What trends did you notice in your 2019 event coverage?
Lauren Andrews: I’ve noticed an increase in fundraisers benefiting individual community members. From smaller jams to raise money for a friend’s medical bill or traffic tickets to charities created to boost animal welfare, our community has rallied to extend talent and time to help our neighbors.
Deborah Robertson: Some of the outlying communities that surround Asheville are taking better advantage of the substantial reach of the Community Calendar. I am pleased to see a lot more events taking place on the edges of our distribution area. I love seeing what’s happening in Burnsville. They hold a Luthier Invitational Festival as well as a Mountain Literary Festival, which featured Charles Frazier in 2019.
What event(s) did/do you look forward to covering the most this year?
DR: I’m always eager to see what Revolve studio and gallery has planned. Their events are edgy and innovative. Some of this year’s highlights included the panel discussion A Full-bodied Discussion of the Sex Work Spectrum; Dear Satyr (an evening of erotic spoken word); and the exhibit Flags on the Floor and Other Popular Transgressions.
What has changed about how you cover your section in 2019?
LA: This year we extended our Clubland coverage to include two features and introduced “Local Love,” giving dedicated space to a WNC artist or group in each week’s issue and allowing for more diversity of coverage.
DR: More people are entering their own events into our online SceneThink portal. This seems to have empowered our readers and users of the Community Calendar. It’s an opportunity to enter photos illustrating their event, which improves both the appeal of the event and the aesthetics of our events page.
What’s the weirdest/wackiest Asheville event you covered in 2019?
DR: I loved covering the concert by Brooklyn duo Charming Disaster, which was held at Julyan Davis’ studio for the opening of his Murder Ballad exhibition of paintings at Weizenblatt Gallery. I don’t know how the stars aligned to get these two noir story-singers to Asheville, but it was a polished performance delivered by Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris. Audience members selected random tarot cards, and the singers performed songs they’d written to correspond to each image.
How do you anticipate growing your coverage in 2020?
LA: Our readers vote the Community Calendar and our entertainment coverage as some of their favorite parts of the paper in the Best of WNC poll each year. I think we’ll continue to expand on our diversity of coverage and begin to introduce creative ideas, adding more value to our digital reporting.
DR: Because I’m seeing so many events on the fringes of our community, I plan to reach out to more local nonprofits and arts organizations to encourage them to get their events included in the Community Calendar.