From DJ sets to punk rock shows, The Warehouse is here to bring us the live music that we deserve.
The Warehouse is an independent music venue founded by local university
students. It began as a way for musicians to put on intimate shows for their friends and fellow classmates. In the years that followed, The Warehouse has grown into a legitimate business venture and provided an opportunity for both
students and artists to showcase their talents to the local community while providing a safe space for students to have fun and listen to live music together.
The Warehouse has deep ties to the students of Chapman University. The venue was started in 2021 by Steve Wehner, who was a student studying at Chapman University during the time. Wehner was a member of Chapman University’s fraternity organization Alpha Delta Phi, more commonly known by the students as “Adelphos.” Together, they would host house shows for students and charge $5 for a ticket and a free beer. The idea worked. The Warehouse began gaining traction within the Chapman University social scene and sooner than later Wehner began to think about expansion. The property that the warehouse is located on is owned by Steve’s family who would let him renovate the space for every show. “It was basically making a music venue from the ground up every weekend.” Steve says, recounting the early days of The Warehouse.
After word began to spread, The Warehouse became known as one of the most fun weekend activities at Chapman. Shortly after, another student at Chapman, Lexi Zdanov, reached out to Steve. Lexi is the founder of the student organization The Collective, a university club that’s primary goal is to “cultivate community, collaboration, and exposure for artists across all corners of campus.” When Lexi heard about The Warehouse, she realized that this was a perfect opportunity to work with Steve to grow the space and create a deeper sense of community. “When The Warehouse started doing shows, it became kind of like an underground vibe which a lot of people flocked to, and it gave students another thing to do on the weekends outside of frat parties, which isn’t most people’s vibe … Before The Warehouse, we [The Collective] would do a lot of house shows, but those would get rolled because anything loud in Orange County the cops will come and shut down, which is ridiculous,” says Lexi. “There wasn’t a platform for artists to showcase their stuff.” So Steve and Lexi worked together to provide that opportunity for artists while simultaneously giving Chapman students another fun event to attend on the weekends.
In the years that followed The Warehouse has gained a large following of Chapman students. The Warehouse has also grown commercially, and artists from outside of the Chapman community will visit the venue and perform. On November 4th, bands such as Trestles, Mom Cars, Bliss Hour, and Career Woman were performing. “None of the bands today [November 4th] have people from Chapman,” says Steve. “Some of them are from Sacramento, others are from Santa Cruz, really just all over the place.” Lexi states that “a lot of people that come to the shows don’t even know the bands that are coming out. They just love The Warehouse and the energy.”
The venue plays a prominent role not only in the Chapman University social scene but also for locals who live in Orange County. Now that Steve has graduated from Chapman, he is looking to expand his audience.
“I definitely want to have events for Chapman students as well as the local Orange County music community.” Today, Steve leases his own permanent space from his family. The Warehouse has full access to equipment, venue space, and the resources necessary to put on a great show. Access to these resources not only saves Steve a lot of time but also a lot of money. “We take a lot of pride in being artists first … now we give a lot of money back to the bands. A lot more than most local venues actually do, percentage wise.”
As artists, Steve and Lexi both want to support as many different forms of art as possible. “We’ve done DJ house shows, heavy metal punk shows, indie pop shows, standup comedy, everything,” Steve says. “There’s so many people at Chapman with different interests that we find our audience regardless of what type of music it is.” The Warehouse continues to grow and hosts events nearly every weekend, providing Chapman students with a great way to connect with local artists and performers and have all while having a fun night out with their friends.
“The Collective - Chapman University.” Chapman University Organizations, 2023, chapman.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/the_collective.