A New Sound Is Coming To Lynn’s Downtown

September 20, 2023 : The Daily Item, James Bartlett

LYNN — Downtown is due to get some new sounds in an old space.

Lynn Music Foundation is led by the three-person team of President and Executive Director Edwin Cabrera, Executive Director of Operations Chris Martin, and Executive Director of Artist Relations Jay Moon.

The organization, which Cabrera said has been around for slightly more than a year after it organized the Keep Moving Forward Festival in September 2022, has taken things to the next level with a new performance space and recording studio, the Lynn Arts Building on Exchange Street.

The space, which is called the Neal Rantoul Vault Theatre, was formerly occupied by the organization Arts After Hours. It has been used as a performance and event space by the foundation for everything from music and comedy shows to even art battles since it was leased by Lynn Music Foundation in January.

Cabrera noted that the space is meant to highlight local artists and give them a venue to gain exposure and develop within their community, as opposed to looking for opportunities to have their work heard.

“The main thing that people brought up was a lack of a venue,” Cabrera said. “This is why this venue is a big deal… The local community is now following these artists.”

According to Cabrera, seating in the venue is set to get a facelift after a $72,000 grant from MassDevelopment, which will allow the foundation to buy and install a retractable seating system to replace the current fixed seating.

“(We) also allow the space to be rented out by artists, organizations, and different people of the community who want to bring in the community,” Cabrera, who said he hopes the seating will be finished by January, said. “It’s a very modular space.”

Cabrera said that the goal of the space is to give local artists somewhere they can perform that is accessible and in the community.

Lynn Music Foundation also recently acquired the former studio of alternative-rock radio station WFNX in the same building to convert it to a recording studio.

Several music icons visited the station’s studio over the years, including many who were photographed by former WFNX DJ Julie Kramer. She donated several photos she took of acts like Blondie, Lenny Kravitz, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to be used in the Vault’s green room.

“The history of this space is we had legends and music icons come through this building here,” Cabrera said. “We’re happy to kind of keep that going, but in a local artist- and local music-based way.”

Cabrera said the studio, which he said could start booking as early as October, will utilize much of the soundproofing already in place from the former radio station and be remodeled to record music, including being outfitted with state-of-the-art studio equipment paid for by a $28,000 MassDevelopment grant.

“You start out recording music in your bedroom or basement, that’s great at some level,” Cabrera said. “The idea behind the shared recording studio space is if you’re an artist, you already know what to do, you just need to do it professionally… Now you have a professional high-quality space.”

The foundation said that it is also hoping to create a database of local musicians, producers, and other creatives to foster more collaboration.

“It’s meant for artists to be able to go in there and find the people they need to be successful,” Martin said.

Cabrera described the possibilities that the spaces in the building, which houses several other artists of all mediums, could offer to those who utilize it.

“It’s an artist building,” he said. “Anybody who is from the community that comes in here is going to walk out with a connect or resource that will be able to help them along that artistic journey.”

Lynn Music Foundation will hold the second annual Keep Moving Forward Festival on Sept. 30 from 12 to 9 p.m. at Frederick Douglass Park.