Fort Collins is the Startup City Built on Rock-n-Roll

Fort Collins Music

Fort Collins, Colorado is a collaborative, non-competitive, startup music city without a big ego. Fort Collins is a city built for musicians by musicians. For over ten years, musicians laid the groundwork for the next golden era of “musicprenuers“ by constructing an ecosystem built on encouragement, support, and empowerment. This shifts the paradigm and disrupts the music industry systems of the past.

The foundation without ego

Ten years ago, some “small time” local bands needed a place to play in Fort Collins. The Venues wanted to attract big national touring acts, not book local bands. Fort Collins was not a town thriving on a local music scene, just yet. Greta Cornett, a member of one the few ska bands in Colorado, 12 cents for Marvin, was one of the Fort Collins musicians experiencing the ramifications of this. The musicians wanted more gigs, and they wanted them to be in their own backyard. Instead of moving away or playing on the street, they rallied together and converted a local bar, Road 34, into a performance venue.

Greta Cornett is the Co-Founder and President – Board Member of Fort Collins Music Association. Photo by Marc Leverette Photography

The community of musicians flocked to play at Road. When they were not playing, they were supporting each other. As much as they needed to be on stage, they craved good live music. It was evident the level of talent in this town and the need for venue support. Tight relationships formed. The ties that fated them were the kindred desires to unify the musicianship of FoCo. Musicians sought to build awareness of the burgeoning music scene in their hometown. The newfound friends talked about how to support music in this town every Sunday, unofficially over beers. As much as it looked like just a “Sunday-Funday” inadvertently, they started a music revolution.

That is how Fort Collins Music Association (FoCoMA), a nonprofit musicians association, originated.

FoCoMA wanted to celebrate the performers and their successes with a local “Grammy style” awards ceremony, The Peer Awards. Regional awards ceremonies were not aware of the talent in Fort Collins. Bands vote on the winners in the respective categories, discover another local band, go out, and support. The first Peer Awards bands were clueless on how to cast the vote. The lack of venue support and exposure in this town was showing and something had to change. That led to the next great innovation of the FoCoMA, which was a “local mini-fest,” to highlight the bands before the Peer Awards so the musicians could give an educated vote. It would also turn the community on to the emerging local music scene.

The original idea consisted of four venues with only a hand full of Fort Collins bands. The association introduced the idea to the City of Fort Collins, who rallied with abounding support. In its first year, FOCOMX, the Fort Collins Music Experiment, booked over 111 bands in 19 Fort Collins venues, well over what they thought. Over the next few years, FoCoMX evolved into a Front Range musician festival. Acts from Southern Wyoming to Denver all apply to play.

Greta Cornell talks about the progression of FoCoMx:

“We may have started the festival, but I feel like the musicians have the ownership of it, and the people who help, who care about it, and come out and support it. We all have an input on what a sustainable model for the festival should be. What do we want it to be? It is whatever we make it. That is why it is the Experiment.”

The Fort Collins Music Experiment is a two-day festival in Fort Collins with a diverse inclusive lineup mixing local favorites, youth, and newcomers. As they celebrated the ninth year of the festival this year, 1259 submitted applications with 258 bands on the playbill.

A booking committee listens to every single submission and makes the decisions. FoComx is all volunteer led. Even the venues close their doors for two days to the outside world and donate their space to the festival. All the ticket sales go to the artists who perform.

Eric Gilbert, Co-founder of Treefort Music Fest and Alysia Kraft discuss the logistics of a local music festival.

Eric Gilbert, Co-founder of Treefort Music Fest and Alysia Kraft discuss the logistics of a local music festival. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

There are Pro Development workshops during FoCoMx in addition to live music, which is to inform and educate the community about important issues affecting musicians. This year Eric the Co-founder of Treefort Music Fest, and current festival director and talent buyer emerging arts and music festival based in Boise, Idaho spoke on a panel with local musicians to discuss the synergy and dissonance betwixt the two festivals. As well as an affordable housing for the creative community talk evaluating the current housing needs for the creative artist.

Sitting on these panels are members of the FoCoMx board, musicians, professionals and employees from organizations that serve as relationship builders for the creative art scene in Fort Collins.

All of Greta’s hard work and persistence created a scene that is bursting at the seams with growth. The musicians are pliable, innovative, and integrated with musicpreneur credibility.

Supportive synergic relationships

The Music District is a hub of education, performance, and support for musicians and aficionados in Fort Collins. Erin Roberts is the Community Manager. She duals her time as the lead singer of soul rock band Porlolo and she is a lifetime trumpet player.

Erin Roberts of Porlolo and the Music District playing at FoCoMx 2017 on the main stage of Downtown Artery.

Erin Roberts of Porlolo and the Music District playing at FoCoMx 2017 on the main stage of Downtown Artery. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

As the community manager, she manages the internal operations of the District. She is akin to the air traffic controller of the music district in a broad way. Erin is new to living in Fort Collins but moved here because she believes in the vision of the musicianship in Fort Collins. The scene has outgrown the Status quo and is building up a strong foundation to propel. Erin is a key player in the strategic plan. She took a role at the Foundation knowing the strength of the roots in the local scene. Like the FoCo music scene, she is just as hungry to grow.

Erin Roberts discusses her decision to commit to a life in Fort Collins:

“I have been in bands for as long as I could remember. I have played the trumpet since the fourth grade. I needed this to be a place where I thought my music career would thrive. It felt like a scene that loved music and supported music.”

Erin Roberts is the lead singer of Porlolo and the Community Manager at the Music District

Erin Roberts is the lead singer of Porlolo and the Community Manager at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

She did not come alone. The Bohemian Foundation also hired the drummer from her band Porlolo, Ben Desoto, as a talent buyer. Roberts knew the hire would enrich her vision of music in Fort Collins and enhance her role as community Manager of the Music District.

Erin suggests:

“It all worked together in a very symbiotic way.”

The most rewarding part of her position is overseeing the tenants and Co-workers of the Music District. Ten music-related businesses with devoted offices that are 80% music related are her responsibility to nurture. She gets to see “Music as a business” prosper and thrive in the community. Each one is interdependent of one another but a whole subset of community is being born within the walls of the space.

“It blows my mind that so many smart entrepreneurs and individuals that are making a great living off of music in this town. It is not just musicians but a whole industry that supports musicians integral to the industry. I think is important for a music scene. You cannot just have the musicians. Management, sound, lawyers, and everything else that connects to that. Knowing that element is here in Fort Collins it gives me great faith that this will be a great music city.”

The tenants have below market rate rent and add value to the workspace through a community contribution. This free programming event is a workshop to the public in the Music District. The whole idea is not that they come to the district, shut their doors, and work away in the office, but to have an open door and to give back to the community. Offer a bit of guidance, or expertise in their field and to interact with the community in multiple ways. This community gives back for the sake of enriching others lives with knowledge.

The philanthropic spirit of the future

Julie Sutter is the Programs Director of the Music District. Organically through her passion and philanthropic spirit, she has enriched the culture of music in Fort Collins. Sutter grew up in Colorado. She went away to College in Dallas, TX at Southern Methodist University where artist surrounded her and musicians that immersed her in an artistic culture as a journalist. Julie traveled around after college, compelled to come back to Colorado, she returned to be near to family.

Thirteen years ago Julie Sutter was working remotely for a software company. After a few years of being a digital nomad, she craved community. Julie sought out opportunities to get involved with music and creatives, two of her favorite things. Sutter volunteered for Bohemian Nights, a fun citywide festival built on community volunteers and touring musicians. The following year the Bohemian Foundation hired Julie as an official contract writer for Bohemian Nights.

