Bands practicing on FAU parking garage roof receive administrative support

Austen Erblat

To The Earth and their three-times-a-week rehearsal spot. Photo courtesy of Austen Erblat.
To The Earth and their three-times-a-week rehearsal spot. Photo by Austen Erblat.

If you’re looking for a quiet place to study or read, the fifth floor of FAU’s parking garage is not the place. But if you’re a college rock band who needs a place to jam, it’s perfect. It wasn’t always that way though.

Groups like Mylo Ranger and To the Earth, made up of students have been forced out of the parking garages by FAU police officers in the past. Now, administrators know what they’re up to, and are helping them land gigs at events on campus.

It isn’t uncommon to hear the bands practicing and don’t worry, there’s no cover charge to go watch.

Students have wandered up to the garage. to witness the music being made before their eyes. It isn’t often people get to see bands while they practice or create, so it offers students the opportunity to discover a new band made up of fellow students while they practice.

To the Earth is one of the bands using the space, isolation, and power outlets to practice on the fifth floor of Parking Garage 1, near the S.E. Wimberly Library and the College of Education. They are one of many bands made up of students, who simply don’t have the space or money to practice anywhere else. The members of To The Earth describe themselves as a combination of Incubus and The Grateful Dead.

“I always heard that Mylo Ranger practiced up there,” Cari Giard, Sophomore Commercial Music major and bass player for To The Earth said.

Mylo Ranger, another band of FAU students, have been practicing on the parking garage roof for almost two years, according to lead singer and guitarist, Myles Patrick.

The UP previously reported Mylo Ranger’s rehearsals in October 2012 and followed them to multiple garage-practices and concerts.

FAU University Police officers patrol the areas where these bands practice and will usually drive by, without saying anything to the musicians. Sometimes officers stand by to listen, or even pick up drum sticks to jam out for a few minutes.

But depending on the officer, FAU PD sometimes takes issue with the presence or the volume of the bands. More times than Mylo Ranger’s members can count, police officers have told them to turn down the volume. And in the past, officers have forced the bands to stop playing and leave the garage, according to Jake Stuart, guitarist of Electric Fences.

During those incidents, the officers also questioned them, ran their ID’s, and on one occasion, frisked the students in Mylo Ranger during a May 9th practice.

Mylo Ranger has a practice session cut short by FAU University Police on May 9. Photo Courtesy of Jason Hester.
Mylo Ranger has a practice session cut short by FAU University Police on May 9. Photo Courtesy of Jason Hester.

FAU Boca campus officer, Sergeant Mary Douglas pulled up, flashed her squad car lights, and kept her hand on her firearm as she approached the band. She shined her flashlight in the band members’ faces, shouted orders, and called for backup. Douglas stopped them, made them leave, and threatened the students with code of conduct charges, according to the members of Mylo Ranger and Electric Fences.

“She had her hand on her gun, ready to draw, the moment she got out of the car. For a moment I was worried she had gone to the wrong garage and was missing a break-in or something,” Jason Hester, drummer for Mylo Ranger, recalled. “We had tried to explain to her that we had been playing there for over a year and she dismissed it as a lie or being made up.”

Sgt. Douglas threatened Hester with a trespassing charge if she saw him there again, according to Hester.

On Thursday, June 27, however, administrators heard To the Earth practicing for a performance they had the next night at the Funky Buddha Lounge. AJ Einbinder, a representative from Student Government, rode up to the fifth floor to see the band. He told them that there were administrators watching a comedy show downstairs who wanted to meet the band members.

Alex Edmunds, a Junior Commercial Music major, guitarist and lead singer of To The Earth thought they had to leave at this point. Edmunds went down to meet Charles Brown, Sr. Vice President of Student Affairs and Mike Burdman, Student Involvement & Leadership Coordinator.

Alternative Rock/Jam band, To The Earth practicing in the parking garage. Photo Courtesy of Ryan Murphy.
Alternative Rock/Jam band, To The Earth practicing in the parking garage. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

Burdman and Brown both said they were really interested in what they were doing. They asked how often To The Earth practices there and if they ever get bothered by the cops. They explained that they loved hearing the bands play and that it was a “breath of fresh air,” according to Edmunds.

Burdman, in an email interview with the UP, explained that he had not ever heard of bands ever practicing on campus.

“When we first realized that it was actually a live band practicing and not a loud car stereo I said to the group of us listening how cool and different I thought it was,” Burdman said. “A person whom I look up to once told me ‘if you want to see something you have never seen before, visit a college campus.’ I guess he was right!”

Burdman expressed interest in booking To The Earth for some gigs on campus and asked for their phone numbers and email addresses. Now, the band is playing a show at the Live Oak Pavillion on July 13th at 8 PM.

“As long as they are following university policy and not breaking any rules or laws they can do anything they want” Burdman said in an email. “In fact, I totally support students thinking outside the box and finding creative ways to make the most out of the University campus. Practicing in the parking garage was a great idea.”

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What: Coffee House Concert

Where: Live Oak Pavillion (North of the Student Union)

When: Saturday July 13, at 8 PM

Cost: FREE (Food and Coffee included)

[Austen Erblat plays drums for Electric Fences.]