Band lotteries, which are a tried-and-true DIY punk scene technique used to revamp the music scene in an area, are now being used in Flagstaff. The band lottery started with eight bands on Jan. 31, which were given one month to create and practice songs for a performance at Firecreek Coffee Company March 2.
For this band lottery, interested people put their names on a public list before Jan. 31 and on that day, names were randomly selected into groups of about five, creating eight random bands.
Nate Edenhofer, one of the organizers for the band lottery and member of the eighth band Yoko Ocho, regards the band lottery as successful even though there were originally eight bands and only four performed March 2.
“If four bands out of that actually happened, that’s a success because before there were zero bands,” Edenhofer said. “One of the bands that didn’t play tonight hasn’t been able to practice but they are going to become an actual band.”
The reason for introducing a band lottery to Flagstaff was to cultivate the spirit of the DIY punk scene again.
“It’s for fun, friendship and bringing people together in a way that allows free expression that isn’t monetized and commodified so the expression can feel real,” Edenhofer said.
Sierra Jones, an organizer for the band lottery and member of bands Yoko Ocho and RIP Matilda, noticed that the DIY scene was dying down in Flagstaff. Jones said they wanted to introduce new people to each other and get creative juices flowing.
“Ideally, it’s for all ages, it’s free or at least accessible shows and it can be done in an underground network,” Jones said. “I associate it with a political affiliation, a lot of it is punk or people who are outcasts who have radical politics.”
To Jones, punk is less about the music style and more about the mindset. That’s why the participators of the band lottery, even with their varying musical preferences, are welcome as a part of the DIY punk scene in Flagstaff.
Jones placed signup sheets around the venue to get names of people interested in hosting shows, booking shows and being in a band but don’t know where to start or don’t have the resources to.
“That is a really important aspect of this because I wanted to be in a band for so long before the band I was in a couple of years ago, Fake Nails, so I think that offering that space to people is really important," said Sarah Lydford, member of band Sleepover and RIP Matilda. "I’m really excited to see who signs up and what comes of it."
Lydford’s idea of punk is it is subversive to the current systems that make it inaccessible for people to play music and express themselves.
Edenhofer said that if people need equipment or space to do shows in, they could contact the Facebook page Flagstaff Secret Society for Cool Shows, the Facebook group Flagstaff DIY Shows or reach out to specific bands for resources.
“That sharing of equipment within the scene, that is really radical because people who may never have had the opportunity to express themselves in this way are getting access to do that,” Lydford said.
Much of the value of band lotteries comes from experimentation. It allows people to explore their music and performance style.
“Since this is such a playful, open thing, it makes me feel like I can get creative and explore,” Jones said.
Jones said he hopes some bands will stay together or new bands will form from the connections made at the band lottery show. She also said Flagstaff band lotteries may become an annual or biannual occurrence.
“It was really fun,” Lydford said. “I think this type of space is really important within our community right now.”