Julie speaks of the relationship of the music ecosystem:

“I think the thread through all of this is, there is the artist and then there is the audience. The art can happen without the audience but at some point, it is so much more fun when you are both there and you can break down that barrier between the two.”

Julie Sutter is the Programs Director at the Music District

Julie Sutter is the Programs Director at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Julie is avant-garde in the Fort Collins music industry.  She is a long time music fan and her most notable work is empowering Fort Collins musicians with the non-profit organization, SpokesBUZZ. SpokesBUZZ was foundational in creating the Fort Collins music scene. SpokesBUZZ incubated local Fort Collins bands with education and training on how to be a band. They elevated local bands to national platforms and empowered them to be professional performing entities. They started the Colorado Music Party at South by Southwest and Band swap.

Sutter met Dani Grant, owner of Mishawaka Amphitheater and fellow music supporter while volunteering at Bohemian Nights. They connected on a deep level almost instantly. Dani formed SpokesBuzz and Julie accepted a role of Marketing Director where she remained for six years.

Julie speaks about her relationship with music:

“I was never classically trained in music, I was never immersed in art history, but it feels a spot in my heart and in my life that nothing else does. Nothing else works as quickly, nothing else works as easily. It is the ultimate healing experience and the ultimate joy. I always feel that when I am exposed to any sort of art. But music is really the short circuit for me that is a quick way.”


The Music District is less than one-year-old but it is constantly evolving. The main goal is to take the relationships that all the staff makes out in the world with artist, musicians, and music business and to bring it back through programs and community. These are both educational and inspiring programs with a component of savoir-faire from seasoned, well-established, musicpreneurs, performing artist, and industry leaders.

Programs and partnerships

Programming at the District is two-fold. It attracts industry experts to come into the space and use it as a platform for education, but it acts as amplification to the industry as a whole. Geographical location does not restrict a musician. They are out on the road touring most of the year. The District can be home for a creative project, it can be an inspiration polestar to create an album. It can be where a new band convenes once a week to practice. It can be the home to magic within your instrument. It is where you can find your place in music. It is whatever you want it to be. It is an open door for anyone, fans, globetrotters, community members, and professionals. A number of programs are evolving at the Music District.

The staff director, Jesse Elliott, who is a national touring artist, will help shape these ideas and nurture them with Julie. He does a big deal of outreach to research new concepts and they work as a unit to transpose these ideas to working programs, that will enrich the community of musicians that live here, and be a home for a touring musician while passing through.

Julie expresses the communication of music:

“I am not a musician myself but it is such a universal language we can all connect really quickly to one another.”

Artist in residence is a program that allows a touring musician passing through to stay in an Airbnb-style apartment on campus. The musician is to contribute a program open to the community. Joe Pug was one of the many touring musicians that took part in the program.

Joe Pug leading the workshop, “How to Steal like a Professional Songwriter

Joe Pug leading the workshop, “How to Steal like a Professional Songwriter” during his artist in residency stay at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Pug performed at the Downtown Artery in Fort Collins. While visiting the Fort he took advantage of the residency at the Music District and taught the “How to Steal like a Professional Songwriter” workshop.
It was an intimate experience where Pug seemed more of a peer than an icon. It broke down the audience to artist barriers by opening the door to discussions, and questions for musicians to hone their own songwriting craft.

Joe Pug smiles as he plans his delivery on how to steal like a professional in his artist in residency at the Music District.

Joe Pug smiles as he plans his delivery on how to steal like a professional in his artist in residency at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

A newly formed partnership between Colorado Sound, Colorado State University and on site videographers, to produce national programming for the Colorado page on the national VuHaus page. Vu Haus released the first of many Colorado Music performances with local musician Brent Cowles playing at the Colorado Sound birthday party. This is a unique model of students, professionals, and the organization working together to create a nationally aired production.

VuHaus filming Brent Cowles at the Colorado Sound birthday celebration.

VuHaus filming Brent Cowles at the Colorado Sound birthday celebration. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

A video is an important part of marketing for a band. As an expansion of this idea, a series workshop for musicians that teach skills in creating video is in the process. It ends in a- 48-film fest for musicians and is free to attend: Music Video Creation Series II: Working Together. All you have to do is Rsvp free on the Music District website. The district programming aims to give a working musician access to tools or knowledge to become a sustainable professional.

Vu Haus Colorado filming Dragon Deer at the Colorado Sound birthday party in Fort Collins at the Aggie Theater.

Vu Haus Colorado filming Dragon Deer at the Colorado Sound birthday party in Fort Collins at the Aggie Theater.

Programs aim to educate and inform musicians and the community. As the district matures, they will continue to have programming that elevates the musicianship of the city.


Community building through organizations

Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski is a nationally recognized Co-working expert that creates Co hubs for people to work in shared spaces. Angel had musician friends in Fort Collins that had gotten their gear stolen. This is one of the most common occurrences in the music world. Often musicians do not have insured gear, so it is a loss of their livelihood if stolen. Out of a need for secure, safe rehearsal space and a realization that musicians are essentially freelancers, Angel, Julie Sutter, and Shane Zweygardt, Technical Manager of the Music District, all pulled their innovative spirit together to create a Coworking-style rehearsal space-Cohere Bandwidth.

Angel shares about the scene:

“The thing I have learned because I haven’t been in the music industry except through Cohere Bandwidth is that the people who are supporting the musicians in Fort Collins are musicians. They form the foundation of the fan base.”

Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski is a nationally recognized coworking expert who started CoHere Bandwidth - a shared workspace for musicians.

Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski is a nationally recognized coworking expert who started Cohere Bandwidth – a shared workspace for musicians. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Mishawaka marketing manager and longtime Fort Collins musician, Tim Massa is the Community Cultivator. He plans and carries out events and is the main contact for bands using the space. Cohere is a shared rehearsal space that is back lined. All you have to do is book a room, bring your instruments, and plug in. Besides the rehearsal space, they have educational resources and networking opportunities. Twice a month there is an opportunity to meet individuals who are seeking new band members, want to form a new band or just want to mix and mingle. Local bands provide a live show after the meetup. They helped bands prepare for FOCOMX  with workshops and prep playlist.Cohere has an upcoming play date for musicians’ which happens monthly. The next workshop is Social Media for bands, RSVP here.

Tim discusses the ways he brings organizations together:

“We always try to make it a community building event. On our panels, we try to get representation from as many bands, FOCOMA, the Music District.”

Timo Massa is the Marketing Director of the Mishawaka Amphitheatre and formerely the Aggie and Hodi's Half Note.

Timo Massa is the Marketing Director of the Mishawaka Amphitheatre and formerly the Aggie and Hodi’s Half Note. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Angel is bringing big town ideas to a small town of Fort Collins. She hopes it adds value to the community and the bands keep showing up. She bases all her decisions on market research and data collected. The latest research for the creative community is the issue of affordable housing. Creatives can take the survey and give input on the future of housing in Fort Collins. These efforts are directed through the City of Fort Collins, the Downtown Development Authority, Bohemian Foundation, and national nonprofit Artspace Projects are leading the Arts Market Study phase.

Overall, the efforts from all the organizations build a community so much that people are attending shows from genres out of their norm. There is a comrade around supporting friends, not taste. They are learning to work together as a stronger unit so they can act as a united force of music. There is a crossover of member sharing that happens.

Local involvement

In the summer, you can see live local and national music free almost every day of the week.

Noontime Notes Concert Series in Oak street plaza every Tuesday starting June 6 featuring local music.

The Lagoon Concerts are every Wednesday at the Lagoon on the Colorado State University Campus. The line-up is all local bands.

