Faces of the Fort:  Matt Kelley

Faces of the Fort: Matt Kelley

Matt Kelley of One Lucky Guitar continues to turn up in lots of discussions about live music and creativity in Fort Wayne.  Owner of One Lucky Guitar, Matt and his small performance venue The B-side have turned up in two separate posts in our recent featured articles. Tom Boyer’s article about the Bomb Shelter and our recent feature on the Damien Jurado performance led us to Matt’s front door.  So we thought it was time to catch up with an influential member of the creative community in Fort Wayne. What message would you like to send to artists, musicians, and other creative people who may be reluctant to move to Fort Wayne? I say, come on over. I think you can get lost in the sea in some bustling metropolis or arts hotbed, and just try to stand out, or more likely, fit in. In Fort Wayne, there are plenty of opportunities to be a non-conformist—and to be supported for being one! You can very quickly become networked artistically and professionally, and find collaborators who are interested in building things up, doing great work and defying expectations, instead of just tearing things down. If you put in the work and put in the hustle, you can be part of a mo vement that’s going to be in The History Center someday. That’s pretty great.   What is the most exciting or interesting thing happening in Fort Wayne? I think more and more silos are crumbling. It’s a battle every day, of course, but I think you can feel a “stronger together” and  “all boats rise” mindset becoming more and more the norm, and so you see some non-traditional pairings of organizations or entities that are really pretty incredible and powerful. This ranges from arts and culture groups to musicians and performers to business development entities. I love it when we can get beyond the ego (or business model) that demands we get credit at all expense, to the point where one would rather something fail than not get credit for it. That’s thinking with a ’90s, Okay, maybe ’80s, brain. I went on that Regional Exchange: Cincinnati trip and one of the biggest takeaways for me was the way many of their organizations had adopted a “We want credibility, not credit” mindset. It was an eye-opener…like getting a bucket of cold water dumped on you. And it made me smile when I reflected on similar things starting to happen here in Northeast Indiana.   How long have you been hosting shows at the B-side? Tell me a little bit about the process of booking an artist. I used to go for...

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