WDAV Classical Public Radio has partnered with a local brewery in a trendy section of Charlotte to intersect community and chamber music in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. We bring in a chamber ensemble to perform, and admission to the event is completely free and open to the public. Each performance seeks to highlight younger, emerging artists as well as local talent whenever possible. Most recently, we collaborated with the Charlotte New Music Festival to offer a performance of world premieres. Excitingly, these concerts attract a much more diverse and younger demographic than we have seen at other station events, but have also allowed our core listenership a new opportunity to hear music in a different way.
This project is truly about community collaboration and thinking widely and deeply about how to get classical music into non-traditional spaces to expose more folks to its wonders. We had the idea a couple of years back of producing a chamber music concert series in a local brewery. This, we thought, would be a great opportunity to serve our community in a new way. We’d be able to reach more diverse and younger audiences and not only introduce them to classical music free from the “stuffy” stereotype, but also to the unique service that WDAV provides in our area.
In order for this to succeed, we had to find the perfect venue for such an undertaking. We were lucky enough to get Free Range Brewing in the popular NoDa area, an arts district of Charlotte, on board with our idea in early 2017. We knew they understood the importance of “drinking local,” and we encouraged them to invest in “listening local,” too. They signed on as an underwriter for the station and partner for the Small Batch Concert Series. They work with us to promote each performance and even brewed a new beer, WDAV Sounds of Summer, specifically for our season finale in June 2018. For that finale evening, the brewery opened on a night they are typically closed, and felt the foot-traffic of more than 250 people was well worth it.