As a college student, checking out your town’s music scene is a necessity, but regularly shelling out the cash for concert tickets to see your favorite bands can be near impossible. Luckily, WOW Hall, a music venue on 8th Avenue and Lincoln Street, offers an alternative option — volunteering in order to get free entry to shows. Along with seeing free music, WOW Hall also offers the opportunity to get more involved in the Eugene community.

Initially a building for the Woodmen of the World fraternal organization in the late 1800s, the iconic white cement structure has been a part of Eugene’s history for a long time. As a music venue, WOW Hall is going into its 41st year of existence and has had a large impact on Eugene’s music scene over the decades.

The venue has been host to a variety of acts, from bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Yo La Tengo to artists like Macklemore and Tyler the Creator. Along with providing a space for bands large and small to perform, WOW Hall also pushes for Eugene residents to get more involved in the active arts and culture scene.

According to volunteer coordinator Laura Farrelly, WOW Hall has over a few hundred active volunteers, but is always looking for more.

“We couldn’t survive without volunteers, I mean, we just couldn’t,” said Farrelly of the non-profit venue. Unlike other venues in town who have paid security and staff, WOW Hall relies entirely on its volunteers to take tickets, check IDs and act as security for the venue.

Volunteers also have the option to train in controlling the lights, monitors and sound for shows. 

WOW Hall offers volunteer opportunities outside of working at concerts, such as helping with spring cleaning and landscaping or even writing for WOW Hall Notes, the venue’s monthly newsletter.

Along with being a resume builder or a requirement for a class project, which Farrelly says brings a lot of college-aged volunteers to the venue, WOW Hall’s volunteer program has more long-lasting effects on both a personal and communal level.

“There’s so many skills that college students can pick up, especially if they’re new to town,” said Farrelly. “I know for a fact that it has helped volunteers who might be a little shy to come into their own and meet like-minded folks who are into the same kind of music and art they are.

“Another perk is just getting access to all this amazing, diverse art,” said Farrelly, “I think that’s pretty essential and important.”

For Farrelly, WOW Hall stresses the necessity of community as well as being a safe space for everyone to enjoy live music.

“It’s an all-ages venue, so we have families volunteering sometimes, so it’s sort of like a family affair in that sense,” said Farrelly.

WOW Hall’s next volunteer orientation is on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. at 291 W. 8th Ave. The orientation takes about one hour and trainings occur monthly. Information about volunteer opportunities is available on the WOW Hall’s website.

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