By Sophia Balasubramanian
Meet “thegoodshowsaz” – the protective older siblings of Arizona's music scene.
The account works to disrupt the music industry's lack of diversity and tendency to promote problematic artists while providing a safe space for marginalized musicians and audience members alike in the local music community.
Run by Bailey Pyritz, a junior studying digital culture, and Ryan Avery, a longtime member of the Phoenix music community, the account is the successor of a website by the same name.
Avery had previously co-run a website focused on ska shows in Arizona and started The Good Shows website in 2004 to appeal to a wider audience.
The original blog lost traction in the early 2010s with the arrival of Facebook Events, and even now, the new Instagram account is hesitant to post more shows due to increasing concern over the coronavirus pandemic.
As such, the account has shifted gears to provide advice on avoiding COVID-19 at music events and tips on running house venues during a pandemic.
Avery found the inspiration for restarting the site after talking with a friend.
Recalling the conversation, Avery said that as an older member of the community, they are now “responsible to provide a space for a younger generation of weirdos.”
There are three requirements that make “thegoodshowsaz” true to its name. To be accessible, every show had to be under $15, open to all ages, and something that was worth going to.
For Pyritz, having shows open for all ages is a big priority.
“A lot of venues are 21-plus, and they have punk shows there, and it’s kind of killing the scene, because really what keeps the scene alive is the kids and the youth," Pyritz said.
This iteration of the project, which was renewed in July, maintains its original purpose of creating a safe, welcoming space for newcomers and veterans alike with an extra emphasis on safety.
Ava Fox, a senior studying sustainability, as well as a band member and concert-goer, said the scene should support artists, not people using its bands as a tool for social clout.
"thegoodshowsaz" tries to promote only artists with no history of misconduct or bigotry. Bands that threaten the safety of the scene are not promoted on the site, Pyritz said.
“The space was made for white men, by white men, and I just think that’s something that needs to go away,” Pyritz said.
They want to bring more activism to the project by creating a space where the account's audience can celebrate art without fear of encountering racism, homophobia and misogyny.
”It’s OK to stand up for yourself, and it's OK to stand up for what you believe in and the changes you want to see,” Pyritz said.
Neither Fox nor Pyritz tolerates anyone with a history of misconduct at an event. Both work to make everyone aware of their presence in the scene — for Pyritz, through the account, and for Fox, on stage as a performer.
Fox said that in order to promote the bands that deserve attention, the community needs to regulate itself.
She said she supports “thegoodshowsaz” because she feels it highlights the beneficial aspects of the scene so that younger people and those from marginalized communities can safely interact with their favorite artists.
Fox said that it’s vital to create a safe environment in the first place, rather than policing future events for harmful actions. “To help a community, you do something first,” Fox said.