The Factory’s First Year:
Photos: Jerry Wald
“You guys are crazy.”
Shane and Jerry erupt in knowing laughter. We hear that a lot, they say. The two accidental entrepreneurs have had a busy year. They’re the founders and managers of The Factory, an all-ages music venue and art space tucked into downtown Rochester. Renovated and redecorated from scratch, between day jobs and college, the guys—Shane Ford and Jerry Wald, longtime friends from Eisenhower High School (from around Shelby Township), opened the doors in August of 2008, with a charming nonchalance, opening arms to the metro community.
“The place itself is odd,” said Wald, a freelance photographer whose upstairs studio helps him produce live projection blitzes of performing bands. “When you walk in, you think, ‘this shouldn’t be here.’”
Down Mainstreet Alley, the three-floor space faces the alley, the flip
side of Tower Pizza. There’s plenty of hangout space downstairs, with the cavernous-yet-intimate space upstairs, holding about 80 people.
Through the year, shows ran all weekend, starting at 9pm, all ages, no smoking, modest cover – a place to hang out and discover music and art. This summer, show’s have been every night. The duo are aided by a dedicated team, volunteering their time just the same, with their respective girlfriends, Shane’s brother Jesse and his wife, soundguys Brad and Andrew and whoever else is around.
This weekend, with three consecutive concerts, the GOLD Music and Arts festival celebrates one full year. “It snowballed,” said Wald. “Yeah,” agrees Ford, “we went to City Council meetings to ask if we could hold it (outside).” Thus, the baby-boom-aged “lawyers, accounts, doctors” on the board finally made the acquaintance of Rochester’s sparkplug of youth, art and community. “It was like the Factory, within two months, grew up 20 years,” said Ford. The city enthusiastically embraced it and gave them space on E. Third and Water.
“Everywhere you turn, there’ll be fire over here, a band over there, put-put golf over there,” exclaims Ford, “hopefully a rock-wall.” On Sunday, the Festival’s final day transplants to a parking lot, where there will be a fire juggler, face painting, put-put-golf, 10+ tents featuring DIY artist/merchants.
“We wanted to pull Rochester, Oakland County, and really the whole Metro community in,” said Ford, acknowledging the line ups assurance to already draw dedicated show-goers and music fans. Ford said there’s something for everybody.
Bands on Sunday’s outdoor stage: Millions of Brazilians (above, pictured), The Hard Lessons, Zoos of Berlin, The Friendly Foes, Javelins, The Summer Pledge, The Ferdy Mayne, Nightwatcher, Sik-Sik Nation, The Crooks, The Singles and Daniel Zott. Friday night, back indoors at the Factory, features The Alaya Conscious, Lay of the Cid; No, Really! I, The Envy; Seraphim, Bahamut – and Saturday, it’s Allan James & The Cold Wave, Charlie Slick, Child Bite and Grand Dad Crunk.
On Friday and Saturday, doors open at 7pm. Sunday, at 11am, The School of Rock opens things up, with music, art and activities running all day. Also contributing: Board 2 Death Skate Shop, Scion, Rochester Lions, Monster Energy Drink and sponsors 323 East and The Crofoot (more participants, info and contact info: goldmusicfest.com)
Ford and Wald said the Factory is just where they’d imagine it to be – with a year free from “incidents,” complete with amicable, supportive cruise-by’s from the five-O. Next, they’re opening up a clothing store and art/performance space, a stone’s throw from the alley. This second Factory incarnation will function as clothing boutique, for local DIY and world-wide designers, plus a more mature atmosphere for bi-monthly performances.
More info: myspace.com/goldmusicfest; www.myspace.com/thefactoryrochester