Thursday Night Live is every Thursday in Old Town Square featuring all Colorado lineup starting June 1.

Downtown Sessions every Friday featuring an all Colorado Lineup.

Sounds of summer every Saturday at Front Range Village.

Summer Sunday’s at Foothills mall every Sunday starting May 28.

For the grand finale, stay tuned to Bohemian Nights at New West Fest free three-day festival in August.

To learn more about the local artist or get involved check out organizations and sponsors that host weekly free music events. Fort Collins is a city built on rock-n-roll, aside from these events there is music in venues, festivals, and patios throughout the town.

There is inclusiveness and a startup mentality encompassed within “FoCo Music.” Musicians are bonding together to raise the bar on the industry. They are working to take a grassroots approach to music and build a new ecosystem that thrives and supports musicprenuership locally and globally.


Using Travel to Change the World

Social Causes

Traveling for a holiday, engaging with a new culture and diving into the relics of the town is such an adventure. Travel fills the spirit, delights the soul and broadens the mind. Some people travel once a year to have an experience. Some travel once a month for work. Some make a lifestyle of travel by being a digital nomad. No matter the circumstance, when you go you are given the opportunity to change the world.

According to the global travel and tourism statistics, “The travel and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest industries with a global economic contribution (direct, indirect and induced) of over 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016. The direct economic impact of the industry, including accommodation, transportation, entertainment, and attractions, was approximately 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars that year. Some countries, such as France and the United States, are consistently popular tourism destinations, but other, less well-known countries are quickly emerging to reap the economic benefits of the industry.”

There are socially conscious organizations and companies that give back to communities they visit which builds awareness globally and unites the world in a way that is positive and strengthens the broader outreach of a destination location.

Travel is a luxury for so many. A journey is a place but when you land the people who live there also have an opportunity to learn about you. You can enrich people who may never even leave their hometowns just by being open to giving back and sharing your story. The vulnerability can bridge the gap, build trust, and unite connections.

Traverse Journeys is just one company that is making an impact in the sustainable ecotourism space. Every trip generates a donation of 5% of sales to the community partner. The benefits are money stays within the community not only through the employment provided through tourism but also by supporting local organizations that are working hard to enhance conservation, support community healthcare, mitigate homelessness, provide education, create job opportunities and engage in myriad other social and environmental causes.

Join Traverse on New Zealand Fantasy in November. Project Jonah is their local registered charity partner. Project Jonah believes marine mammals desperately need our help. Their vision is to create a world where these animals are respected and protected.

If traveling changes your life so much, why not make an impact on others when you travel?

New Zealand offers on American Airlines until September 14, 2018.

Sign up using CW‘ in the discount code field for $100 off with Traverse Journey.

Beth Bombara sits outside the Magic Rat in Fort Collins, Co embarking the start of her national tour for the new release, Map & No Direction.

Coming Out of the Darkness with a Map & No Direction

Touring Bands

Beth Bombara sits outside the Magic Rat in Fort Collins, CO continuing her national tour for the release, Map & No Direction. Her tone is full of anticipation and reflection on the journey she took to compose this piece of work. Map & No Direction is an evolution for Beth. It represents a change, a growth in her creativity, and her struggle with depression.

BETH BOMBARA on the patio at the Downtown Artery.

BETH BOMBARA on the patio at the Downtown Artery.

“You know, a lot of artists have ups and downs, and I was at a pretty low point. I wasn’t inspired to write music. I didn’t want to play the guitar, and I did not even want to get out of bed. So writing this album was like a slow climb out of that. I wrote my way out of that very low point. The title song Map & No Direction was the first song that I wrote. It was beginning of the process, like climbing out of the darkness.”

BETH BOMBARA on the patio at the Downtown Artery.

BETH BOMBARA on the patio at the Downtown Artery.

The interesting thing about the album Map & No Direction is that Beth has people tell her often that those songs or that song, in particular, has helped them go through a healing process. “The song was an amazing gift to me, and it is even more amazing that it can help others in the same way. Music is a healing process. When I was writing Map & No Direction, I didn’t know what it was about until it was finished. Writing can be like self-realization for me, a kind of meditation.” Indeed Beth is in touch with a place of vulnerability that opens the door for others to seek solace and healing through her melodies.

“I didn’t know it would help other people in that way. People have sent me messages about how my music has helped them get through hard times, including life threatening illnesses, and the loss of loved ones, and say my music has helped them get through that hard time.”

Creativity is not always such an easy career path, and it isn’t straightforward.

Beth says, “I think the ups and downs of being a creative is a struggle. When the work comes it rushes, and when it doesn’t it doesn’t, and there are so many doubts that go with it. That’s what I was doing a lot in my darkest place, doubting my abilities, and that can turn into a horrible cycle. To constantly doubt yourself.”

This tour is different from past projects for Beth, “So Kit and I have done a lot of Duo stuff together, and he had an upright bass that kind of fit the songs that I was writing at the time. Then when I released my most recent album, I reached a point where I realized this Duo that we had done wouldn’t be able to get across the newer songs that I had written. And so at that point, I put together a full band.”

Beth has been a solo artist, and she has been in a duo with her husband Kit. He is front and center in her group and her musical career. She met Kit at an artist community program in 2001 and they are now married.  Beth says it is definitely an enriching relationship in both love and music. “Life is never dull, I found that we work well together because we’re so different but because different things are hard to navigate, but we’ve been able to figure that out.  He does a lot of producing and Engineering/Recording, and so having that mind of someone who can see the big picture and the vision to make whatever the best version of a song is great. So I come up with basic ideas, and then he helps me hone them in.”

BETH BOMBARA on the patio at the Downtown Artery.

BETH BOMBARA on the patio at the Downtown Artery.

Her approach to songwriting is always through a creative vein, and she lets the music come to her, and that is why her sound is so unique. It comes from a place deep within and is not forced or groomed until she processes what erupts emotionally when she lets it flow. “Generally, the music and the Melody comes to me first. Occasionally, and in this is only happened to me once,  but it is the most amazing magical thing: I sat down and wrote a song, The music, the lyrics, the melody, everything completely rushed into the session, and like one hour just sitting down. That’s never happened to me before, but that’s like a magical experience in songwriting for me. The song is Long Dark Hallelujah.”

What is next for Beth? She is taking this new band experiment and writing while on tour.

“I’m working on writing a new album while touring with the band. When we were passing through Denver we stayed at a friend’s house, and we brought our gear into her basement, and we worked out a couple of songs.”

She wants to write together each night to explore this new energy and track the songs live when they record.

“I’ve never done that on the road before with the band. So, it is a fresh first experience. I think the goal with this next album I wanted to take the song ideas to the band, and we’ll work them out together and then I’m hoping we can go and track those songs live in the studio.  We did it that way with my self-titled album which and I never tracked a record that way before. The process was a cool way to do it because you do like five takes of one song and then everybody’s like, okay, which takes did you like the best and then that’s it, and then I go in and do vocals. That is the process.”

Find Beth traveling on the road and listen to the new album Map & No Direction. Perhaps it can help you with your own struggle.



Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket

The Songwriter Behind the Performer

Touring Bands

Glen Phillips, the principal writer for Toad the Wet Sprocket and his solo projects, takes the stage in Fort Collins at The Armory on April 25, 2018, at 7 p.m. With over 30 years experience as a musician, Glen expresses the growth and struggles that produced the latest album, Swallowed by the New:

“I think I am a writer first and a musician and other things second, probably. This album is less of a stick it to you break up album and more about transitions as a whole. This album is about changing and accepting those massive changes. I think it is a similar set of skills whether it’s having your kids grow up, or having death, which comes to everybody in different forms at different times, illness, aging, any of those major life changes. It is looking at the toolkit I have to deal with that. Where is it functioning and where is it not functioning. Some of the songs are maybe relationship specific, but there is a lot of emphasis on just acceptance. How do I deal with change? How do I not fight that force and that movement?”

Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Press photo provided by Glen Phillips

Glen originally released the album on his own, but Compass Records just re-released it. Phillips is touring to promote the songs and share his stories with audiences across the United States.

There is one particularly gripping, vulnerable song on Swallowed by the New, Go. Glen talks about his process of writing the song and what it meant to him,

“Go is a co-write with Chris out of Portland. He had the basic melody which was the verse and just the line, “you know where to go.” I had been listening to a podcast about lighthouses having this particular model of love. Where most things say, “I love you, please come closer, let me hold you.” Lighthouses say, “I love you, go over there. I want the best for you. Don’t come here. It is rocky.”  When that song was written, I had seen both sides of love. There are so many songs about “how could you do this to me?” I feel like life works more in the strange thing that we get to play all the characters.It constructs itself in this way that we get to be the one who leaves, and we get to be the one who is left. If we are paying attention, we get to learn what it is like from each perspective. I have been both the person to go away and the person telling someone else to go away. With a song like Go, a lot of what I am trying to achieve is to write it from the point of view that it is not about necessarily grievance or narrative but a phenomenon as a whole. Trying to look at the emotional truth of it and the pain of it without casting dispersion. There is a particular pain to breaking up with someone. It is agonizing. I thought being broken up with was hard but breaking up with someone else is terrible. They are both tough, and there is an acute sense of grief in either position if there was love in the relationship.”


Now that Glen has signed a new deal with Compass his take on the music industry has shifted.

He has a new appreciation for his artistry and his audience,


“It has been interesting to hook up with Compass Records. I haven’t had a record company in a while. Compass is a record company based on selling a few records to adults, and that is a new business model. The major music world always ends young and always ends broad, and it is not about making a living. It is about trying to have a smash hit and make a killing. Working with people who know that their bread and butter is not paying attention to that world is a really nice thing. It is sending back the message to me as an artist that I am actually doing the right thing already. I had an experience recently with a friend coming to see my show. She looked around the room in Santa Barbara and said, “you have a lot of elders here” I looked around, and there were a lot of people 50, 60, and 70. I was thinking all my life I wanted to be one of the cool kids. I wanted to be more of a punk. I wanted the cool kids to like me, and they didn’t, and now, it is a group of people coming to see me, that know some things. They are not trying to be cool anymore, and I am saying something about life that resonates with people who have lived. It was the first time I realized it, and I thought “now, that’s cool!” It was this recognition that people who had wisdom cared about what I have to say. And that made me really excited. Feeling like I actually have been writing the songs I wanted to write, and I was reaching the people I wanted to reach.”


Glen has taken on a new project in his community and is dancing for the first time since he was a child.  His heart has had a revitalization of joy,


“I have been doing a lot of community song leading which is kind of instant choirs. It gets people together. The songs are short. You can teach them fairly quick. Mostly things we sing I have not written. They are spiritual and uplifting and beautiful. Within five minutes you can have a group of 30 people signing a song with three parts. For people who don’t sing a lot, it is challenging, and it is so amazing to hear the sound that people can make. It is kind of like church without the sermon or a dogma. There is no religion involved, but it has that feeling of creating something beautiful together, aiming towards something bigger. That kind of experience has been a driving force in my life. I am feeling more and more drawn to that. In my shows what I offer is a vulnerability and a safe place to feel the feels and look at the stuff, people spend a lot of time avoiding which means it is a smaller crowd. It is people who want to face those emotions head on and find the joy that comes out of vulnerability. Our culture certainly emphasizes skipping to the fun parts but you kind of miss the depth when that happens.”


This community singing where the sermon is the music has struck a chord in his heart and maybe influenced his future album,


“The difference that is starting to happen to me is from doing the community singing work. I am curious what my next record will be. I have been filling out a lot of concepts for group songs and lyrics. I started dancing again after being shamed out of it as a child. I also have been singing joyful songs. They take me to the place I want to be. I recently discovered I like singing songs about the way I want to feel and they end up making me feel that way. So the next album might be a little more joyful.”


Glen travels and sings and writes. Sometimes he is solo; sometimes he is a leader, sometimes he is a frontman for a rock n roll band. Glen’s songwriting is introspective and vulnerable with an ease an openness that gives the feeling that loss is a part of life and it is ok to talk about it, and process it, but not to hold on to it. His music reminds the audience to find the joy in every day, in each moment, in the pain, and even in the outcome.


Check out his latest release, Swallowed by the New. See him on tour or catch his community choir. He is a man who loves music in so many different ways.

Friday in the Fort

Around town

Friday Night Guide to Fort Collins:


Friday Events Around Town:

11:00 AM-8:00 PM

Settle Down Brown Ugly Sweater Party

Odell Brewing Co


11:00 AM-5:00 PM

Nativities & Trees: Global Traditions

Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures

Fat Tire Friday at 5:30  live music at New Belgium from The Ugly Architect.

5:00 PM-9:00 PM

Brewery Lights Ft. Collins Anheuser-Busch

Budweiser Brewery Experience (Fort Collins, CO)


5:00 PM-9:00 PM

Garden of Lights

Gardens on Spring Creek

5:00 PM-9:00 PM

Winter Wonderlights

Chapungu Sculpture Park, Loveland


5:00 PM-8:00 PM

Fort Collins Foodie Walk

Downtown Fort Collins


7:00 PM-10:00 PM

Good Manners, special guests

Magic Rat Live Music


8:30 PM-11:30 PM

Jalan Crossland w/ Pappy Longlegs

Avogadro’s Number









Hop Grenade Blends Local Community with an Innovative Flair

Craft Beer, Fort Collins Music

The Hop Grenade taproom blends education, technology, music, and a one of a kind rotating line up of beers. The new craft beer establishment opened in Fort Collins because they wanted to elevate craft beer. They wanted to offer something for the community and take a robust rooted element like beer and present it in different ways.


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The Hop Grenade tap room and digital menu. Photo by Hop Grenade


Justin Crossley is one of the owners of The Brewing Network, host of The Session and the owner of the Hop Grenade. Crossley host a long-standing podcast for professional and homebrewers from around the globe in the back room of the tap house. They started the podcast in Justin’s garage in San Francisco. The network grew into the first site in the East Bay of San Francisco. Now they expanded the system to Fort Collins. The first podcast listenership were homebrewers. As they homebrewers graduated to craft beer professionals, the network transitioned too.

Justin talks about the shows:

“We interview professionals so that homebrewers can learn what they do. We mix in industry professionals to talk about beer scenes. We discuss flavoring, yeast, techniques and the whole brewing process.”

The community is a cornerstone of the organization of both the California location and now Colorado. Part of the reason they chose Fort Collins was because of the active community that surrounds the brewing industry and ally with the brewers. They have local food in the taproom and feature Friday Night Flights that collaborates with a local business. December the flight’s pair with Walrus Ice Cream. A limited amount of flights consisting of four, 4 oz. Beers paired with four handmade and specially curated ice creams, including Horse & Dragon‘s Sad Panda ice cream, specially made just for Hop Grenade.

The tech-savvy establishment displays a current daily lineup in real-time on a digital screen, online, and in the tap-room. The display tells how long until the keg is tapped.The digital system that powers the tap-room was custom-built. Every table gets the handheld device to sort through the current list of beers. All the TV’s and the website link together. They show how much beer remains in the tap. The keg red flashes red when the beer gets low so you can plan your beer drinking from anywhere.

