Young Camelot is a DIY house venue for local and touring bands coming through Logan Square. The operators of the venue turned their 5-bedroom apartment into a space to showcase up-and-coming acts.
Though Young Camelot has grown in popularity, its owners were recently given an eviction notice and asked to leave their current space. Despite this notice, Young Camelot is looking to continue their work elsewhere.
DIY Space in Chicago
The venue was created two years ago under the name of Gahye House by Joey Eichler and his former roommate, David Seeber. After a successful first show, they opted to continue with the venue, hosting about two shows a month. Over the past summer, along with a roommate swap, the venue officially became Young Camelot.
Today, the operators of Young Camelot are motivated to stay open by what they say is a problem with the Chicago music scene: bands expecting to play unsuccessful shows with very little in return.
“[Young Camelot] exists because of this problem that Chicago has,” says Christian Swafford, one of the recording engineers for Young Camelot. “If venues take advantage of all the artists they can, then there is going to be a counter that, and the counter is the DIY culture.”
“We’re not the only one’s doing this either,” says Matthew Uribe, known to most as Honey Hole Johnson, one of the operators of Young Camelot.
Uribe adds. “There are scores of people in every neighborhood of Chicago doing [something similar]. And what you’re witnessing right now is a change in consciousness and a change in cultural and economic power held by the communities.”
Despite their issues with many venues around Chicago, the guys who run Young Camelot say there are some venues such as Cole’s and the Mutiny who are providing artists with the proper help that they deserve.
“The idea is that bands should be able to play good shows, be paid a decent amount of money, and get the exposure that they’re looking for,” says Eichler.
Documenting the Chicago Music Scene
Aside from just hosting live performances, the operators at Young Camelot also provide bands with high quality live recordings of their shows.
Graham, guitar and vocalist for the Thons, heard about Young Camelot through their recordings.
“I first heard of Young Camelot from a recording post on Bandcamp of the Peekaboos earlier this year. I thought it sounded really, really good. Like it captured the energy of a live show perfectly.”
The original idea to start recording the live shows at Young Camelot was to put the recordings on tape and have them immediately available after the show for bands to sell. Though that idea never took off, the guys from Young Camelot decided to record the shows anyway to help support local artists in other ways aside from live shows.
“Recording the shows just seemed like a normal, natural extension of hosting live shows,” says Uribe. “So why should we record them? We should record them, honestly just to record them, so this time in Chicago’s history can be documented. We have the opportunity with the technology that exists today to document and record the things that we experience and the things that we find beautiful.”
The Future of Young Camelot
Recently the operators were given an eviction notice and asked to move out of their space. However, the landlord has not cited the shows as being a reason for the eviction.
“The landlord of the building says he wants to open up a bar but in order for the apartment above to be up to code, he would have to build an elevated walkway above the back patio connecting the back porch of our apartment to the alley. He does not want to do this,” says Uribe.
Even before this notice, there have been talks about expanding the Young Camelot business model and trying to find a new place to host shows.
“We have a couple different ideas of how to expand the model and grow,” says Eichler. “But it’s hard because we don’t want to be in a position where we have to become money grubbers either.”
Uribe echoes the importance of keeping the space DIY.
“How do we grow and maintain ethical relationships with the artists that make this place worth coming to? That’s what is essential to the Young Camelot philosophy,” says Uribe.
The tenants were given their eviction notice a day after their interview with LoganSquarist. But as Uribe told LoganSquarist before the notice arrived, the possibility of an eviction was always on the horizon.
“We very well might get evicted from this building for doing what we do here. But, the fact of the matter is that my entire adult life I’ve spent doing shows like this, going to shows like this, and playing shows like this. So we might get evicted and we might have to move from this location, but that’s not going to stop us from doing what we do and that’s not going to stop all of our friends from continuing to showcase their talents in their houses.”