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NUVO Priorities 2019: Emphasizing Local Talent

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Seth Johnson

Seth Johnson, NUVO Music Editor, checking the bins at LUNA Music

Headed into 2019, we at NUVO want to have a closer relationship with you the readers. In addition to being out at shows and interacting with you all on a personal level, as Music Editor, I am excited to have more of you help shape the stories I’m telling in NUVO’s music section .

I’d like to lay out some of the topics I plan on covering in the coming year to give you an idea of what lies ahead and to ask for your input.

While I’ll still be previewing shows and doing interviews with touring acts, I also want to focus on new local acts, new music venues, inclusivity and Indy’s music strategy.

New Local Acts

Local music has always been a passion of mine, dating back to my years of attending shows at Village Green Records while at Ball State. And I still make it a point to regularly get out and catch as many Indiana acts as I can live.

When deciding what bands to cover, I admit there is a certain amount of bias as far as personal taste, although I really try to spread the love as much as possible. In addition to just being a great live act, other things that I look for in local artists include:

  • Quality and professionalism of releases: I very rarely write about local acts that don’t have high-quality recordings.
  • Local support: In addition to crowd sizes, I take note of artists who play all around town, rather than the same bar every time.
  • Touring: If you’re an act that’s hitting the road in support of a new release, you have a much bigger chance of grabbing my eye, while obviously widening your net as well.

New Local Venues

We profiled several new Indianapolis music venues in 2018, including Black Circle Brewing Co., Duke’s, Patron Saint and Healer. In the coming year, we plan to have a close eye on more new spots opening up, filling you in on their backstory and overall vibe. At the end of the day, we want you getting out and catching as much live music as your heart desires, so it’s our job to tell you where to find what you’re looking for.

But it works both ways.  I need you to tell me where you’re hearing great local music and give me the heads-up on new venues and artists.  If you’re a club owner or promoter, make sure to reach out and let me know what you’ve got planned this year—and make sure you are entering your events into our calendar and/or sending us your press releases. 


We can all agree that the more voices Indy has represented in its music community, the better. With my coverage, I try my absolute hardest to represent all sorts of musicians from all walks of life.

In addition to artist profiles, however, I would also like to highlight more educational opportunities in the music community this upcoming year. Local organizations like the Kheprw Institute, Musical Family Tree, and others coordinate courses and panel discussions to push this city’s music community forward. I plan to shine a light on these events and the conversations that surround them in 2019.

What questions do you have about inclusivity in local music or initiatives working to make the scene more inclusive? Is there a story you think I should tell?

Indy’s Music Strategy

In recent years, Indy Chamber and a handful of others have begun work on a music strategy for our city, realizing how important music is to the future growth and success of Indianapolis and its economy.

In 2019, work on this strategy will move forward, as local leaders, club owners, and musicians weigh in on Indy’s strengths and weaknesses as a music city. Having been involved with this conversation since its onset, I will continue to report on the progress of this historic initiative going forward.

What questions do you have about Indy as a music city or about the way clubs, bookings, permits, and gigs in general work in Indy? Do you have insight or questions about how the city can grow and capitalize on the local talent and love of music?

In general, my goal is tell as many stories as possible about music in Indianapolis and men and women making it happen. To do my job well, I need you to let me know what you’re listening to, where you’re hearing great live music, and how we can all work together to make the scene even better.

You should see a question box on this page titled City Committee with a place for you to submit your questions and thoughts. If you have ad blocker or it doesn’t appear, you can go directly to the City Committee landing page to leave a suggestion or question; leave a comment below; or send me an email.

Get in touch.

Seth Johnson, Music Editor at NUVO, can be reached by email at, by phone at 317-254-2400 or on Twitter @sethvthem

Writer - Music, Comedy & Sports

An Indianapolis native, I love all things music, especially of the local variety. My other passions also include comedy, social justice, and the Indiana Pacers.