Pop Up Charleston: A Retrospective

How Pop Up changed the CHS house show scene forever.

Holy City Beat | Brantley Lansberry | April 18, 2016

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In February of 2014, roommates Peter Spearman and Matt Navey, along with their friend Addi Green, decided to put on a house show at their Kevsco Alley apartment. Astounded by the success of that show, they decided to make a series of it. Over the course of that semester, the trio attracted some insanely talented artists from across the country (including Family and Friends and Slow Runner’s Michael Flynn) to play their Kevsco apartment shows. Not only did they manage to get some amazing acts to their series, but they also garnered an extremely dedicated fan base. Spearman, Navey and Green created a local arena that allowed anyone to experience live music, unlike most other venues in Charleston that require you to be over 21 to enter. Ten shows, six months and an expired lease later, the Kevsco Series came to an end, but it was really just the beginning.

Spearman and Navey left Kevsco and moved to 6A Hanover, which is now known as “The Pink Palace.” Rather than calling it quits, the trio, along with their newest member Katie Jones, decided to start a new generation of house shows. “We realized that we could and should use other spaces. It allows everyone to take ownership of the scene,” said Spearman. Unlike the Kevsco Series, where every show was held in the same place, the group would hold the new Pop-Up Charleston shows in a different location each time.

Over the course of the next two years, Pop-Up Charleston grew in a way that no one could have imagined. Using only social media for promotion, the Pop-Up team continuously managed to draw massive crowds to apartments across the city. Pop-Up had developed a very dedicated fan-base, a community of music lovers who would consistently attend the shows. One member of this community, Holden Curran, was added to the Pop-Up Charleston team in the fall of 2015.

The Pop Up Team
The Pop Up Team

With an average of two shows each month, Pop-Up attracted the attention of musicians from around the world. Bands would constantly send samples of their music in the hopes of landing a coveted Pop-Up show. The team will openly admit that they have their favorites, as evidenced by bands like Heyrocco, ET Anderson and Steven Fiore playing numerous shows. One thing is for sure, the Pop-Up team never failed to find new and interesting artists to play their shows. Pop-Up made it their goal to showcase a huge variety of genres: projects that they featured ranged from angry girl-rock bands like Daddy Issues to mellow, experimental electronic musicians like Infinitikiss. Pop-Up even managed to go global, with Australian artist Caitlin Harnett playing a show last November with the High Divers.

Pop-Up Charleston has had a massive impact on the Charleston house show community, a scene once reserved almost exclusively for hardcore shows is now open to all genres. “I think that because the Kevsco Alley and Pop-Up shows were the first of their kind, they showed everyone that putting on house shows and attending house shows is fun,” said Jones, the newest member to the Pop-Up team. Smaller house show collectives like Makeout Reef, The Butter Complex and Goon Lagoon have appeared recently, proving that the Charleston house show scene will remain solid in Pop-Up’s absence.

After 43 shows, Pop-Up Charleston is sadly coming to an end. However, it won’t leave without one last hurrah. On April 30th, the Pop-Up crew will be holding their Series Finale at Palmetto Brewery. Corey Kilgannon, Triathalon, Liza Anne, Heyrocco and ET Anderson will be rocking it out from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. as we say goodbye to Pop-Up. It is an event you truly will not want to miss, so go show some love to the people who have given us such great times over the past few years.


Make sure to follow @PopUpCharleston on Instagram and Facebook for updates on the final Pop-Up event at Palmetto Brewery.