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B-Side Magazine is connecting local bands, venues and audiences

This local mag has some big plans.
Credit: B-Side magazine

BOISE, Idaho — Kristin Birt has been tiptoeing her way into the local music scene ever since she got stuck here during the covid lockdown while visiting her parents. She's the host of a weekly show on Radio Boise called "Up in Your Mind Flowers," is a music photographer, founder of B-Side Magazine and just opened a store called Foggy Notion

"The name of the magazine comes from the b-side of a record," Birt said. "I always like the b-side of records more, like not the top hit but the more obscure songs on the other side. Starting the magazine came from me seeing so many bands that went unnoticed here in the music scene and I started to get frustrated hearing about bands playing after their shows."

So Birt decided she was going to put something together. B-Side Magazine is just online now but she has plans to start printing. So far, the website is pretty comprehensive of the local music scene in Boise and Brit is also going to expand information from the whole Treasure Valley. B-Side has a calendar of all the local bands performances, a full list of venues, a list of local sound techs and studios, lists of music and music gear stores, photos and local band profiles. 

The mag just got a sponsorship from Surel's Place, a local organization started in honor of artist Surel Mitchell. It supports art and artists from all over the nation and is a huge part of Idaho's art scene. B-Side also has a Kickstarter fundraiser.

She said that she spends all week curating the music for her show on Radio Boise, the premise is obscure bands that slipped under the radar in the 60s and 70s, and she thought about how that keeps happening now too. The online mag launched on Dec. 1. Birt said she's gotten a great response from local artists, there are already more than 90 local bands that have uploaded their profiles to the website, and it's all for free.

"I wanted to provide a space for the shows and audience but mostly for local bands," Birt said. "They can create their own profiles with links to their music and we added a connect button so anyone can reach out to them, both fans and people or venues that might want to book them. It's all done at no charge to the bands."

In the future, Birt will also have music articles and said that she's already recruited some local writers. She said, since starting the project, she's learned about so many bands and styles coming out of the area and that some of them felt like they couldn't get a toehold anywhere in the scene... something that B-Side is helping with.

"So many bands have responded since we launched the magazine," Birt said. "One person told me it's been inspiring them to start making music again because B-Side is giving them more of a platform."

Birt ran a poll with local artists, asking them what they felt was the biggest hurdle for them in the local music scene. She said that she got three answers more than anything else: a lack of audience, the venue not marketing the show and feeling like an outsider to the dominant music scene.

"My goal is to provide a platform that connects the audience, the venues and the bands, like an anti-algorithm," Birt said. "Like, not to tell people what they should listen to or like, just providing the information so that people can decide what they want to listen to or see without differential preference. It's not my decision to say what's good or not, it's subjective."

Credit: B-Side Magazine

Birt also just opened Foggy Notion on 1528 S. Vista in Boise. It's a multi-vendor community space that sells clothes, coffee and art. It has a central living room like space in the front of the store for people to hang out or bands to give interviews. There is also a room in the back that Birt plans to turn into a community darkroom.

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