Justin solved a problem in the restaurant industry. With this system, he says:

“It is greener, in the long run, I think it will have saved us money over time. The user experience is fantastic. You sit down; you get a screen. You can scroll through in real-time. I never have to tell you we are out of something you have your heart set on. We solved for ourselves this industry problem of outdated paper menus.”

They have a roving events calendar. They host local music on Saturday night. 

December 16 features live music from William & Thomas from The Ugly Architect.

The Hop Grenade Taproom is an original place to enjoy some local favorites and try something new. It has a modern tech flair with a warm, inviting atmosphere.


A 31 Year Celebration for Big Head Todd

Fort Collins Music, Touring Bands


Big Head Todd originated in the great state of Colorado. They got their feet wet in the Poudre in the early years. Big Head Todd will play a sold-out show sponsored by the Colorado Sound at the Aggie theatre on Dec.21 for their hometown crowd. The band went to Columbine High School together. Lead vocal and guitarist Todd Mohr spread his wings to Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Drummer/vocalist Brian Neven and Bass/vocal Rob Squires attended the University of Colorado in Boulder. The trio has toured extensively along the Front Range as Big Head Todd and the Monsters since 1987.

Todd talks about coming back to the Fort:

“The band grew up in Colorado and I went to school at CSU for a spell.  Fort Collins was one of the early adopters for our band and it feels terrific to come home!”

They have a new Album, New World Arisin’ that sticks to their roots but exemplifies a maturity and synchronicity only a band who grew up together can produce.

After so many years of playing music together there comes an evolution of sorts. Morh says, “This tour represents success for us as a band in many ways.  Firstly we have been together for over 31 years, and we still love what we do.  Secondly and more significantly, we still have fans that want to hear the music we are creating currently.  It’s one thing to survive but its quite another to be putting out great new material. I don’t know that our music has evolved, but I would hope that we’ve gotten better as a band.  I know I’ve gotten to be a better musician because I am really starting to enjoy learning!”

His favorite thing to do when visiting Fort Collins is to fish Poudre Canyon.

As for the music ecosystem in Colorado, Todd is grateful to be one of the significant successes. He says: “Colorado is a great place as a home for any band because there are so many music lovers and it seems concerts are a way of life.  There are also incredible venues – Red Rocks for one.”

For any band wanting to grow and thrive in the Front Range, Todd offers his expertise:


“My advice to young bands is to develop a great relationship with your audience.  Also I suggest focusing on songs and songwriting.  Probably one of the main things most new bands neglect.”

Big Head Todd and the Monsters paved the road for the Colorado Music Scene. To see them live on Dec. 21st visit the Aggie theatre for tickets.


PPeter sitting in the Magic Rat

The Magical New Venue in Fort Collins

Fort Collins Music


Music in Fort Collins is like a cornerstone in the foundation of the city. There are an ample amount of venues to play, from historical Mishawaka to the newly developed Downtown Artery. The town offers unique opportunities for a musician to play for an audience in almost any setting desired. A new venue, The Magic Rat, is set to open in December adjacent to the Elizabeth Hotel. It’s art deco furnishings blend with modern flare bringing feels of magic to anyone who enters the room. It is somewhat euphoric in nature and ambiance.

Sage Restaurant Group Co-Founder Peter Karpinski’s tells the story of the vision of the music space claiming, “The name derived from the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, in his famous song Jungleland the protagonist name is the Magic Rat.” The lyrics are quite romantic with a bit of a rebellious nature:

“The Rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night, and the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine over the Jersey state line barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain. The Rat pulls into town rolls up his pants together they take a stab at romance and disappear down Flamingo Lane.”

The famous photo of Bruce that was the catalyst for the design will be on display in the Magic Rat.

Golden velvet couches line the walls of the dimly lit warm room. All the furniture is handcrafted just for the room. The stage is open and in line with the seating, so it gives it an intimate feel.

Peter says, “Magic Rat Live Music offersswinging sounds on tap weekly, from big name artists, to local late-night jam sessions.”

The entrance is in the alley flourishes with the twinkling of lights and soon to be retail shops that are all local and small business owners. The alleyway will blossom with activity from live music, to gatherings. The Marquee gleams bright highlighting the Rat’s indoor-outdoor bar with garage doors that open when the weather is warm.

The newly designed Emporium Kitchen will have a menu within the space serving a small cuisine crafted exceptionally for the music bar. The Emporium Kitchen, Wine Market, Bowerbird Coffee, and Magic Rat all are adjacent to the Elizabeth hotel.

The Emporium is a gathering spot with handcrafted cocktails, an open kitchen and bistro, a coffee bar and a wine market. Its beauty is in its simplicity. When you want fine dining with some of the most celebrated Northern Colorado chefs, you can sit in European seating and enjoy that. If you’re going to choose an excellent wine to take on a picnic the Wine Market has a selection to suit any palate. You can get a grab and go cheese and charcuterie plate with freshly baked bread. The coffee shop features local roaster Peritus Coffee with a walkup outdoor window or an internal Bowerbird Coffee shop. The Emporium thrives on supporting local Fort Collins food, bakers, and goods. It is highlighting the best from the local food scene. The decoration in the Emporium is locally commissioned art.

It is an actual gathering place that welcomes the community to build and grow within the walls and spaces that are elegant in design and thoughtful in approach.  Enjoy the most exquisite local delicacies and stop in for a little magic and music.

Star Cluster Initiative Downtown Artery

The Evolution of the Downtown Artery

Creative Arts, Everything Can Be Art

Musicians, and artists, and performers, oh my! Since its beginning, the Downtown Artery has made its multi-faceted space known for being an inclusive ecosystem for creatives to grow and flourish. As part of the building’s evolution, the Artery has opened its doors to the public for them to be part of each new installation by making every nook and cranny unique and a source of inspiration for all. How can you be part of each art installation, meet other creatives, and learn new multi-media techniques? Become a member of the Star Cluster Initiative.
With the Artery changing its hours, new times have been allotted to learn and create before the cafe and bar open at 4 p.m. Mon-Fri. If these opportunities and experiences seem interesting to you, please tune in to the Downtown Artery’s website and Facebook page, or just come on down to the corner of Linden and Jefferson to see what they have to offer. The cluster is undoubtedly a safe space for you to explore your creativity.

Adam of Tallgrass plays at Avogadro's number in Fort Collins.

Morfbeats: Where Art Meets Sound

Fort Collins Music




Sometimes the greatest gifts can change our lives. A craft or tool handed down from a former generation can bring out our innate abilities and modify the course of our lives. Adam Morford, creator/artist behind Morfbeats artistic percussive sound sculptures, visited his grandfather one winter a few years ago when a welder his grandfather used most of his life to craft was handed down. Adam, a man of great family values and heritage, embraced the gift.

“When it all started I wanted to make an instrument, not a cowbell or something typical. I wanted to essentially put all the sounds that weren’t available to me, in one instrument. Just the sounds that I liked, reminiscent of sounds used in movies, the darker scarier sounds.” ~Adam Morford


Adam Morford of Morfbeats performs with his band Tallgrass. Photo by Argento Studios

Adam Morford of Morfbeats performs with his band Tallgrass. Photo by Argento Studios


He was sketching one night and had an epiphany. He realized he should embrace himself and make something faithful to his origin and not just design what the world wanted him to. He is the creator, and this is his great invention. It didn’t have to look like anything that existed in the world.  He allowed himself the freedom to be his own man and part from the preconceptions of the world. He made a bell the next day twice as large as anything he had ever made.  That was the moment the walls came down, and it just happened, the signature instrument, the Marvin. It was June 23, 2016, Morfbeats became a reality.


