By Crystal Harrell

Idyllwild, California, has garnered popularity as a travel destination with mountain town charm and natural beauty. Outdoor recreational activities like hiking or rock climbing have put Idyllwild on the map, but what some might not know is the growing hub of local musical artists and festivals that are making a cultural impact.

Until now, there has not been a commercial recording studio in Idyllwild. Many talented producers have home studios, but Audiowild Studios is located directly in the middle of town center and within walking distance of all that Idyllwild has to offer. The studio is owned and operated by local producer and musician, Brian Parnell. He is also the Event Coordinator of the Idyllwild Strong Benefit Festival and was President of Young Idyllwild Inc, a local nonprofit organization. Brian is also known for playing guitar and singing for the hard rock trio Throw The Goat, producing and releasing music on his own label Regurgitation Records.

“Audiowild started as kind of just an experiment. I had been recording bands and putting on shows out of my little one-bedroom apartment in Idyllwild, and I was actually recording quite a few bands from the desert. It was pretty much the plan from day one,” shared Parnell.


Before acquiring the building space for Audiowild Studios in March of 2021, Parnell was working multiple jobs, and his health was starting to deteriorate. The pandemic made things even more complicated as he started to look around for a commercial space to use as a studio.  The building he found was formerly a church, the center for spiritual living, and it was exactly what Parnell was looking for.

“The idea was to have a place for Throw The Goat to rehearse and see if other bands wanted to rehearse and possibly record, maybe do some shows. I wasn’t really entirely sure what I was going to be able to get away with, and I had zero money. I put everything into just the first and last month’s rent and the security, and then just slowly started doing the remodeling and stuff that needed to be done, mostly by myself, with a handful of friends helping out,” stated Parnell.

Audiowild Studios held its first show in July of 2021 with People of the Sun—a Rage Against the Machine cover band. Parnell had originally wanted his studio to double as a performance venue space but lacked the equipment to do so. He was then approached by a sound engineer named Chris Mitchell, a transplant from Nashville, working in studios and doing live front of house engineering for at least 30 years. The two also had previously worked together for the Idyllwild Strong Festival back in 2018 and 2019.

“He reached out and was basically like, ‘hey, I’ve got a bunch of gear that’s in storage. I’m paying to keep it in storage every month. But you’ve got this space, and you’ve got an insane work ethic like I do. I think we would do well together.’ So, we kind of Frankensteined our equipment together, and we came up with the best sounding system of any venue, I would say at least within 25 miles. But having a place for full bands to perform and having an actual music venue town would be super beneficial. And it’s a little interesting doing something that’s never really been done in town before versus a concept that people are really familiar with,” explained Parnell.

Struggling to compete with local bars seemed to take a promising turn when Parnell started talking to a consultant for ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) and discovered the type 90 license. This was a brand-new license specifically for music venues. It would allow Audiowild Studios to do alcohol sales without needing to serve food while still being able to do all ages shows. ABC gave the thumbs up and so did the Department of Environmental Health. But the Planning Department denied the request as the term “music venue” does not exist in the zoning ordinance for Riverside County.

“They said getting the type 90 license was impossible in this county and that maybe I could be designated as an auditorium, but we don’t have enough parking spaces for that. And we can’t afford all the fees involved to change our zoning. So, the plan right now is to become a church that worships music. The Audiowild Church of Divine Vibes,” said Parnell.

Audiowild Studios welcomes all genres of performance, having hosted punk rock shows, jazz and country acts, local jam nights, dance classes, acoustic showcases, EDM shows, heavy metal bands, and even standup comedy. At Local Jam Night on Thursdays, Parnell tries to encourage collaboration and lets others take the initiative to go up on stage.

Future plans for Audiowild Studios include the launch of a new local magazine next month to help promote the Idyllwild music scene, called Idyllwild Rocks! Magazine, which will be available for free. A podcast is also in the works, centered on Parnell discussing the current state of the music industry while using Audiowild Studios as the backdrop.

To learn more about upcoming events or shows, visit the official Audiowild Studios website at or follow them on Instagram and Facebook @audiowildstudios.