Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t. To some it’s a mystery, to others it’s their favorite weird place to see live music.
The Shitty Barn started as an eclectic series of music shows in a leaky former pig barn in Spring Green. With its bring-your-own-chair and grill-your-own-dinner vibe and a deep-rooted love for design spearheaded and cultivated for many years by our friend and design colleague Erin Fuller, it has grown over the years into a venue where musicians clamor to perform. The barn sells out the majority of its shows in each summer series, with an extensive collection of gig posters designed by talented artists from all over. It’s a labor of love kind of deal, for everyone involved. We’ve seen some really incredible shows there, sometimes big-name artists in a packed, yet intimate setting, other times being introduced to local or far-flung musicians we hadn’t yet seen, but who are now some of our favorites.
Each year is different — you still have to bring your own chair if you want a guaranteed seat, and the grill has been replaced by local organic food from Enos Farms. Some of the musicians that played gigs there multiple years running have moved on, those shows living in memory, while amazing new talent is still coming through the doors for the first time. The roof still leaks, and the bats still get in. The walls are papered with an ever-growing display of all of the gig posters ever designed, and it’s quite the collection, created by 51 talented designers thus far.
Our team has been lucky to add to that collection over the years. Tracy is one of the more seasoned alumni of the curated series, and has contributed 24 posters since she volunteered for her first one in 2011. Last year, when Erin retired from her post as poster curator maven after seven years, Tracy took the helm.
Other Cricketeers have volunteered as well. We love this kind of work, as it’s always challenging to design something without a brief. Often when we can do whatever we want for a project, the options are so boundless that it has the potential to lead to design paralysis! But it’s a good exercise to push through that creative block and just make it, and this usually lets us stretch our creative muscles in ways that we otherwise might not be able to with more parameters or more art direction. We experiment and try new things, and this in turn makes our approach to client work better. Plus, the musicians are always grateful that someone put energy into making something beautiful for their show, and it’s inspiring to be a part of a project like this, with so much diverse talent represented, so much skin in the game, so much love, friendship and community at its core.
The barn is dormant for the winter right now, but we’re dreaming of the next season, warm (or stormy) summer nights in a barn with friends, good beer, good food, good music, surrounded by the fruits of our creative labor. It can’t come soon enough. If you’re a music lover and haven’t checked it out, take a look at the season lineup and get thyself out to a show! You won’t regret it, even though it is a bit of a drive. If you’re a designer interested in being part of the poster series family, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with a link to some work samples. She’s always looking for great talent!