Anyone who loves live music should be excited for what’s coming to the local area. On Jan. 10, everyone will have the great opportunity to attend TAK (Todd and Kirstin’s) Music Venue. The venue can host large crowds of up to 450 people, and will present many different events throughout the year. The company was founded in 2018 by Todd Carlson, who is the current president and owner. As president of the company, Carlson manages all its affairs. From hiring employees to directing bookings, he is significantly involved in managing the business.
Carlson has many reasons to start his business in the area. He grew up here as a child, and both him and his wife Kirstin went to college in Moorhead. Since then, they’ve raised their two children here and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Carlson didn’t always plan on starting a business, but he has always had a love for music.
“I’ve been a musician for a long time and have played in bands ever since high school, so music is definitely a big part of my life,” he said. “When I was in college, there used to be a lot of places in the area for bands, but it’s not like it used to be if you want the ‘full-blown band experience,” he said.
The opportunity ended up coming to him unexpectedly. After the company he was employed at was sold, he decided to focus on doing what he loved: working in the music business. Carlson’s goal and motivation for creating TAK is to let the performers have a good time, so making sure that musicians are able to perform the way they want is his number one priority.
“We really want to focus on the experience from their standpoint, providing the best setting that we can. Sound, lighting, video. I want the best for the musicians who play here,” he said. “I know if the people on stage are having a good time, that energy carries over to the crowd.”
This means a lot to musicians. Composer, saxophonist, and Concordia College senior Race Hoglund stressed the importance of performing in venues that are welcoming and professional. He knows that bands who are respected are going to have more fun and will make shows more entertaining for the audience. Hoglund is excited that the new venue is in Dilworth, since most event centers are in Fargo and Moorhead
“It’s going to be great to see the music scene spread out more through the community” he said.
Students at Concordia aren’t the only ones excited about TAK’s opening; several professors are also looking forward to attending the venue. Professors Nathaniel Dickey and Russ Peterson are long-time members of Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome, a popular local band that will be performing on TAK’s grand opening in January. They both spoke about their enthusiasm and hopes for the new venue. Peterson was excited about the high-quality technology that TAK offered.
“The new venue will be a superior room, with great acoustics and sound system,” he said.
This will ensure that musicians are able to provide the best performances for a crowd. Dickey also admired the setting, as well as the variety of music offered.
“It will be a great opportunity for music lovers to hear a variety of groups in a great setting. I know there won’t be an age restriction, so more people will be able to enjoy the venue,” he said.
From rock bands to flute quartets, TAK will feature all genres of live events. Carlson mentions he’s even interested in hosting a comedy night every week throughout the year to mix things up. Although TAK will be featuring mostly music performances, he knows that there are not a lot of venues in the area that host wedding receptions and private events, so it can serve as a provider for those events as well. As of right now, the main priority for him is scheduling shows. He says his goal is to feature at least four events each week consistently throughout the year.
“The first year is going to be a learning curve,” Carlson said. “My goal right now is to start filling the calendar.”
Although performances are TAK’s main feature, it also has a bar and kitchen for restaurant catering. However, Carlson has stressed the importance that TAK be known for its events rather than food or drink service. In order to create this setting, TAK will only be open during the hours it is hosting a show. This ensures that the groups who perform can remain the focus of attendees, which can be a challenge for some venues. Aside from this, there are several other difficulties that venues face. From financing to bookings, Carlson has encountered many challenges over the last year, but he has learned a lot from the experience.
“You have to be flexible and be able to adjust on the fly. Not everything will be perfect, and at some point, you’re going to run into a lot of challenges. The best way to run a successful company is to plan ahead and be as realistic as possible.”