The Herald Bulletin

May 25, 2013

Bluegrass and breaking even

At Chesterfield flea market, business and pleasure collide

By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin

CHESTERFIELD, Ind. — In a little church in Tennessee, Herlan Hinds discovered music.

He remembers watching his cousin pick out bluegrass and gospel songs on a guitar that nearly out-sized him. A three-year-old prodigy who learned by watching his daddy, “He had the gift of playing,” Hinds said.

Hinds was inspired, and spent the rest of his teens learning, jamming and eating pizza with friends who lived for music.

Fast forward to today. Hinds plays with the house band every Friday in the Main Street Flea Market concert hall, 448 East Main Street in Chesterfield.

He actually owns the hall — and the market on the other side of a dividing wall, for that matter. He opened shop almost a month ago, after losing his job with Muncie’s community schools.

“I kind of hope this is God opening a door,” he said.

The flea market has 12 vendors now, with room for as many as 30 more at $100 a month. They sell everything from guitars to furniture, kitchen appliances, lighting fixtures, VHS-tape movies and clothes. It’s the business side of things, but music is the pleasure.

“Hopefully it pays the bills,” he said. “If I can make the mortgage, make the rent payment, we can do what we love.”

In the back of the 100-seat concert hall, he flips through stacks of vinyl records: Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, Ralph Stanley.

All types of music can move you, he said, but there’s something special about country, bluegrass and gospel. On Friday nights, when the hall’s packed and the band’s playing, it’s almost spiritual.

“It’s kind of an outreach,” Hinds said. “We all have hurt in our life, and music is a comfort. It’s not a gospel and it’s not a church, but it can be a ministry.”

The up-to-seven-member band is yet unnamed, although Hinds likes “Bluegrass Shack.” It has played to a packed house at each of its free shows — a record Hinds hopes to continue.

“I think it would be smart to market Chesterfield as Friday night entertainment,” he said. “People love music. Music is laughter.”

The town’s been good to him so far, with some people wandering in to check out the market. Others have even hooked him up with professional equipment for the band.

Hinds moved to Indiana from Tennessee when he was only a few months old, and has lived here ever since. He says there are times when he wanted nothing more than to be back in his aunt’s tar-paper shack with his 13 cousins. Family is heritage, after all.

But you can take it with you — and Hinds has done just that.

“Music is heritage,” he said.

Like Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @BayleeNPulliam, or call 648-4250.