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The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The Bunkhouse: Cultivating Community through Live Music

Nestled on the corner of N West Street and C Street sits an old firehouse. At first glance, it seems like an average Carlisle-esque historical building with a pair of vintage cars out front. But as you get closer, you’ll hear the exhilarating sounds of live music coming from the garage doors.


Four metalcore bands from Pennsylvania and Virginia came together at The Bunkhouse Vintage & More on Saturday, Jan. 27 to put on an electrifying show, revitalizing the heavier side of the Carlisle music scene. 


The Bunkhouse Vintage & More doubles as both a quaint antique shop and a DIY concert venue. Vintage knick knacks, dishware and photographs are available for sale at the front of the shop, but down a short hallway awaits the venue space: a repurposed garage with a handmade stage, sound system and plenty of comfortable couches. 


While at first an unexpected combination, it is clear that The Bunkhouse is a passion project. Owners and life-long music lovers Chad and Nikki Bretz opened The Bunkhouse Vintage & More just over a year ago after the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“[The Bunkhouse] is the melding of both our hobbies and interests into one collective space,” said Nikki, who has lived around Carlisle all her life. The amalgamation of quirky collectibles and a live venue space creates an eclectic gem for the town of Carlisle. 


I was lucky to attend the show on Saturday, which featured bands Dinosaurs in Paris (PA), Elsewhere (PA), Gone Cold (VA) and Varia (VA). I was quickly enraptured with the anticipation that comes before attending any concert, but especially one at a DIY venue. I held hope for a thrilling show, and the bands delivered. I got about a month’s worth of intense headbanging out of my system in one night. 


After attending the show, I’ve decided the best way to describe The Bunkhouse is as a comfortingly accepting space reflective of  the communal purpose of music. At the show, attendees ranged from college students to adults with their children, from hardcore metalheads to casual live music enjoyers. 


Despite the many differences between everyone in attendance, we were all connected through the love of music. And that is exactly Nikki and Chad’s goal; Nikki explained that “[they] want The Bunkhouse to be a safe space for everyone—a place to just come in, let loose, and have fun.” The Bunkhouse welcomes anyone with open arms, offering a musical oasis for the residents of Carlisle.


If you enjoy vintage or live music, I highly recommend taking a trip to The Bunkhouse Vintage & More. Not only are you supporting a small business, but you’ll be contributing to The Bunkhouse’s mission of cultivating connection and community.

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