Members of Lavender Bride performed with their hearts and souls (L to R: Kenny Mupendwa, keys, Spencer Addis, saxophone, Regan Virnoche, vocals) Photo Creds: blnwrly, @garage_crycore on Instagram

Koi Pond Sweeps Hearts With Valentine’s Day Themed Opening Show; Interview Included

Natalie Fornelli reporting:

February seventeenth marked the opening night at the koi pond, a brand new music venue in Lawrence, Kansas. Decorated with ribbons and flower petals, the venue was eagerly awaiting its guests. People soon spread themselves around from one room to another, glistening under the pink and blue hues and waiting for their favorite bands to perform. From the communal kitchen to the nudist painting in the performance space, the venue felt different, but in the best way possible: it was warm, inviting, and, most of all, safe and comfortable.


Joel Campbell drumming up a storm. Photo Creds: blnwrly, @garage_crycore on Instagram

Regan Virnoche—one of the founders of the koi pond—reflected upon her past experiences when asked about the interior design of the venue.


“I wanted to show up as hyper-femme,” Virnoche explained. “Anything that would have made five-year-old Regan happy, basically.”


She continued to explain, saying that in her music career she has wanted to make sure that her femininity isn’t dulled, but instead embraced to its fullest. Therefore, the koi pond is decorated with an uplifting femininity that rejects shame and is welcoming to all.


As the night went on, there was not a soul in sight who looked as if they weren’t enjoying themselves, especially once the live performances began. Situated in a small basement-area sat a stage where a bustling crowd gathered around, jumping and dancing along to the music. With such a large space, the audience was able to spread out or get as close to others as they pleased. There was even a ‘cool-down’ lounge included within the venue to provide a quiet, more relaxed space for people to give themselves a minute away if needed. With such a roomy interior, everybody had their space, and there seemed to be a perfect way to escape for a moment if needed



Ellen Miller reporting:

Dipping my toes into the Lawrence scene as a new, up-and-coming Freshman from a small Kansas town, I was looking forward to a town full of acceptance and open-mindedness. Overall, Lawrence and KU have provided this homey feeling for me during my time here. After meeting student-led bands on campus, frequenting house and basement shows, and making more friends throughout the live music realm, I’ve been discouraged to hear recent stories of unsafe environments and hatred embedding the Lawrence music scene throughout these past few months. This vibrant community has been discouraged and bogged down by the negative state of a seemingly accepting and freeing community of music-listeners our age.


When I heard about Regan Virnoche of local band “Lavendar Bride”’s  plans to create a new, inclusive safe haven for concert lovers in the embrace of live music, I thought: “It’s about time.”


Before Koi Pond’s debut Valentine’s Day-themed show this past weekend, Regan seemed confident in their space… it was obvious that she was ready to debut her inner-vision for friends and listeners to enjoy.

Dreamy lights and sounds (Back L to R: Daniel Zoller, guitar, R. Duncan, bass; Front L to R: Spencer Addis, saxophone, Regan Virnoche, vocals) Photo Creds: blnwrly, @garage_crycore on Instagram

“I was disappointed; I think some of the best things come from spite and disappointment. I felt like every venue I was going to, every band I was playing with was all male-led, all the sound techs were males, owned by men… basement venues that refuse to ban rapists. I was super disappointed and disheartened by the way music was run in this town.”


So, Regan channeled her disappointment into productivity. Thus, the Koi Pond was born.



“For official, established venues, you don’t really get to have rules. Owners are not going to have open communication with their patrons about feeling unsafe, they’re not going to make them feel protected. In my house, I can enforce rules and boundaries. That is the point of a house venue in my opinion… creating a space where people can come together and celebrate art while still respecting others.”

With nearly 300 patrons the first night, the Koi Pond’s first show was a success. But this is only the beginning. We will soon hear more from Regan about plans to ensure Koi Pond goes down in Lawrence history.