Earlier this month, a five-band show titled “Bucket Brigade” was announced by The HopOut, a former DIY venue run by founder Vaughn Mims and HopOut partner Jordan Pitts. Music lovers will see a total of five bands on stage ranging from indie art-rock and dream punk, to rock ‘n’ roll and hardcore. With an entry fee of $10, attendees will get to watch Little Rock locals Peach Blush and Second Life, alongside Fayetteville acts Modeling, Sad Palomino and Chrono Wizard. Sponsored by Ammplify NWA, On The Map, KXUA and KUAF Radio, the show is set for October 8th at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville. 


Until earlier this summer, The HopOut was a DIY (do-it-yourself) venue in Fayetteville that hosted underground, donation-based shows and community events. Bucket Brigade is HopOut’s first show since losing the house, and they’re very excited to be returning to the scene in a different way. To get a taste of what you’ll see at the show or bands that previously played at The HopOut, you can check out their Spotify playlists

I sat down with them to discuss HopOut, Bucket Brigade, and what’s next. 


Where did your interest in the DIY scene begin?

Vaughn: I was always interested in the idea of a local scene/house shows. I was never as involved as I wanted to be in Little Rock- but always thought a community of people that played/attended shows in houses and local venues was such a cool thing. Just a large network of friends that shared common interests and supported each other while pursuing those interests. I grew up as a visual artist and had my first art shows at a local DIY gallery and attended some really cool events. 

I became more interested in booking and hosting by accident. I lived in a house in Fayetteville and we hosted some friends bands a few times and I just fell in love with hosting and facilitating those events. I love opening up the house to give people a space for the things I wish I’d done more of. 

Jordan: My intro to and love for the DIY scene began while I was attending college at the University of Arkansas for architecture and design. I’d always been an artist and creative, but college was a uniquely wonderful and difficult exercise in self discovery. I loved the program I was in and friends I had made, but didn’t necessarily feel like I’d found a place of belonging. In 2016, I was invited to my first Backspace show where I saw The Phlegms for the first time (the first of many) and was immediately enamored. The energy, the community, the accessibility, the intersection of art and music, the simplicity of creating a space and filling it with people. It opened me up to a world I had never seen or been a part of, and I like to credit that experience with altering the path I continued on as a young adult and where my passion moves me today.

How did HopOut start and what was it like?

Jordan: Vaughn and I met in 2018 and quickly realized how many interests we shared. Over the years we went to countless DIY shows and events together, but eventually began planning our own events and day fests, and Vaughn opened two house venues in the process. It was amazing to witness and be a part of these spaces, seeing them grow and learning about what it takes to operate a house venue. Unfortunately DIY venues aren’t the most sustainable and the first two venues were pretty short-lived. 

Eventually Vaughn came into a living situation where he could begin hosting again – which is when he started HopOut. This was also in response to several years of COVID and lockdowns, and the closure of two cornerstones of the Fayetteville DIY scene – LaLaLand and Backspace. The pattern of losing DIY spaces in the region was continuing as it had for years before we became a part of the scene, and there was a void in the community. The HopOut slowly began to fill that, and it is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. Seeing a (very) small living room transform into a performance space. Meeting countless musicians, artists, and personalities both traveling and local. Getting to commune with people I know and people I don’t. Bonding through thrashing, screaming, dancing, and sweating (a lot). Seeing people respect us and the space because they loved it as much as we did. We learned a lot together, and we shared a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make it successful. But Vaughn made HopOut into something truly special, and I’m beyond grateful for having been a part of it. 

Vaughn: I was never as involved in the LR scene as much as I would’ve liked to be. I always loved the idea of a local community playing shows in houses and having a connection with people that have similar interests that aren’t always found outside of these small spaces. Fayetteville quickly felt like home and I fell in love with our scene. The first house I hosted shows at was by coincidence. We had a few friends from LR ask to play a show in Fayetteville and we had a good house to host. I immediately loved the idea of hosting and planning and it just went from there. Jordan and I planned and ran several day events together. Every house and event we ran got me closer to running a venue In a consistent and successful way. I learned a lot from Jordan about the importance of small details for planning and executing larger events. We grew together with each event and house and got better at the different components of running events and houses.

After running two house venues before COVID, I started The HopOut as a DIY venue with an emphasis on safety and community. The HopOut focused on safety and inclusion. I feel like a lot of DIY spaces and communities can be a lot less safe and supportive/healthy than they should be. We pushed our rules really hard to keep things tame and safe. We never had a problem with people being too rowdy, disrespectful, or harmful. People respected our rules and our space. I think that’s the most beautiful thing- having hundreds of strangers come into my living room to watch live music and respecting my space because they love music and want to be apart of something. Our third spaces are pretty limited outside of bars. We really wanted to have a venue that didn’t feel like a party with bands playing. You come for music, maybe drink, and connect with people. 

What is Bucket Brigade?

Jordan: A Bucket Brigade, by definition, is a chain of people working together to put out a fire by passing buckets of water from hand to hand. To put it simply, it’s a community working as one to reach a common goal. It felt fitting with this being our first show since the house, and the first big step in figuring out how to keep HopOut going and how to continue serving and making space for the community going forward. It’s a great introduction to a local venue – we’re creating a lot of wonderful connections with local community organizations and leaders we wouldn’t necessarily have had access to before, and we’re learning a lot about how to operate outside of a strictly DIY space. Bucket Brigade feels like a homecoming of sorts. Planning, organizing, and bringing people together. It’s our comfort zone. We love every single one of these bands, and we’re so excited to have them on one bill together. There will be a little something for everyone, and we just can’t wait to share space with everyone again.

Vaughn: Bucket Brigade is our first event outside of a house or backyard. We’re lucky enough to have full access to the back room of George’s. I got to pick bands for this event- and tried to do something fresh. Each band has a different sound and energy level that will blend really well. We have mostly familiar bands and a few new ones- but all five bands aren’t seen enough in Fayetteville. We have two Little Rock bands that I’m excited to bring up. Little Rock is/was a huge influence for this entire endeavor. Little Rock is what led me to this path. Bucket Brigade is hopefully a sneak peak at the future of The HopOut and our new functionality. We’ll continue booking and planning shows- but will start using our name to work with artists to act as support and sponsor. I’m excited to see how we will function beyond the limits of four walls.

What’s the next step for HopOut?

Vaughn: I’m hopeful for the future of The HopOut. It’s very weird to not do these things out of my living room- but looking forward to what that can lead to. The big dream is to turn the HopOut back into a venue- but one that can last. This is my career path. Hosting and planning these events and shows is the most fulfilled I’ve been out of all the creative ventures I’ve had. I love feeling connected to this community and getting to provide a space for them. I hope to start working with bigger artists and create a true third space. We were limited with the house in how much we could do and how often. I would love to have the space to host art shows, markets, workshops, etc. watching live music is only a small part of what brings a community together in a positive way.

Jordan: The future of HopOut is a flexible one. The dream is to eventually operate a third space that’s made solely for accessible, safe, and inclusive art, music and community space. But that’s not always easy to make a reality. In the meantime we’re pursuing booking, event promotion, as well as independent events in the region. The idea, as contradicting as it can feel sometimes, is to continue growing HopOut as a brand – finding ways to create and fill space in NWA, continuing to give opportunity to musicians and creatives, and prioritizing safety and inclusion along the way. No longer confined to singular space. But we’re stuck with one question: how do you keep the spirit of a DIY house alive without a house? That’s exactly what we’re trying to figure out.