Throughout the past 40 years, Cat’s Cradle has hosted some of the biggest names in music. While the number of national tours that come through the Cradle is high, Cat’s finds it equally important to support local music.
“It is part of our mission to work with local artists. I’ve found that there are just as many performers that rise out of this area as anywhere,” said owner Frank Heath.
With the venue’s location being so close to campus, co-directors of the ConvergeNC Southern Music Festival, Gabe Chess and Libby Rodenbough, saw Cat’s Cradle as the ideal location for performers Mipso and Chris Eldridge in this year’s second festival.
The addition of a performance at Cat’s Cradle is one of the major changes to this year’s installment of the festival. In 2013, ConvergeNC was a one-day event held at the Belltower Amphitheater on campus. This year, ConvergeNC is split up across three separate days.
Starting today, student acts Clockwork Kids and Eleve will perform for free in front of Morehead Planetarium. Tomorrow, Mipso and Chris Eldridge will perform at the Cradle, and on Saturday, eight different acts will share a bill at the Bell Tower Amphitheater. According to Chess, Cat’s Cradle was a great fit for Friday’s performance because of the venue’s long history.
“I grew up thinking Cat’s was the coolest venue, so it was pretty surreal getting to work with Frank to arrange these two shows,” he said.
Although Chess described booking the venue as a long process in which he had to build credibility, he said Heath was supportive about the vision of ConvergeNC and that the Cradle was very accommodating.
“It has become part of our mission to contribute to the mix between UNC and the surrounding area. There is more of a community vibe in the crowd when it’s a lot of Carolina students,” Heath said.
Friday will be Mipso’s fifth time headlining at Cat’s Cradle. Band members Jacob Sharp, Wood Robinson and Joseph Terrell all attended UNC as undergrads and have expressed that it is still one of their favorite places to play.
“The Cradle is our home venue,” said guitarist Joseph Terrell. “There’s nothing like playing in Chapel Hill for us and having a strong, supporting community.”
The men of Mipso are excited to see how ConvergeNC has expanded. With the addition of a performance at the Cradle, the band said it feels more confident in the festival, as this year is a hybrid of things that they know: a familiar venue and a stronger relationship with ConvergeNC.
“The Cradle compacts so much energy. We always saw our favorite bands here as undergrads, so it is pretty overwhelming to finally perform on the stage after seeing it for so many years,” said mandolin player Jacob Sharp.
With the variety of performers that is brought to the stage, Cat’s Cradle has become a well-respected venue in the area.
“Everybody knows about Cat’s. It is legendary throughout this country,” said Terrell. “But overall, it is the people who end up coming that make it a unique place to play.”
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