Savannah Scott

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Rock Hill’s local music series the “Concerts at the Courtroom,” which has showcased the talents of local artists for roughly a decade, has moved to a virtual platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The concerts are typically hosted every other Friday at Rock Hill’s Courtroom, located above the Getty’s Art Center on Main Street, but they were paused in March 2020.

In order to keep the music scene alive, Mike Gentry, the creator of the “Concerts at the Courtroom,” has started the “Sidebar Sessions.”

The series encompasses video productions of local artists, which are posted on the social media platforms for “Concerts at the Courtroom,” including YouTube.

“The Arts Council of York County gives me a lot of opportunity to use the Courtroom space to do things…gave me a grant to pay for some of the people who edit those videos and work on those videos,” Gentry said.

“I needed somehow to continue this platform. The real point of it is to give bands some sort of content like video content. This series is a way to give them that same sort of visibility,” he said.

The latest session was released Feb. 16 and featured South Carolina artist and former Winthrop student Leone.

Dionte Darko
Winthrop graduate Dionte Darko, who recently released an album named “Most Likely to Be Forgotten,” has performed for both the “Concerts at the Courtroom” and “Sidebar Sessions” (photo: Savannah Scott).

Some of the local artists that have been highlighted in these videos include Cyan, Ryan Lockhart, This Island Earth, Jo Pastel, Josiah Ali and Dionte Darko.

Darko previously performed at “Concerts at the Courtroom” pre-COVID and said his experience recording the series was different.

“Just having no audience was weird, but it also gave a different feel of performing. I like the Sidebar (Sessions) more…the (series allows us) to go on YouTube and still watch it, even if it’s a performance and you don’t have to miss it.

“But even then that’s the thing about performing if you mess up you mess up in front of an audience and that is that and you have to just keep going.

“With a camera if you mess up, it’s on a camera, that’s it. They can either edit it out or not and it’s in the thing and you don’t know until it’s out,” Darko said.

Despite the perseverance of “Concerts at The Courtroom,” there have been difficulties to keep the sessions alive.

“There’s no income from (it). The Arts Council grant has been very helpful, but it’s a matching grant so I have to put some money into it,” Gentry said.

“I am paying a little bit of money to editors, the videographers are doing it for free, the bands aren’t paid for anything. The videographers, (we) have to work with their schedules and then I have to work with the music editor,” he said.

The Courtroom
The “Concerts at the Courtroom” and “Sidebar Sessions” are performed at Rock Hill’s Courtroom, which is located downtown on Main Street (photo: Savannah Scott).

Micah Troublefield is one of the videographers that has helped film, edit and adjust lighting for the series.

“The biggest thing that is different is I wasn’t doing anything video related (because of) COVID. I feel like the biggest thing for me is if it wasn’t for this I wouldn’t really be doing anything during 2020,” said Troublefield. “It’s important to me to have an artistic thing to kind of (put) time into.”

Shooting video content for the series takes about three to four hours and editing takes five to 10 hours depending on the difficulty of the video, according to Troublefield.

“I’m grateful I was able to do that and I love the local music scene. I really like the idea of being able to showcase what we have in Rock Hill; people wouldn’t see otherwise unless they come to the (concerts),” Troublefield said.

To watch and stay up to date with the Rock Hill music scene, you can follow the “Concerts at the Courtroom” on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.