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Lo-Fi takes over Cherokee Street

On Saturday, crowds gathered for the marathon that is the annual Lo-Fi Cherokee, a unique event that combines music, videography and the community of Cherokee Street.

If you’ve never attended the Lo-Fi Cherokee event, the day plays out like this: starting at 9 a.m., a team takes on the task of shooting 19 concert-style music videos for 19 bands in various businesses along Cherokee. Crowds of on-lookers come and go to watch the bands perform, some following along all day, others drifting in and out.

With a clear spring sky above, Saturday’s group started out the day at Flowers and Weeds, with the opening act the Nick Gusman Band kicking things off. The last act of the night, Sorry Scout, went on at 7 p.m.

Exhausted, some of the group then took refuge at Off Broadway on Lemp Ave. for the wrap party. Band and crew members, organizers and supporters gathered around to share a drink to celebrate a successful day of music-making.

Lo-Fi Cherokee grew out of a “series of discussions,” said organizer Bill Streeter of Hydraulic Pictures. Before Lo-Fi, Streeter used to shoot one-take music videos after hours at the City Museum. Then, later, when Tower Groove Records asked him to create a series of videos to promote their compilation record, he and the musicians got the idea to shoot them all in one day.

“[Someone] was just like, ‘Do you think you could do them all in one day?’ and I was just like, ‘No! No we cannot,’” said Streeter. Ultimately, however, he decided to accept the challenge, and Lo-Fi Cherokee was born.

Back in 2012, the first year of the event, it actually a public event, but Streeter said they had interested parties following them up and down Cherokee anyway. Seven years later, the event has now turned into what he calls, “a roving party.”

“It’s sort of evolved over the years,” he said. Streeter called this year a success, saying he was “surprised at the crowds,” as they can vary year to year and acknowledged that good weather can play a huge part in attracting people down to Cherokee.

But the fun of Lo-Fi doesn’t stop here, especially not for Streeter, who will now spend the next month editing all of the music videos in preparation. He said though he’s likely to have rough cuts of most of the videos within the first week or so, the process involves quite a bit of editing and re-editing continuously before the videos are ready to launch in June at the premiere party, after which they’ll be released twice a week over the course of the following two months.

As for next year, Streeter said he’s ready to take another stab at Lo-Fi in 2020.

“I’ll probably step away from it at some point,” he said. “I would like to turn it over to somebody eventually. I feel like ten years might be enough for me.”

That, of course, is a concern for the future. As for now, Streeter has plenty of videos to edit.

Samantha Auch

Sam Auch graduated from Knox College, where she studied Theater and Gender Studies. Outside her work with The Northsider, she works as an actor, playwright, and artist. You can found out more about her at her website

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