly student attendees, Ruff said.
Wesley Johnson, IT manager at UGA, mostly performs on the west side of downtown as WesdaRuler and believes there’s a disconnect between students and the local music scene because of genre preference as well.
“Students may not always take it upon themselves and try something that will be brand new to them,” Johnson said.
Christine Chambers, sophomore criminal justice and sociology major, performs mostly on campus as T.W.I.N. She said she’s unable to see local shows because of school and work. However, if a show is in a convenient location, like campus, she’ll attend.
Chambers said another reason students aren’t as involved in the music scene is due to their lack of knowledge. Before Chambers started performing, she didn’t know the hip-hop scene in Athens existed.
Although the hip-hop scene is still relatively small, it’s been on the rise, Johnson said. Since the community is smaller, the performers are close and supportive of each other, according to Johnson.
Hunter Pinkston, quality control at Kindercore Vinyl and vocalist and guitarist for The Pink Stones, said the audience at his performances are mostly people he met by going to other shows and friends he has from UGA.
Although people are close to others in their genre, Pinkston thinks the entire music community is “pretty tight knit” but he can see how some people may think it’s hard to become a part of the group.
“That [view] usually come[s] from people who aren’t nice or people who want to just jump in without showing respect for other bands that have been around,” Pinkston said.
Ruff said students aren’t the only ones who may feel a disconnect from the music scene. Locals tend to stray away from the fraternity band scene and won’t give them the time of day even if the bands have done really well within that scene, Ruff said.