Blips and Chitz is a local DIY (do it yourself) house venue. Over the past year, it has grown mainly in audience attendees — and though it varies from show to show, recently shows have been filling up as of late. Students back in town and all.
Although it is a DIY house venue — she runs it like a venue... but at a house. It’s a show space, first and foremost, and doesn’t promote itself at all as a party house. Shows start around 8 p.m. and there is a strict cut off time at midnight, with four bands to a bill, typically.
Veronica Mullen is the owner, promoter, and show runner at Blips and Chitz. She basically does everything there.
The name is an interesting one — at first it was difficult for Mullen and her roommates to choose a name for the venue. Eventually they chose to reference something and decided to go with “Blips and Chitz”, referencing the arcade in Rick and Morty.
“Sometimes bands will be like ‘sick name!’ if they get the reference.” says Mullen.
She started booking originally at the I4C, eventually she decided on booking at her own space. August 2016 is when it all began at B+C — and it’s been a little over a year now that it has been in existence in this form.
A lot of her connections to the DIY scene came from her time touring with bands (Old Fox Road and Kayak Jones) as a photographer — touring allowed her to learn about the difficulties of the road life.
“I was able to see how touring in a band works and see how it all goes down. I can empathize with touring bands and letting them crash here makes their life easier” she said.
The venue is set up so that most of the shows feature a touring act as the headliner, with locals as support. There is a donation model where audience members pay what they can, with the usual recommendation being $5.
“We ask everyone for donations and if they have it we’re appreciative and we don’t turn people away if they don’t have money.” says Mullen.
All the money, from donations goes directly to the touring act(s), which helps them with gas and food. Blips and Chitz doesn’t take cuts from the donations.
With the growing popularity of Blips and Chitz, show requests have increased — and the requests are a lot more than Mullen can keep up with. The popularity of the venue has come about from word of mouth, through DIY networks, and social media.
The venue hasn’t had too many issues over the past year, people have been respectful of the space, and cops have only been called once — and it was during their largest show ever. The headlining band was Mom Jeans. The cops weren’t even called over the band being too loud, but rather people being too loud outside.
This show was also one of Mullen’s favorites and happens to be one of her favorite bands, Mom Jeans. It was a great show, but was also extremely stressful as it was the biggest show that ever happened at Blips and Chitz.
Most of the shows happening at Blips and Chitz have been like the shows at the former Mike N Molly's, it has given a voice to the punk, emo and indie scene. Mullen books a lot of shows for bands that she is a personal fan of, however she also allows others to book there which creates a larger variety of shows. There have been a few hip-hop shows as well and she hopes to have more this upcoming year.
Blipz and Chitz is open to anyone hosting shows and wants to make the environment safe for all attendees. Safety, explicitly stated rules and proper show promotion, is something she requires for promoters who wish to book there.
The address is also not public information, which creates a system where it must be asked for or given to someone. This creates accountability and safety, as someone can always vouch for those who show up to the show.
If anyone ever feels unsafe at Blips and Chitz, they should let Mullen know.
“If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable about something or someone let me or my roommates know. We just want to help out however we can.” says Mullen.
Movement (moshing and such) is welcome at Blips and Chitz — it’s even encouraged. However, it’s not always something that happens. People who are moving around should be conscience of those around them, especially those who do not wish to participate.
I don’t know whether it’s just that they’ve become more public, or I’ve become more involved, but since Blips and Chitz opened, I’ve heard of more house venues popping up and becoming popular again. Which, hopefully, is a great sign for a music scene, and a component of it that continues to gain momentum.
The future of Blips and Chitz will continue, and even if one day, the house is no longer available she will keep booking wherever she can.
If anyone would like to perform, or book at Blips and Chitz they are encouraged to reach out to Blips and Chitz on the Facebook page or if they know Mullen personally her.
This is part of a series covering the local music venues here in Champaign-Urbana.
All photos courtesy of Veronica Mullen. Band pictured at the top is called Spirit of the Beehive.