Electric Lair giving Austin teens outlet to plug intoPublished 10:43am Thursday, July 11, 2013
A young Austin couple is hoping to electrify things at Oak Park Mall.
Chelsea Farr, 20, and Ian Murphy, 23, are planning to open the Electric Lair — a music and entertainment venue — in the former arcade in Oak Park Mall’s food court area later this month.
“We’re just two kids with jobs who want to start something cool,” said Farr, who also works at the movie theatre and is attending Gustavus Adolphus College.
Murphy and Farr, a couple for six years, have wanted to open a music and entertainment venue for young people for some time, but neither expected it to happen this soon.
“It’s blown up a lot faster than I thought it was going to,” said Murphy, who also works at Applebee’s.
“We didn’t think that we would be able to open something up like this for quite some time, because we’re pretty young,” Farr agreed.
After a whirlwind of securing space at Oak Park Mall, Electric Lair’s grand opening is slated for July 20, with Josh Whalen, Shadowing Eden and other acts set to play. The first show will be free. After that, admission will be $7. Doors will open for shows around 5 p.m., with concerts going from roughly 6 to 11 p.m.
While the Electric Lair will start as a music venue, Farr hopes the site will grow into “just a cool place where anyone came come and hang out.”
Along with music, Farr envisions the venue hosting open mic nights, talent shows, videogame competitions and more — the two even know someone who juggles and does a fire breathing routine.
Murphy hopes the venue will fill a niche in the community and give young people more opportunities for entertainment.
“It’s kind of rough being a teenager, because you want to go to shows, but everything is 21 and over,” Farr said.
Mall manager Shan Kehret said she’s always looking for unique, outside-the-box opportunities to bring new businesses to the mall. She also hopes the Electric Lair will give young people something to do and bring more people to the mall.
“There isn’t anything for kids to do; what better place than to bring it out to the mall,” Kehret said.
Murphy said they’re target audience will be teenagers and college students, but anyone can attend shows at the site.
“I know a lot of 30-somethings that would bring their kids to a rock show just to get them into the music that they like,” Farr said.
The venue will be alcohol, tobacco and drug free. Farr said she hopes it is a place where parents will feel comfortable and safe when their teenage children attend events.
“We want to promote that parents [won’t] have to worry about it,” Murphy said.
Farr and Murphy are pleased with the initial response from the community, as the Electric Lair’s Facebook page got more than 150 likes in three days.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Farr said.
About 25 people from as far as Owatonna, Minneapolis and Iowa have already contacted Farr and Murphy about playing, and Murphy said he has shows booked into August.
The two have interest from metal, folk, rock, rap and other types of music acts.
“We’re trying to get down a wide variety of music,” Murphy said. “We’re trying to appeal to everyone’s tastes.”
When the 2013-14 school year begins, Murphy hopes to attract high school and college bands. They’ll also advertise in Albert Lea, Owatonna, Rochester, Blooming Prairie and around the area.
Much of the mall will be closed when shows begin, but stores like Shopko, Legacy Comic and the movie theatre will still be open. Murphy and Farr said they think they’re far enough away that noise won’t be a problem.
Farr said they’re not trying to be competitive or noisy and they want to be supportive of other mall businesses.
“We’re just trying to bring people back into the mall,” she said.
Kehret said she’s not concerned about noise being a problem.