| VISIT NEBRASKA |
Everyone in WyoBraska is familiar with the Bands on Broadway free concert series; an 8-week summer concert series held every Thursday starting in June and July from 6 to 9 pm at the 18th Street Plaza in Downtown Scottsbluff, NE. The concerts offer musical talents from the WyoBraska area, food trucks, beer from The Flyover Brewery, and snacks for the kids.
There’s something new happening in Scottsbluff and Gering, NE. People are finding musical talents in the early morning, and throughout the day, in open spaces dotted around the twin cities and most of these musicians are not from the area. They’re visiting WyoBraska and bringing with them a little big-city culture.
Clint Brill is a native of Gering who now lives in Overton, Nevada. Several times a year Clint returns to western Nebraska to visit with his family. While in town, as he does back in Nevada each morning, he loads up his guitar, and other accoutrements, and heads out to a spot somewhere in the city to sit back, relax, play and sing his favorite songs for passersby.
On Clint’s return to western Nebraska over the weekend he once again loaded his gear into his car and headed out to have some fun with music. This time he landed near the front door of Capacionno and Company on Broadway in Scottsbluff where he broke out his harmonica and guitar and delivered his own rendition of one of his favorite songs. Honestly, his version was a little better than the original despite it being performed acoustic and unamplified.
To his left, his guitar case on the ground was opened, full of sheet music, for anyone to pitch some change into it. Clint doesn’t expect anyone to throw money his way. His mission is simply to enjoy himself and he looks forward to people stopping by, as we did, to chat and get to know one another. Unlike the paid musicians the city of Scottsbluff pays to perform at Bands on Broadway each summer, Clint’s motivation is to bring music to the community. Anyone and everyone who wants to stop and listen is welcome.
“I do this because I enjoy it. I like sharing music even if it’s not my own. Music brings people together. It heals and supports. Performing makes me feel good. I hope that it makes others feel good as well.”
After leaving Clint we realized that there were a lot of musical acts in WyoBraska. Some have met with success while others are still working to achieve their goals, but each loves making, and writing, music. It’s easy to envision these talented people doing the same as Clint in simply sharing his music, on the street, unannounced, and open to anyone. Which begs the question: why aren’t more local musicians doing the same? Well, apparently, this is beginning to happen throughout the North Platte River Valley with more frequency though not as often as we would like.
Clint’s endeavor to perform on the street brings with it a sense of community much like the street performers of larger cities. It’s nice, enjoyable, and satisfying to see pop-up performers sharing their musical talents to create social bonds and support them through music.
If you see a local, or regional, talent performing on the streets of Scottsbluff or Gering, stop, listen, enjoy and reward their efforts with a kind word, a couple of bucks, a cup of coffee, a sandwich, or all the above.
These men and women are creating a new atmosphere in western Nebraska. They’re changing the dynamic of social bonds through harmony, and percussion and are revitalizing pride in our community.
Western Nebraska isn’t exactly known for street performers with its culture hidden in Cowboys and Indians, agriculture, and ranching. The country western genre of music, clothing, and lifestyle is prominent here but, we’d like to see more street performers popping up around the twin cities so that we can get behind it, support it and enjoy it.
WyoBraka deserves to have talented musicians on our streets at all times of the year. Street performing is a unique and special form of art. It diversifies the community in which it’s found and binds culture and people together. People like Clint are waking us up to the experience and its importance.
If you’re in a band, or simply a musician, good or bad, consider going downtown, maybe to the farmers market, a street corner, a park, or even a restaurant, and break open some tunes for us all to enjoy. We need more of it and we’ll love you for it.
Story & Photography by: Hawk Buckman