Since then he and his brother manufacture handcrafted original percussive instruments in Adam’s garage. They have a small stock and are trying to stay ahead of the need. Original Marvin’s are always made to order due to the size and scale of work it takes to produce.  Morfbeats has made eight original sized Marvin’s. These are 24×24.He has made over 100 micro Marvin’s and over 100 mini Marvin’s in that time. These are the more portable version for traveling musicians. Adam just released his newest design in the Morfbeats family, the Tongue Head.


Billy Martin, writer of Wandering, percussion at Medeski, Martin, & Wood was an early adopter. After Adam, conceived Marvin he was aching to collaborate and produce even more artistic rhythm creations. He reached out to Billy on a whim and Billy was immediately intrigued. They spent some creative sessions together, and a forever friendship was made. Billy is one of Adam’s heroes.

Adam read Wandering after receiving it as a gift for Christmas around the same time as he got the welder. It forever altered his mindset about creativity and his abilities. Everything in the book resonated with Adam. The book was so influential to him. It made him leave shore and push to find himself. He is able to create instruments that cannot be bought at a store or replicated by anyone. He realized there are no rules to instruments you can use anything that makes a good sound.


This summer Billy invited Adam to present at his Camp Rhythm Sound and Magic in upstate NY. This is a creative camp for the most well-known percussionist in the World. Billy asked Adam to join and tell his story about being a sound sculpture and the process on how to build sound. There is a performance element, workshops, and ensembles. They learn new things and create music together. Adam has not felt a sense of community in Colorado and rather connected from the percussive innovators. Morford was always so inspired by Billy’s artistry, and now Morford’s hero is inspired equally by the things he does. He realized at that point, maybe he is doing something pretty cool and pretty special.



“When you do things with the right intentions, anything can happen.” ~Adam Morford


As the instruments refined, he gained the confidence and the ability to see that they could change the world of sound. Morfbeats has been quite simple in approaching the market. Most of the word is spread in a grassroots style. He made an Instagram for his mom to see what he was making and be proud of him. This sparked interest from people seeking something new and unique in percussion.  Matt Maccon of Bon Iver followed him on Instagram. Adam admired the group and all they have produced. The two met and innovated new techniques in experimentation and sound.

Morford says there is no box these things are in, there is no limit to the capability of sound.  Morfbeats has created new avenues for Adam to express himself. To be his own unique self, he had to create something no one else had yet something he had craved for. Adam is making waves of sound in the industry just by creating percussive devices that he needs as a musician. People agree, and they want to have a one-of-a-kind sounding instrument that bends the norms of percussion. Percussionists are craving originality in music and a personally tailored instrument.

Morford went from being the kid on the street looking up to these drummers, to them buying his creations and becoming their peer.  Adam has revived the craft and re-envisioned it. In one year, he has met so many of his heroes. There are still hundreds more of people he would love to work with. He will continue to innovate and collaborate and change the way percussion sounds in modern day music.


Adam plays percussion in the band Tallgrass with his brother, and another half of Morfbeats, Austin Morford and bandmate Matt Skinner.


Adam playing with Tallgrass at Avos. Photo by Argento Studios.


Visit Morfbeats to see the collection or make a purchase.








Adam of Tallgrass plays at Avogadro's number in Fort Collins.

Monday Montage

Around town, Fort Collins Music, Monday Music



There is never a shortage of things to do in FoCo. Want to discover a new band or explore the creative nightlife this week? Here are the top picks that will inspire you and maybe make you dance a little.



Monday, September 25:


Where to go?

Surfside 7. One of Fort Collins top dive bars. Surfside has a  full menu of mouthwatering delicacies like falafel burgers, homemade corndogs, and even Poutine. Full bar and eclectic décor. Take a selfie in the bathroom to mark your visit. Must bring friends.


Who’s playing?



“This is the first visit for every band & MF’s 1st show ever. They include members from “wire faces, fierce bad rabbit and somerset catalog”!”


This is a blended band from some of Fort Collins favorite local bands of all time. If you do anything this week…this is it. $8 cover.



Tuesday, September 26:


Where to go?

Music District Fort Collins musicprenuer hub. For all people who love music. A gathering place for events, workshops, rehearsals, lessons, and coworking.


Who’s playing?

John Zorn, New York-based composer and saxophonist involved in a variety of genres: jazz, rock, classical, world, improvised, and soundtracks.

And Matt Smiley, bassist, composer, and educator who has performed in a variety of musical settings over the last fifteen years.


Together they will lead the audience in John Zorn’s musical game piece “Cobra.”


“ Musicians are welcome to bring their acoustic instruments, as we will be teaching the composition throughout the performance, and have people from the audience sit in at the end.”


This is simply for the enjoyment of creating music. All are welcome. This is a free event.


Wednesday, September 27:


Where to go?

Wolverine Farm and Publick House. A nonprofit event space, letterpress print shop, and bar/cafe in the River District of Fort Collins, CO. Local beverages, pastries, handmade gifts and local authors. They even have a serve yourself popcorn maker.




What to do?

Pecha Kucha 20X20 people share their stories, art, and ideas in a simple presentation format–20 images for 20 seconds each–and talk along with the pictures. Pechakucha is a national event in over 900 cities worldwide. This event is meant to inspire, and unite friends while cultivating an open sharing environment.

The speakers for this event are:
* Brandon Buttry
* Mike Bartelme
* Colin Garfield
* Jeff Baldwin
* Patrick Edmiston
* Shari Due
* Natalie Scarlett
* Jana Knapp Sanchez
* Alisha Jacobs and Debi Kennison
* Whitney Wells
* Kirk Scramstad and Maka Kala.’


See Facebook event for Full details on each speaker.



Thursday, September 28:


Where to go?

Avogadro’s Number An original staple on the local bar and pub scene in Fort Collins.


Who’s playing?

Nice Hat Mister. Local progressive bluegrass family band featuring young musician Eli Slocumb, 16 and full of talent. He is a rising star that has shared the stage with national and local talented bluegrass/newgrass players throughout his life. The band includes his father Ben, Rob Blackburn, Luke Albright, and Jan Peterson. $7 Cover



Friday, September 29:


Where to go?

New Belgium’s Fat Tire Friday. $3 Fat Tire and Fat Tire white. Fires when it’s cold and outdoor lawn games to keep you active.


Who’s playing:

Tallgrass, one of the most underrated and talented in bands in Fort Collins. They are producers, inventors, creators, and authors. They are soundscape dreamers and instrument builders who arc sound in a way that captivates your spirit. Not a bluegrass band.  Free.





Saturday, September 30:


Where to go?

Music District. They have been open a year. If you haven’t yet discovered your place in music in our community, this is your chance.


Surround Sound Bash:

“this walkable mixtape-inspired party with live performances, multimedia interactives, a music video marathon, pop-up art show, photo op, themed activities, Silver Seed food truck, and cash bar, and explore the entire Music District campus with an immersive scavenger hunt game. Featuring performances by Lois and the LanternGuerrilla Fanfare, Household Collective, DJ TwoScoopS, DJ Jimeni, Emma Marie, and The Rickshaw Live, interactives from Cloverlick Banjo Shop, Meep Records, Magic Cyclops, KRFC FM, Woodshed Music, multimedia projections from EvrGlo Media, Rhythm EFX, prizes from Vinyl Me, Please, and much more.”


All ages. Free. Party of the year.

Womxn in Music Rising Up In Fort Collins

Fort Collins Music, Social Causes

An incredibly strong and talented group of people formed a movement in the Fort Collins community on Sept.10, 2017. The first Womxn Up event happened at the Music District. This brunch and mild-meld opened the dialogue for the future of female-centered events in the community.



