Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Debutants ready to have a ball at Clyde

Music, performers, vendors coming to venue on April 30


Nick Braun

Whatzup Features Writer

Published April 20, 2022

When most folks think of a ball, they envision an event where people dressed in tuxedos and gowns waltz around to a live orchestra into the wee hours of the morning. Then there are balls where you come dressed in elaborate costumes, don a mask, and enjoy the freedom of being someone else for a while.

Whatever your perception is, you likely had not seen a ball quite like the one at The Clyde Theatre on Saturday, April 30.

Debutants Ball, spearheaded by the local folk/bluegrass outfit Debutants, transformed The Clyde into something we had never seen. In true Debutants fashion, there was an array of local and regional vendors, grassroots organizations, performers, contests, giveaways, live art, food, drinks, and live music by Debutants and good friends The Goat’s Beards out of Goshen.

“The Clyde has always been super supportive of us, and we’ve had the pleasure of opening up for national acts on the big, beautiful stage,” said Debutants vocalist/mandolinist Lynn Nicholson. “Now, it’s our turn. They have given us the keys and allowed us to curate an evening straight out of our dreams. Basically, if Debutants were to throw a circus, this would be it.”

Vendor Offerings

The show featured circus-esque performers throughout the venue, including stilt walkers, jugglers, poi spinners, and aerial performers. There was also a Bazaar Bizarre, where you could browse a variety of local vendors. Like I said, something we had never encountered at The Clyde.

Vendors included everything from handmade clothes and jewelry, to houseplants, wellness products, art, henna, and more. Food and drink were equally impressive as there was Debutants-inspired food from The Club Room, as well as specialty drinks to coincide with the evening.

There was also a limited run of T-shirts honoring the event for purchase, featuring the fine artwork of Phan Gear Prints, who did the magnificent show poster that you might have seen on social media.

New Material on Horizon

As for the most important part, the music, The Goat’s Beards kicked off the show, followed by two raging sets by Debutants.

Nicholson hopes to make the Debutants Ball an annual event, and I’m sure a lot of folks feel the same way. Many of those folks have been on board since the band’s formation in 2019 and have continued a ride that has seen the band perform festivals, release an EP, perform pandemic livestreams, cover Talking Heads at this year’s Down the Line event at the Embassy, and shared stages with Blues Traveler, Little River Band, Hillbilly Casino, Rumpke Mountain Boys, and more.

In addition, if you have been keeping up with the band, you know that in late January they traveled to Carnegie, Pennsylvania, to record their follow-up EP at Studio 110. There, they had the opportunity to work with engineer extraordinaire Tyler Thompson, who recorded last year’s Indiana Newgrass EP. That weekend trip had them putting together a new five-song EP titled Nobody Knows, which is due in May.

“Tyler is a dream to work with,” bassist Colin Taylor said. “We had a lot of fun trying out new things. This time around, we decided to do the harmony vocals live as opposed to overdubbing them. We typically do everything as live as possible, and on a certain song on this EP, we did the whole track completely live, and we even got a video of the take. All in all, I’m over the moon to share our second EP out into the world.”

To hold us over until then, the band just released the first single from the release, “Hard to Say.” This gem can be enjoyed on all major streaming platforms.

Supporting the new release was a priority for the band as their summer calendar is beginning to take shape.

“We definitely plan to promote the new release and continue to spread the fire to other towns,” Nicholson said. “We will be performing several food truck nights at Junk Ditch, Hippie Hill Fest in Brown County, a few other festivals, weddings, and then busking parking lots and campgrounds of some bigger shows and festivals we’re attending.”

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