Inspiral Fire Tribe lights up Ransom


Marwa Farid

Gina Austin fire spinning at Ransom Pub, Austin’s been hooping for 3 years and fire spinning for the past year.

Madelyn Crawford

Every Wednesday night, one local fire-spinning performing arts troupe makes Ransom Pub their fiery theater.

One by one, members of the Inspiral Fire Tribe step into the ring, light their torches ablaze, and begin their show. Hula hoops, fans and pois are some of the variety of instruments the Fire Tribe use to create a live-art performance. As the night goes on, the energy of the crowd grows, and more and more gather to witness the show.

Performer Gina Austin started spinning with the Fire Tribe in August 2021. Austin hula hoops and also runs the Tribe’s Instagram.

Austin’s first experience with fire spinners was watching the Fire Tribe a few years ago when they still performed at The TApp Room.

 “I thought it was crazy,” she said. “I never imagined myself doing it.”

As one of the newer members, Austin said she is excited for the future of the Fire Tribe and what it has in store for her.

“It feels nice to feel good about the art that you do,” Austin said.

A poi flow art performance, which involves swinging tethered weights in rhythmic and stylized patterns, showcased at Ransom Pub. (Darcy Sluder)

 Freelance artists from all over North Carolina gather at the pub, just for one night in the spotlight. A different DJ plays live music every week, each with their own style of composition, and painters set up their easels to create pieces inspired by the events of the evening.

Stephen Hutchinson is one of the artists who occasionally paints at Ransom. He swiped away at a canvas with a brush full of colors, unsure of where his painting was going.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Hutchinson said. “I love meeting new people, and the energy here makes a special vibe that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Armando Valencia, a junior global studies major, is a regular at the Fire Tribe performance and has seen the show six times. 

“It’s a nice environment, good music and not super crowded,” Valencia said. 

Factors like these, he said, are what keep him coming back to the show. 

“You can actually breathe here,” Valencia said.

The live performances are loved by many, including Ransom’s general manager, Wesley Sheffield, who was the one who insisted on having the Fire Tribe back after the pandemic. 

“Our weekend starts on Wednesday,” Sheffield said. 

The business heightens on that day, but it is a welcome sign for Ransom workers. “Ransom is a cool place to encounter new ideas, things you haven’t seen before,” Sheffield said.

Trivia, karaoke, live music, dance floors and football game showings are just some of the nightlife events Ransom boasts throughout the week. 

Inspiral Fire Tribe member performing at Ransom Pub, Sept.14, 2022. (Marwa Farid)

Sheffield said he and his staff try to maintain a diverse atmosphere daily to allow everyone to feel comfortable at the pub. 

“We try to have something for everyone,” Sheffield said. “Maybe it’s Wednesdays, maybe it’s Thursdays, but we want everyone to have a day at Ransom that they can feel comfortable and enjoy themselves here.”

Ransom Pub is located on 747 W. King St. Admission to the Wednesday festivities is $10 for those under the age of 21, and free for everyone else.