When I first moved to Rexburg, I was quickly discouraged by the lack of entertainment alternatives for people that might not get their thrills from stadium hymn singing. Despite being the home of a major university, this area desperately needed a platform where anyone, students or locals, could showcase their creative efforts — and until last year, it just didn’t have one.
Several places tried to promote the arts scene — I watched Sammy’s turn Zeek’s turn Skizzy’s, all with an appreciation for local music — but when shakes or burgers are the main priority of a business, entertainment becomes the annoying younger step-brother nobody really wants to deal with.
Despite the emotional rollercoaster that many businesses have sent the Rexburg music scene on, it’s managed to survive and in my opinion, it finally it seems to have found a long-term home: The Basement.
The Basement is an underground venue, located behind the old iSource building, and in the literal basement underneath where The Avenues now stands.
The venue held its grand opening in April of 2017 and hosted long-time local legends, the Opskamatrists. It quickly became a home-base for local bands like The Howls, For Your Health, Lucky Mint, Vic Fox, The Good Fight and Carry on, Kid to showcase their music.
The venue’s Facebook description reads, “Whether it is through music or art, we aim to provide an environment where all people can feel comfortable and get out of their skin.”
Since opening, The Basement has pushed and stretched themselves to step outside of the ideas that former venues have tried, but failed to engage the community with. Some new ideas include weekly open mic nights, comedy shows, concerts, art galleries, interactive pop-up events and parties.
Some of the most energetic shows in Rexburg have taken place at The Basement.
Last week, art students organized a pop-up art show, as part of their final project. The students needed to create a show, complete with a title and theme, find a venue (The Basement) and curate it themselves.
The Basement has also started holding “Vinyl Nights”, an event that invites anyone to attend and enjoy listening to some classic records. The LP is selected after various albums are voted on throughout the week, the most wanted album becomes the theme of the evening.
“We encourage local artists to come out and create works of art along with the music, or bring pieces of art that you’ve already created and want to showcase,” it says on The Basement’s Facebook page. “No admission cost, just come and enjoy an evening of art and music.”
Still, one of the main challenges for The Basement is letting people know where they’re located. I regularly have people ask me where The Basement is, even though the answer is only a simple Google search away.
However, for people who are new to the area, or just starting to get involved in the Rexburg music scene, finding an underground, basement venue can understandably be a little difficult.
The entrance to The Basement is located just to the left of the “LOVE” wall, on the side of the abandoned iSource building. Think “hole-in-the-wall” and you’ll find your way. If you’re trying to attend the night of an event, there will probably be someone waiting at the door to welcome you in.