Hungry artists compete for Chico Unplugged


Sam Kyes

Mark 3 performing on stage at Chico Unplugged. Photo by Sam Kyes.

On Oct. 25, Madison Bear Garden hosted the Chico Unplugged event in its upstairs section. The entire room was filled with eager observers watching those that performed on stage, with musicians singing songs spanning all kinds of genres.

The Chico Unplugged event is a competition and showcase for singers and songwriters of all ages in Chico to perform in front of an audience. Created by School of the Arts productions, it is an event where musicians get the experience of playing in front of  a crowd and to get their names out there. It was a competition in which judges determined a winner, but it also served as a way for students to showcase their talent as musicians.

A stage was set up in the corner of the room with colorful lights and the instruments ready to play. Starting off with a couple dozen people, the room eventually became packed from front to back. Those in attendance applauded each performer who went up.

Dr. Paul Young, a university professor who is the head of the Music Industry Program at Chico State, was part of the event and introduced some of the performers. 

“We look out for our students. We take care of them and do this so they can grow and get better as musicians,” Young said. “So, even though this is technically a competition, we’re not competing tonight. We just want to show you our artists.”

The genres performed ranged all sorts of types, from acoustic rock to rap. One country singer, Matt McBride, was one of the highlights of the show, so much so that he performed an encore toward the end.

“Chico has one of the best music communities,” he said, “and it’s an honor to play for you tonight.”   

Parker Lipscomb, a student of SOTA, said he felt the event was amazing. 

“The turnout got better with each performer that went up. There was such great energy there,” Lipscomb said. 

His favorite genres of music are alternative and Midwest emo, and he has two singles on his Spotify and Apple Music, “Light my Cigarette” and “American Football.”  

Lipscomb said the Chico Unplugged event has been great for students like him. 

“It’s almost like our child and it’s entertainment for everyone that comes,” he said. “It’s marketing for students that are performing.” 

Lipscomb also was adamant about giving Dr. Paul Young and the program the praise they deserve. 

“He’s the ultimate driver of the program,” Lipscomb said, “He will be there when you need him, and he will not allow you to fail.”

Each singer and band that performed showed enthusiasm and a clear love for their music. The variety in music gave a little something for everybody. It was a great night for good music and good vibes. Anybody who loves music and wants to support local artists should consider going next year. It’s free and you might find a new artist to become a fan of.  For more information about SOTA or Chico Unplugged you can find them here and here

Sam Kyes can be reached at [email protected]