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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
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Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal WiertellaMarch 1, 2024

Organization keeps local music alive and well

It’s a notion that is perhaps all too familiar for those living and working in times of economic despondency: if you want to see something happen, sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself.

When Marquette’s largest music venue, the Upfront and Company, closed last year, that very attitude drove senior graphic communication major Nick Erickson to create Flonk, a local organization dedicated to keeping local music alive and well.

“A lot of musicians and music fans in town were upset that shows were going to be happening less,” Erickson said.

Erickson and others from around town began searching for a solution to combat the issue of losing one of Marquette’s most iconic venues.

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“We started booking shows at places like the Women’s Federated Clubhouse and the [Upper Peninsula] Children’s Museum,” Erickson said. “The great thing about these places is that shows can be all-ages, which is something that hasn’t been common in recent years.”

Erickson said other places around town, such as Ore Dock Brewing Co., have let Flonk hold benefit concerts to raise money for programs at the U.P. Children’s Museum.

While NMU-affiliated organizations like Northern Arts and Entertainment and First Aid Productions serve a larger audience, Erickson said Flonk is able to operate on its own terms.

“I feel that Flonk has a lot more freedom than a student group because we don’t have to worry about meeting expectations other than our own,” Erickson said. “If we want to book a bank that we think is interesting, we’ll book them. It doesn’t matter if 300 college students show up, what matters is that the people who want to see those sorts of bands get the opportunity to.”

Flonk currently has two shows scheduled for May. On Friday, May 3, the Chicago-based band MUTTS will perform at the U.P. Children’s Museum with local bands Kiddy/Wompus and Pioneer Parade as openers.

“I can probably best describe them as piano-driven, blues-tinged indie rock,” Erickson said.

Tyler Dettloff, who plays in Kiddy/Wompus, said Flonk allows more people in the community to get out and see shows.

“Independent groups like Flonk that organize shows with local and regional groups bring out true music lovers,” Dettloff said. “While traditional bar venues help share music with a wide variety of listeners, Flonk helps organize a chance for local audiophiles to see performances.”

The difference between playing in a bar and a venue makes a difference from the musician’s standpoint, Dettloff said.

“It removes the pressure of, ‘Make them buy more drinks,’” Dettloff said. “That can influence a band’s set at bars — Flonk sets up an opportunity for bands to play the way they want to be heard.”

As a musician who plays regularly around town, Dettloff said Marquette has a pretty open-minded approach toward live music.

“Marquette has welcomed our experimental three-piece,” Dettloff said. “I’m glad most people don’t mind that I play snare with a spatula-rigged hi-hat stand[…]other bands in town seem to champion innovative music, and that’s good — it keeps the air fresh.”

On Friday, May 10, Flonk will be hosting the return of the Marquette-based M.SORD at the Women’s Federated Clubhouse, with The Chanteymen and Lip Bomb as openers.

“If you aren’t hip to M.SORD by now, you’ll just have to come to the show to see him,” Erickson said.

For more information about the organization or for updates on shows, visit the Flonk Facebook page at

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