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Ames Auditorium looks to strengthen local music scene

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Mackenzie Bodell
The Ames City Auditorium is located in downtown Ames at 520 6th St. 

For the first time in three years, the Ames Auditorium will be hosting a concert series with local talent. Fifth and Clark Fridays will start at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 with the last show on Nov. 17. Tickets cost $5, and Iowa State students who bring their student ID will receive a two-for-one discount.  

The series will feature a variety of music with folk singer Abigail Phelps performing the kickoff concert Sept. 29.

“It’s a diverse mix of music, but it’s all very good,” said Craig Kaufman, the auditorium bandshell and community center manager.

Kaufman said the venue will be a more family-friendly environment compared to other venues in Ames. The series of concerts is open to all ages, and Kaufman said he sees this as an opportunity to reach the largest audience.

These concerts mark the first non-hybrid or online shows since 2020. 

“We basically shut down for six months… we’ve been running some of our own concerts and things before COVID hit… we just had to start all over again,” Kaufman said. 

This series was made possible in part by an arts project grant awarded to the auditorium by the Iowa Arts Council.

“We got some grant money… so we were able to do even more things this year,” Kaufman said. 

With a discounted student ticket price and a collaboration with KURE, the Ames Auditorium wants a student presence at Fifth and Clark Fridays.

“The goal has always been to get students in the door… I’ve seen more of a demand for live music on campus than I ever have in the seven years that I’ve been here,” Kaufman said. 

Vehicle Dynamics, a local power pop band, is playing Oct. 6. The group of five has been a part of the Ames music scene for over a year, with four out of five of their members currently attending Iowa State.

“I feel like we’re bringing back something that’s not very popular or not very common now nowadays, like something that fans of older ’90s music, something they would enjoy seeing live,” guitar player Vaughn Miller said when asked to describe the band’s sound. 

Miller said the other band members are excited to play at a larger venue and hope that there is a good turnout for the first show.

Information regarding the concert series can be found on the auditorium’s website and Instagram.

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