Jack Downey ’23
Practice spaces are just as important for bands as instruments. Without a place to play, bands are unable to grow and flourish. A practice space might be a garage, a living room, a bedroom, or even a professional facility like JamStage in Pawtucket. However, there is a practice space in Providence that is truly something else.
Located on Bissell Street, across the highway from Cranston, this practice space is located in what can only be described as a factory setting. Upon turning onto the street, one is greeted by a looming building with dense walls and indifferent windows. The building is huge, spanning multiple side streets. Driving along the side of it, one will ultimately encounter a docking area for trucks, as well as a sheltered entrance. Within the latter is a steep ramp to a door which requires a key card to open. Once inside, there is a maze of hallways that ultimately leads to the Bissell Street practice space.
This might not sound promising, but the interior of this practice space makes the nondescript locale all the more worth it. The room includes a TV, a couch, plenty of light, and its walls are adorned with posters, drawings, and flyers. It also contains a plethora of sound equipment, including a mixing board with numerous tracks. Notably, such equipment is rarely seen outside of professional venues. The space also boasts many communal amps for guitar and bass available for use, not to mention a fleet of cables so that musicians do not have to bring their own.
The room’s PA system is also state of the art. For instance, microphones connected to the sound board can be equipped with delay and reverb, giving them extra depth. One almost feels as though they are singing their heart out in front of thousands of people. Furthermore, the room’s speakers boast incredible volume.
For those musicians looking for a practice space but concerned about the costs of renting one, fear not: the space on Bissell Street is communally run by the musicians who play there. Although there is a monthly rent payment, the cost is spread out across the tenants of the entire building. Thus, the more bands that utilize this space, the cheaper the rent is. At one point, it was as low as $16 per month, and split amongst band members, that is essentially $4 per person.
Although the Bissell Street practice space is largely off the grid, this does not hinder its quality at all. In addition to all of the aforementioned music-related amenities, it boasts heat during the winter and air conditioning during the summer—and there is a bathroom. Currently, this space is home to bands such as The Keegan Turner Band. Those interested in learning more about it can reach out to Keegan Turner on Instagram (@keeganturner123).