Charlottesville native John Nolan is passionate about bringing good music—and a variety of it—to town.
“I started scratching the surface of what was going on musically in this town right when I started college,” says Nolan. He remembers going to the Clipse show that U.Va.’s Student Hip-Hop Organization (S.H.H.O.) organized at the Jefferson, “and being blown away that folks only a couple years older than me had the ability to put rap legends on the stage. It was incredibly inspiring.”
When he arrived at U.Va., Nolan joined S.H.H.O. and helped promote the group’s Kendrick Lamar show back in 2011, and has worked with the team at the Jefferson Theater to co-promote concerts with A$AP Rocky, Run the Jewels, Talib Kweli and others.
Nolan also got involved with U.Va.’s all-student radio station stream WXTJ. “It’s a very young, very exciting student radio station,” says Nolan, adding that the station, which launched in October 2013, is getting an FM frequency very soon. “My good friend Corrigan, whose encyclopedic music knowledge and perpetually ravenous appetite for new stuff is an amazing motivator, asked me to come on board” the station in its early days. Nolan started off as a DJ, and—not surprisingly—moved into booking shows to help promote lesser-known bands and the station itself. Nolan helped the station put on its first official show, a co-headlining bill featuring Grouper and Juliana Barwick at U.Va.’s Chapel. The group also sponsored the Parquet Courts/Priests bill at the Southern.
“What makes music thrive here is a community of hard-working, deeply passionate people who want to generate ideas and execute them with a humble spirit. We found that together [at WXTJ], and I’m thrilled to see what the station produces next.”
His experiences with booking led him to an internship with Red Light Management, and he currently interns at Starr Hill Presents, where he’s learning more about the ins and outs of booking and promotion and hopes to help bring new, exciting bands to town and get people out into the venues to listen. “I know of nothing else in my life that’s been a more dependable catalyst for meaningful relationship and community than music.”
Nolan just returned from his first trip to Bonnarroo, so he’s compiled a playlist of tunes from the artists he saw over the course of four days in a giant field in Manchester, Tennessee. “Jenny Hval didn’t play [the festival],” says Nolan, “but I listened to her staggeringly good new album Apocalypse, girl and her joint project with Susanna called Meshes of Voice a whole bunch on the 9-hour car rides down and back.”
And if you want more new music, Nolan suggests checking out Cult of Youth’s latest cut, Final Days, or stopping by Melody Supreme to see what Gwen recommends. “That dude raised me musically in so many ways as a high schooler and encouraged me to dig as deeply as I could into musical history while still keeping a finger on modern music’s healthy pulse.”