At the core of the University and Charlottesville’s famously rich musical culture lies the student organization Indieheads — a home for local artists and all lovers of indie music.
Founded in 2018, the club offers a space for music-loving students to meet each other and connect with the local music scene. Brie Handford, Indieheads executive and third-year College student, says that Indieheads is simply about “anything to do with music.”
“Our goal is basically just to bring people together who enjoy the same types of music,” Handford said. “We like to start conversations about music, we like to listen to music, we like to put on live shows and promote the local bands.”
The club hosts weekly meetings where members discuss music releases and opinions while catching up with friends and participating in activities like trivia, PowerPoint nights and more.
Since its creation, the club has grown exponentially, recently hitting over 1,000 members in its GroupMe and over 1,300 Instagram followers. Although this magnitude is vastly different from the club’s humble origins, it has still managed to hold onto what makes it special — community.
“The members who join and who come to weekly meetings, they become really close with each other,” Handford said. “The people themselves are able to really find a home with Indieheads.”
Beyond its weekly meetings, the club provides opportunities for its members to appreciate music in any capacity they would like, including album listening parties and concert field trips. The growing size and influence of the club has even allowed executives to give away free tickets to local concerts.
According to Everett Vereen, Indieheads executive and third-year College student, this diversity of opportunities is a key part of Indieheads’ mission.
“We want Indieheads to kind of be whatever people want to make of it,” Vereen said. “We try to provide as many outlets for people that are interested in music as possible.”
Possibly the most-well known element of the club is their house shows — several times a semester, the club puts on concerts, offering local bands opportunities to perform and students a chance to appreciate live music. One priority of the club is to work with and promote student musicians.
“Community building is really important for us — local bands can come to us and we can try to book them gigs, either with us or with other venues,” Handford said. “We just provide them a space to get exposure.”
With an average of four bands and 200 to 300 audience members in attendance, each show is a major feat for the club. Handford, in collaboration with other members of the Indieheads executive board, plans and sets up these large events.
“[The work] is totally worth it when you're able to see what you've done and see everyone just having fun, enjoying themselves,” Hanford said.
As the club continues to grow in size, its executive board is looking to expand the scale and reach of house shows. The fall semester saw record-breaking attendance at house shows, and the club was even able to bring in They Are Gutting a Body of Water, an out-of-town band from Philadelphia, Pa.
Jack Davidson Garza, Indieheads executive and third-year College student, both organized and played in the concert, and described the experience as “transcendental”.
“I was really just trying to be present in the moment during the show cause it was easily the craziest gig I’ve ever played,” Davidson said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without Indieheads and the community they’ve been building around U.Va.”
In addition to growing their house shows, the club is also hoping to share the broader Charlottesville music community with students by hosting events and connecting musicians with local venues like The Southern and The Jefferson. Vereen has ambitions to continue building upon every aspect of the club.
“We're really trying to invest in new gear, new merchandise, so that we can promote our presence on Grounds more — get more people interested and excited about the music happening here and be able to bring in more and bigger bands from out of town to expand U.Va.’s scope across the East Coast,” Vereen said.
Despite the challenges that come with hosting events and keeping up with the club’s rapid growth, the Indieheads executives are truly passionate about their work. For Vereen, the music makes it all worth the effort.
“Live music is my favorite thing in the world,” said Vereen. “Whatever it takes to be able to share that with other people means everything.”
Indieheads will kick off the new semester at 8 p.m. Saturday with their first house show of the year, featuring two local and two out-of-town bands.