The world is slowly opening back up, and as capitalism regains its footing, a Newport-area man is helping those in the New Castle County area find the fun becoming more available.
"I started actually just before the pandemic last year, in about January or February, and as I got it together, the pandemic started," said Bill Calderhead about his site for tracking music shows in New Castle County. "I didn't really promote it because it just didn't seem like the right thing to do, to be promoting these too heavily, but I kept it up, much like everybody else, hoping that this would be a lot shorter term. And now that things are coming alive, I just see a ton of stuff. It's really picking up. There's a lot of listings. There's a lot of things going on."
A true lover of music, Calderhead has always had a passion for tracking down different acts. In 2019, he challenged himself to average one new act for every day of the year, and says at the end of that year, he'd seen 366 artists. He said he was inspired to take up the mantle when a friend complained about not knowing where to go to find a show.
"My main motivation was I was out at Oddity Bar one evening with friend, and we both voiced our frustration that it's really difficult to figure out, 'Oh, who do you want to go see locally?' There's no need to really drive to Philly, but there's not a good single resource," he said. "I had already done something similar for the DIY scene in Philadelphia...basement shows and whatnot. So I just built upon that experience and said, 'Well, let me figure out how to find this information so I can list it into a website for New Castle County."
That process largely includes trawling through Facebook, which is good for finding events--once. Calderhead's issue with the social media site is the way the algorithm can charge what a user sees day-to-day.
"It can take a bit of time. I mean, I've got a process down," he said. "But Facebook does not have a real good, consistent way to find everything. Otherwise, I'd just tell people, 'Search Facebook for events near you.' But you don't always get the same results from one day to the next. So I rely on that, and just casually reading news sources, and bands and-or venues emailing me events. So, it's not easy. It does take several hours a week to keep up, but it's a hobby."
A hobby with little overlap in his professional life, said Calderhead, a service branch manager for a Toyota forklift dealership, but one that he enjoys so much he wants to make sure others have a free option by which to partake themselves.
"It's not a business. I consider it 100% hobby; a nonprofit, if you will," he said. "I don't want people to be afraid to submit or interact with the site because they think that they're going to be asked for money. I'm not even interested in posting advertisements to the site."
And NewCastleCountyMusic.Weebly.com isn't limited to any one kind of sound.
"I will put everything on there. Mostly it's geared towards nightlife or maybe a weekend afternoon, but the Music School of Delaware does a lot of music events, too," Calderhead said. "Recitals the University of Delaware does, I'll list them as well, just hoping to broaden people's exposure and enjoyment, basically to promote music for the bands and for the venues alike."