One of the small group topics at the Womxn Up Brunch. Photo by the Music District


The spelling ‘womxn’ is pronounced women and is used to promote intersectionality and show solidarity with LGBTQQIA, racial, ethnic, and other systmically maginalized communities.

Womxn Up brought together musicians, music business owners, tech-production creatives, and anyone interested in shaping womxn in music in Northern Colorado. They branched out into small groups to discuss their focused topics then convened as a large group.



Musician Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Mishawaka Owner Dani Grant and Cohere Bandwith Owner Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski present Music Entrepreneurship. Photo by the Music District


The themes discussed intertwined proving that this group, and the womxn in the industry, are often struggling with the same issues. The group presented solutions collectively and discussed ways to make changes. This is a process that will take a long time. The group aims to introduce new methods to deal with the challenges and start the conversation.

There is much work to be done to merge the ideas with actions. This group will help with the organization of that. There are some innovative and fun things that are emerging out of the first meeting.

Anyone interested in joining the group should email Kebrina Chirdon: <>.


Some of the members of the group pose for a funny photo. Photo by the Music District




Changing the World One Bicycle at a Time

photography, Social Causes

The headquarters of World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is small and humble. The staff is united like a family. We toured the facility to see where the production happens. Our organization, Chooda, has been donating to WBR for several years. It is clear that our generous donations have made an impact.

WBR uses donations and sales to donate bicycles to kids in rural Africa. They train the mechanics to build, maintain, and ride the bike safely. Each mechanic has a school they serve. They are at the school every week taking care of the bicycles and checking in on the participants. The workers can stay the life of the program.

“With a Buffalo Bicycle student attendance increases up to 28%”



Our guide through the WBR headquarters. Photo by Argento Studios


The General Manager, Brian, tells us a story about a girl he ran into at the grocery store. She recognized him from the bike donation. The recipient had been gifted a bike from the program. The bike came at a time when she wasn’t sure she had the strength to continue going to school. Because of the bicycle, she was able to complete school and start a full-time job. She was so proud and was still using the bike. Every story we heard had a similar outcome.



In rural Africa, the modes of transport are ox and cart or bicycle. Photo by Argento Studios


A bike is the way to school, work, and so much more for someone in rural Africa.  The rural roads are scattered with children running free and happy. The modes of transport are ox and cart and a bicycle. Bikes will be loaded with charcoal to sell, or the goods picked up from the local market and driven excessive miles to their prospective location. Bikes increase survival and allow for someone to travel long distances in shorter times. Children who live far from school face the danger of fatigue if walking so far. The donor program gives these children a future and opportunity to succeed.

The Chooda team had the opportunity to tour the headquarters and build bikes with the crew. In addition to building the bikes, it was a reminder we took as we rode 350 miles across Zambia. Each time we spotted a child or an adult on a bike we knew their life had been changed because of it.





Make More Art Call for Contributors

Everything Can Be Art, Social Causes

Open Streets is a nationally recognized day in the street without cars. It is located from Overland Park to S. Shields St, including Pleasant Valley Rd., Clearview Ave., Castlerock Dr., and Springfield Dr in Fort Collins. The celebration includes food trucks, live music, local artists. Learn about local businesses and organizations on the streets of Fort Collins. A highlight of the day will be the Make More Art Battle. 60 artist will participate in an epic art thrown down. Create Places, a nonprofit which advocates for Artist in Fort Collins, is the producer of Open Streets Battle.

The Artist Call

This is a call for the artist in the community who like to work spontaneously. Join a live celebration of art in the community of Fort Collins. Participants can be any age. All you need to bring is a tube of paint and a dream. There will be creative juices flowing all around for inspiration.

There is an easy sign-up form. Be a part of a national movement and prove that art is a viable part of the Fort Collins Community.

The Battle

Artist will gather in the streets at 10 am and pick a theme from a hat. Each artist will have 30 minutes to reflect on the topic. If an artist wants a redraw, they can contribute $1 in a cup to veto the theme. There is a time limit of 90 minutes to paint a 24×24 art piece using black and white paint provided by Create Places.

The creator may bring one one additional acrylic color to use. This paint will be contributed to the collective and used only once by the artist. After each round, the paint goes into a bag; each continuing series will have a blind draw

The Format

There are three rounds each formatted the same. There are judges on hand to choose the winners, encourage the artist, and feed compliments to the participants. Completed artwork will be displayed and for sale during National Arts & Humanities Month in October (Venue/Dates TBA). All proceeds from the sale of work will go to the artist who created it.


If you would like to support the battle and more art related events, give a tax deductible donation here:


Make more art. Make It local.Make the community colorful.

Vinyl record being scratched

Open Beats in the Streets of Fort Collins

Around town, Fort Collins Music, Social Causes


Create Places, an artist-organized economic and workforce development nonprofit, is hosting Open Beats on September 17, 2017, from 11:00am-2:00 pm. The event is held at the Overland Park shade shelter in Fort Collins, CO. Local electronic artist Full Metal, Kind Dub and Two ScoopS will be on hand to guide the crowd through an ultimate digital music experience.


Two Scoops, Cody KindDub, Full Metal DJ and Corey KindDub at the Music District. Photo by Argento Studios.

All ages are invited to come and experience the creation of electronic music, learn to scratch like a DJ, and create live hip hop beats. All the equipment will be set up, and the artist will demonstrate techniques. Open Streets shows how important this type of music is in today’s industry. Fort Collins music scene has been invaluable in filling the void for the hip hop and DJ producers.

Diego Felix, AKA Full Metal DJ:


Full Metal DJ on the rooftop of the Music District. Photo by Argento Studios

Diego Felix, AKA Full Metal DJ, is a DJ, turntablist, and scratch expert.  He battles and competes routines against other DJ’s and is determined to win a championship this year. He started scratching when he wanted to get into music and hadn’t learned a “traditional” instrument. He got a turntable and some vinyl and learned the technique of scratching.

Diego’s mission is to use music to bring the community together. He started an open decks scratch session, Scratch Lab, at the Art Lab in Fort Collins. It is essentially an open mic for DJ’s open to all ages and abilities. It has brought together many turntablist, DJs, and electronic artist by creating this event.  Scratch Lab happens the second Monday of every month starting in October. Everyone who wants to touch a turntable and scratch a record gets an opportunity. Look to build friendships, connections partnership, and skills at the Lab.

Full Metal teaches private lessons at the Music District. He and Two Scoops just held a DJ 101 course of 6 weeks teaching the basics of mixing and scratching.

Full Metal DJ first instrument was the turntable. He talks about how he got started:

“Thinking about when I wanted to get into music, feeling like I couldn’t, that I was never going to learn an instrument, that’s where I found my motivation to bring scratching to the community.” ~Full Metal DJ

Cody Kind Dub Marsden :


Cody KindDub Marsden on the rooftop of the Music District. Photo by Argento Studios

Cody Marsden of Kind Dub is a guitarist, DJ, and a videographer. His mission is to be a mentor and an example to youth who want to pursue hip hop. He is increasing accessibility to hip hop education.

Cody wants to give kids access to a set of tools to create beats live and start them as early as they have an interest. He seeks to create an environment that is fun and sparks an interest in a child learning music. His band, Kind Dub, hosts an open hip hop session at Colorado room every other Thursday called Colorado Come Up. This event is an all age show for anyone interested in Hip hop. He wants to break down the barriers and preconceived notions of hip hop and demonstrate its versatility in modern music.

Kind Dub is an excellent example of a Musicprenuer. The group performs regularly, supports the community, and has a production company.

