ST. JOSEPH - St. Cloud has had a long history of music venues for people under the age of 21.

The Java Joint, formerly in downtown St. Cloud, shaped a local community member into a lifelong musician and advocate of the arts. Thomas Larum is a St. Cloud State University graduate who spent his college days listening to live music at the venue.

Larum believes music venues geared towards people under the age of 21 are vital for the growth of young musicians.

It was the atmosphere about being a musician and what it actually means to be in every sense of the word a musician.

Photo by News Intern Jacob Lundy

With the closing of the Java Joint in May 2007, Central Minnesota had lost its musical influence for the underage crowd for a moment. Then, in April 2008, a new venue opened with a vision to bring back the music scene.

Jeff and Stacie Engholm opened the Local Blend in St. Joseph to create a positive atmosphere for people to enjoy music. Co-Host of their open mic night, Adam Hammer weighs in on how the Local Blend strives to build a community.

It's a very welcoming atmosphere. We get a lot of comments about that, especially from people who are really trying out songs on stage for the first time. They come in sweating bullets and are really nervous, and the crowd always applauds. We're just all about support.

Hammer believes a supporting audience helps musicians grow their confidence on stage.

The Local Blend hosts their open mic nights every Tuesday from 7:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to sign up for their 15 minutes on the spotlight.

This story was written by WJON News intern, and current St. Cloud State University junior, Jacob Lundy.