I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Quarles. He is the founder of Morton Street Music LLC. He is a friend that continually inspires me to pursue my musical and creative projects. His passion for independent bands is incredible. Concert on the Creek is a free music festival of independent artists from Texas and Louisiana in Richmond, Texas on May 21, 2016 from 12-6pm at Wessendorff Park.
Rob: What is Morton Street Music?
Robert: Morton Street Music is a limited liability company in the state of Texas that my wife and I formed last year to promote and produce live, mostly outdoor, music events with a particular focus on the Fort Bend County region.
Rob: How does Morton Street Music promote artists?
Robert: Through our live outdoor music events, we will highlight local musicians as well as bring some in from out of town. I’m particularly interested in, for example, giving musicians who are familiar with the Houston and Austin music scene an opportunity to build their audience in Fort Bend or seeking out those who have played many indoor venues but are looking to gain the “festival” experience. And we will provide a stage and audience to some just starting out as well as the professionals. We are sure that our shows will prove to be natural environments for a variety of art and we welcome that but the focus will always be on music and my goal is to build relationships with bands and musicians so much that they will want to come here every year.
Rob: What is Concert on the Creek?
Robert: Concert on the Creek (or COTC for short) is our first concept. It is an outdoor music and food truck event that takes place in Historic Richmond Texas. Very community grass roots oriented- really a great teeth cutting project for both us and the City of Richmond. We’re an upstart so we’re learning as we go and so both the City and us are finding our way. How do we work together? How can we help each other reach our objective? How can we address each other’s’ concerns? Later we (Morton Street Music LLC) really hope to have developed some other concepts such as “Morton Street Music Festival” which ideally would be a multi-day event with multiple stages in the heart of old Richmond.
Rob: What has the response been?
Robert: It’s been a bit of a paradox. On one hand people are excited about the event and eager to attend. On the other, some are taking a “wait and see” approach. I get it. Over time we’ll develop a good brand and reputation.
Rob: What is your musical background?
Robert: I am not a formally trained musician but I learned to play guitar in high school. Played in a few bands but nothing ever very serious. Once life got busy I went to work, started a family, and for 20 years didn’t do anything musically. Then one day I offered to fill in on the bass in my church. We have a little praise and worship team and they needed someone to fill in for a little bit. I’ve been filling in for 4 years now. But I definitely attribute that to stirring up something creative within me to launch this new project.
Rob: What is your vision for Morton Street Music?
Robert: I am a big believer in letting things develop organically. I have a theory that Morton Street Music has tremendous potential, that it can be a vibrant entity that creates a myriad of events, big and small and thrives in its own niche. But right now that’s all it is, a theory. We’ll see. You know, I don’t entirely know what it is. I am excited to find out. It may be a delicate fern that thrives in the shadows, but it may be an oleander that craves and blooms in the hot sun.
Rob: Where can people find out more about you?