South Lake Tahoe has been bubbling with music this winter, but not in the places you would expect. Since the beginning of the year, quality DJ’s and bands have been ripping for crowds at Xhale Bar & Lounge in Stateline and at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course in Meyers. These grassroots, boutique concerts are all a part of the FNCTN Winter Music Series (pronounced Function) and are becoming a great way to bring music lovers from Lake Tahoe together to celebrate great live music and the Tahoe community as a whole.
Recently, one of the co-founders of FNCTN, Leslie Schultz, graciously sat down with Tahoe Onstage at Sprouts Cafe to discuss the purpose of the FNCTN Winter Music Series and how it all started.
Schultz is a South Lake Tahoe local, enthusiastic supporter of live music, and she believed something was missing from the local music scene. “FNCTN started back in July,” Schultz said. “It was just an idea to try and create some music in this town. Something fun for people to do that was affordable and different. There’s not really a consistent, ongoing thing that brings great bands in and DJ’s from out of town that people want to see. So what is a girl to do?
Schultz reached out to friends Mike Peron of Lake Tahoe TV and Nick Rogers of PR Entertainment and Bass Camp Festival to brainstorm just how they would go about starting a music series in South Lake Tahoe. But throwing a raging party with DJ’s and bands wasn’t all Schultz and company wanted to achieve. “I’ve seen how Live at Lakeview has brought our community together every week and it kind of becomes a thing, like, ‘Oh, it’s Thursday that is what I am gonna go do.’ We wanted people to feel that way, like, ‘Oh there is a FNTCN show, awesome, everyone I know is going to be there, I gotta go.’ … It is not just about music, we are not just throwing a show. This is something for the community to enjoy,” Schultz said.
So the three amigos set about constructing their vision for the series. They knew they wanted to have two separate types of shows so everyone could find something to enjoy, so they decided to split the concerts into electronic DJ’s and live bands. Now they needed two venues to spread the music across South Lake Tahoe. After a couple venues initially fell through, they were delighted to find homes at the newly renovated Xhale Bar & Lounge and the Lake Tahoe Golf Course, both of which had been looking for ways to incorporate live music into its business plan. Xhale would host the DJ’s and the golf course would host live bands, four shows each.
FNCTN began Jan. 9, with a show at Xhale featuring Roger That!, Zebuel, and headliner Vice Versa. The South Lake Golf Course got its party started two weeks later with Big Sticky Mess and Forrest Day. Subsequent concerts have featured Shoe Scene Symphony, 40 Watt Hype, and Wilks.
It takes a village to raise a grassroots music series and Schultz was very thankful for all of the support local companies and bands have given FNCTN, and added that she loved how intertwined the series has become with the community. Schultz noted that while most shows feature a regional act as a headliner, they book local South Lake Tahoe acts to open the shows, in order to give a spotlight on the acts cruising the local music scene. Furthermore, local artist Will Eichelberger has recently been doing live paintings at shows.
Schultz also wanted to acknowledge all of the local companies that have partnered with FNCTN to see it through its first year, which include Tahoe Blue Vodka, Tahoe Hemp Company, Keep Tahoe Blue, Powder House, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort , Black Jack Taxi, On Course Events, Tahoe Onstage, Live By The Lake, Lake Tahoe TV, and Bass Camp Festival.
The FNCTN Winter Music Series has been gaining steam as the weeks have progressed and each show is drawing larger crowds. Schultz said she was delighted when a stranger unknowingly asked her on the ski lift if she was going to the show at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course later that night. The eventual goal for the series is to have 300-400 person shows. But Schultz is happy with where FNCTN is now and what it is doing for the community.
”Our main thing we wanted to do was to have something fun to go do,” she said. “We are not interested in making money for ourselves. Obviously that would be great, that is what everyone goes into business for, but that is not where we started with it.”
Looking toward the rest of the series, Schultz said she was most excited about the upcoming Scott Pemberton Trio and Black Star Safari show at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course on Friday, March 20. She loved how sonically well matched the two bands were and said it should be a great combination of funk, rock, and blues. When asked to identify a highlight of the series, Schultz couldn’t pinpoint one instant specifically, but certainly knew when she was happiest. “For me, the highlight is when the golf course shows are in full swing, and there is just people everywhere dancing and having fun, the fire pit is going outside, Will is painting. That’s rad.”
FNCTN Winter Music Series
March 20 at Lake Tahoe Golf Course: Scott Pemberton Trio, Black Star Safari
April 3 at Xhale Bar & Lounge: Hardkiss, Max Kronyak, Benja Ninja
April 17 at Lake Tahoe Golf Course: Nurelix, 4 Piece Puzzle
Link to learn more about FNCTN Winter Music Series: FNCTN
ABOUT Garrett Bethmann
Garrett Bethmann is a graduate of University of Mary Washington with a degree in English. An eight-year resident of Lake Tahoe, he now lives in Denver, Colorado.