It's fun to play at the YMCA

Mary Meehan from the Herald-Leader reports that music nights at the Beaumont YMCA makes it one of the best-kept secrets in Central Kentucky -- a little slice of adult-lite nightlife in a place where kids usually come to play. Depending mostly on word-of-mouth publicity, the YMCA has showcased some 52 acts since it started hosting music nights a few years ago.

During the harder-edged shows, which carry a $5 cover and attract hundreds of kids, rock 'n' roll, punk or heavy metal bands take over a multipurpose room while the dancers spill out into the lobby.

For low-key performances, more like open-mike at a coffeehouse, the room across from the pool becomes a kind of beatnik cafe without the smoke.

"We really wanted to do something that involved people who weren't already being targeted by the YMCA," Peterson said.

It didn't take much persuading to get the YMCA to open up to young people, he said. But, at first, finding suitable bands took a little work. That's not because the YMCA was looking only for Christian acts, but because bands were usually wary about playing for free.

Now Peterson gets four or five calls a week from people wanting to play, and the concerts have tapped into Lexington's "whole underground scene for musicians and teens and sort of experimental art stuff."