Behind the underground concert hall The Blue Room’s final festival

This first show was also a special moment for Misita, finally having her own space with Glyn to host shows. Under the moniker Mosh Retirement, Misita booked and promoted shows at other venues as an undergrad at places like Spark Art Space, but he wanted to do something different.

“I used to go to DIY shows for years before and never really felt included,” Misita said. “I felt like it was still an insider club.”

Misita envisioned The Blue Room as a safe space for alternative music and its fans. He and Glyn noticed an opening in the scene for a venue suitable for hardcore music, punk, shoegaze, hyperpop, and other alternative genres, and they wanted to fill that gap.

Hosting a festival has always been a dream for Misita, but personal mental health issues and a pandemic have ruined the opportunity – now it’s a “second chance to get it right”, he said.

Most of the artists who played the sold-out Mosh Retirement Fest have returned to The Blue Room, and most are professional touring musicians. For Misita, it’s about leveraging the connections he’s made promoting local shows and focusing on music first, and artists can feel that focus, he said.

The atmosphere of fans enjoying the music is what drives Misita and Glyn to host shows. They imagined a welcoming space where music came first and brought people together, students and locals alike.

With Misita’s experience promoting shows off campus and Glyn’s background as an alumnus of Le Moyne College and Onondaga Community College prior to his arrival at SU, crowds are often less of the half of SU students despite the proximity, organizers said.

“It’s the people and the atmosphere that make this place so special. Nowhere else is it like this,” said local fan Connor Knight. “Every time I come here, I leave with two new friends.”

• • •

The second day of the festival started as chaotic as the first. The first act, hardcore band Misfire, snapped a bass string and a guitar strap during their performance, ending their short set like the first act a day earlier. After that, they smashed their car window while putting away their gear. Glyn dubbed it the “curse of the first act”, but the remaining seven groups performed as well as the other eight the night before.

The first problems only added to the stress of the organizers. Not only did they sell around 100 tickets for each night, but a local police crackdown on house music venues kept Misita on her toes.

Two on-campus residence halls were shut down by police in the week leading up to the festival. No cops stopped by The Blue Room on its final weekend, though a hidden police cruiser sent Misita into crisis mode on the second day of the festival. This is one of the reasons why he wants to move to legit and legal places.

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