A new venue in downtown Rapid City caters to independent bands and intimate events and will be open to patrons under 21 years old.
The brand new, all-ages venue Ursa Major recently kicked off their grand opening with energetic performances from Brilliant Beast and Best Coast.
Ursa Major aims for the venue to bring smaller bands to Rapid City regularly and make Rapid City a frequent stop for touring bands. “Rapid City has a number of smaller venues… but Ursa Major’s size puts it in the same category as other as other small clubs around the country,” said Jason from Audio Arts, a non-profit closely linked with the venue. Central High School English teacher, Nick Palmer, stated, “I hope this is the beginning of a regular music scene, it would be really cool.”
The all-ages venue also hopes to provide a place for teenagers who want to get involved in music to go to shows and perform, too. “I think there needs to be a lot more places for kids to come to,” Mary Johnle, an attendee, said, making sure her two young children weren’t getting into trouble. Courtney Rouse said, “I know when we were teenagers we had nothing to do other than run around the mall, or Walmart.”
Rapid City citizens have been hoping for a new venue for a while now. Luke Gorder, an art teacher at Central High School, said, “There is a need for bands not big enough to play at the Civic Center, but too big to be playing some punk show at someone’s house.”
The venue is easy to access, with a large ramp leading to the entrance and ramps leading to the lower dance floor. For the opening show, more than 200 people packed into the small space, young and old alike. Opening act Brilliant Beast’s heavier punk style of music provided a nice contrast with Best Coast’s laidback lo-fi style. Best Coast kicked off their set with their songs “Goodbye” and “Crazy for You,” before launching into “The Only Place,” when lead singer Bethany Cosentino forgot the lyrics. A fan near the stage provided the lyrics, and the concert continued. Later in the concert, Bethany commented on the venue, saying, “I actually thought that this place was haunted, because there were a bunch of hospital beds in the hall… Don’t get me wrong though, I love haunted s***.”
Ursa Major is a promising venue, and they hope to stay around for a long time.