When we featured Musical Family Tree on NUVO's cover in October 2012, the site's current Executive Director, Jon Rogers, was in the middle of planning the organization's transition from online community to full-fledged music non-profit. And now, almost two years later and right on the cusp of their 10th anniversary, they're almost there.
"The application went in this March, and we are completely expecting to have that status back this year," Rogers says.
But he's been working on so much more than just an application this year. Rogers has coordinated a creative team of more than two dozen people to create content for the site and help produce a quarterly printed zine. MFT's EP in a Weekend series - three musicians and one producer are challenged to create an EP in just a few days - has continued apace (they're up to eight releases now); a regular series of shows in Broad Ripple Park last summer were received warmly; a new monthly series at Indy CD and Vinyl is picking up speed; and of course there's new music going into the archive all the time. Most recently, MFT debuted a new radio player on the site that encourages exploration of tunes news and old in the archive.
Musical Family Tree was created by SmallBox founder Jeb Banner, who grew his web company right alongside the archival site, which spun into an active community in the mid-aughts.
Rogers' role is one that's been passed from musician to local musician over the years, including stints by Joyful Noise label owner Karl Hofstetter and previous Broad Ripple Music Fest organizer Dan Fahrner; PJ Christie and Brain Twins' Justin Shimp were also involved in the care of the site. As part of the organization's new non-profit status, Rogers now reports to a board of directors.
"To me, our mission is to spread Indiana music by preserving the work digitally and physically, and by communicating and documenting Indiana's music scene, past and present, and to be promoting music that doesn't have a current promotional venue."
MFT will celebrate its tenth anniversary with two back-to-back shows next weekend featuring all local music. The celebration includes a fundraiser at at the Speakeasy on Friday and shows at Radio Radio and White Rabbit on Saturday.