Cody shared his views on the digital era of music:

“Live instrumentation or digital instrumentation it doesn’t matter as long as you are having fun creating music and having a good time with it. At the end of the day, it is going to put a smile on your face.” ~Cody Kind Dub Marsden

Mike McTernan, AKA Two ScoopS:


Two Scoops on the rooftop of the Music District. Photo by Argento Studios

Mike McTernan, AKA Two ScoopS, is a producer and a DJ. He teaches the craft of digital production at the Music District and is involved in the digital music production scene in Northern Colorado. ScoopS values the importance of the technique and the fundamentals. He believes digital music is the foundation of most modern music. He focuses on the live access to digital music and blending genres and analog turntables multiple areas of digital music. He loves that the technology is evolving and combining analog instruments with digital.

Mike wants to give access to anyone interested in becoming a DJ. He wants it to be easy and accessible to the Fort Collins community. He has mastered his craft and wants to show the world that digital music production is the future of music creation.

Two Scoops expresses the beauty of his work:

“The beauty of electronically made music breaks boundaries if you are a band. A big deal is to pull from multiple genres. Different techniques incorporated into the craft of electronic music.” ~Two ScoopS

Two Scoops teaches private lessons at the Music District and is very involved in the electronic music scene across the Front Range. Two ScoopS host and curates a monthly electronic night at The Speakeasy at The Whiskey in Old Town, Fort Collins. It features bigger Colorado acts in an intimate setting. It happens every first Friday. The next show is on October 6th and will feature Chando, Golden Ghost, and 92 degrees.

The three extraordinary musicians will be on hand for demos, assistance and educating the community on their musical arts. There isn’t a more genuine, kind group of artist, that are willing to teach the youth, around. This is the first step to becoming a DJ in the Open Streets.


Q&A with Noah Gundersen

Touring Bands


Noah Gundersen can’t pin point the exact moment he fell in love with music, but it has always been a part of him. On the release of his sixth album, White Noise, the evolution of his sound is quite prominent. Noah plays the Armory in Fort Collins presented by the Colorado Sound. Saturday October 7, 2017 Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Noah shares that, “Music has always been around. My dad made music. I would sit on the piano bench with him and hammer out little melodies, or I would watch him record on his 8-track in the garage. It’s hard to pin point a beginning for a thing that has felt so eternal and intrinsic to my existence.”

The echoes of his passions reveal through the melodies. There is an airy yet complete notation within the songs. Noah explains the process of writing a song, “Often it starts with space. Giving myself space, staring off into space. Sometimes it comes in a flash, and I’m just trying to keep up. Other times it’s like dragging a mule through the mud.”



Promotional photo from Red Light Management


Past albums had a true singer-songwriter feel with acoustic rhythms focused on faith, death, and past relationships, success, failed relationships, religion, and sexuality. The state of affiars in the world today have more pressing ideals. The new release, White Noise, devels into the current issues. Noah talks about the release, “It seems all that’s left is politics. And anxiety. And the confusion of living in a digital world. What’s real anymore? How do we even hear ourselves think over all the noise?”
Even at the present times, it is hard to write about the past or lingering feelings. Noah talks about where the songs come from, “I can only speak from the place where I am now. Even memories or past thoughts are filtered through my present experience. So everything I wrote came from where I was when I wrote it.”

Devoted fans are discussing the new sound, on the albums first two released songs. It is not a new sound, per say, just a new level in his musical progression and growth. Noah devotedly spoke about this,”I only have roots in music. I’m doing my best to stay true to those.”


As for the album, it was produced in his home town,“We made the record in Seattle, mostly at our loft space in Ballard called The Baitshop. It took almost a year.”


Noah has a  love for many cities, “I think favorites are reductive. I love New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, Toronto, Austin. Wherever there is good food and wherever my friends are.”


Check him out in a city nearby.

Create Places First Friday Creative Relief Fund

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, Social Causes


On First Friday, 9/1/2017, Create Places of Fort Collins is launching a call for donations. Any musician or artist that donates portions of their sales to the relief efforts of Harvey Hurricane in Houston will be matched dollar for dollar for up to $1000. The donations can be in the form of ticket sales, merchandise sales, fundraiser shows or any profitable contribution. This initiative encourages local grassroots philanthropy from artist and creatives in Fort Collins.

Create Places is an artist-organized economic and workforce development nonprofit established in 2014, that aims increase arts-related employment in Northern Colorado. Andrew Schneider is the visionary behind Create Places. He advocates for other organizations within the community to participate in a drive to match donations.

Andrew says,

“this match is to support, encourage, and celebrate those grassroots efforts as our signal of a music community doing well and doing good.”

A statewide drive created by Colorado musicians and media was launched to raise ONE MILLION DOLLARS to aid the working musicians affected by the flooding in TX. September 15 is a Kick off meeting for anyone wanting to get involved.

To learn more about the musician match from Create Places email Andrew:



Monday Montage : The week of 8/7/2017

Around town, Monday Music


So much to do this week in Fort Collins. Here is a daily rundown of the best in music this week.


Song Writers Workshop:


A gathering of songwriters in Fort Collins at the Music District on the 2nd Tuesday of each month for the purpose of giving/receiving feedback on new songs, creating deadlines to write new songs, building comradery, networking, and meeting collaborators and fellow writers.

RSVP here:



Dome Lab Meetup


Dome Lab at FCMoD is an open meetup for anyone who wants to stretch their creativity in the dome. Whether you are a digital artist, painter, musician, DJ, VJ, photographer, or even a programmer this is for you! Dome Lab is open and free to anyone interested in creating and collaborating on projects of all types so bring your creativity and #doitinadome!




Musician’s Help Desk: Building Your Audience Away from Home Our band in residence, Parsonsfield will be joining the conversation with a wealth of experience touring and building audiences across the globe. Come with your own experience, burning questions, or just bring lunch and hang out while we shake down this conundrum for DIY, independent, touring bands.

RSVP here:





Finger picking workshop with Jared Janzen:


Free at The Music District. Bring your acoustic guitar for an interactive clinic and performance on percussive finger style playing. Join local musician Jared Janzen as he shares his original techniques, tunings, and insights into writing. After some demonstration, the group will work together to improve their skills. After the workshop, Jared will be performing an hour long set.

Jared Janzen is a Fort Collins, Colorado native whose music is new and intriguing to listen to. His main style emphasis is contemporary finger style guitar with singing, blending traditional genres such as folk, r&b, and rock into one. Influences include Andy Mckee, Michael Hedges, James Taylor, Ray LaMontagne and much more. He plays in Blue Taboo, Breakfast for Dinner, and also collaborates with several artists in the Fort Collins and Boston, MA areas. In spring of 2015, he released a solo EP titled “Truth”, and plans to release new music this year. His band, Blue Taboo, also plans to release their second album this coming summer. Jared has performed at many venues throughout his musical career on the front range, has been teaching private guitar and vocal lessons for 5 years, and has 6 years of studio experience. Jared is currently attending Berklee School of Music in Boston, and will be going on his first solo tour this summer.



Songwriter Showcase


featuring Robin Lewis, Matt Skinner, Pappy Longlegs and Dimitri Zaugg at Hodi’s Half Note


Concert with Skylar Grey:


Head to New Belgium Brewing for a special release party with five-time Grammy Award-Nominated multiplatinum singer, songwriter Skylar Grey. Doors open at 7PM with The Other Black opening. Free Admission.


The Deer with Paul Dehaven of Paper Bird:


Head to the Downtown Artery where Vocalist Grace Park (formerly Grace Rowland) fronted acoustic trio The Blue Hit. With guitarist/producer Michael McLeod (Good Field), upright bassist Jesse Dalton (Green Mountain Grass), and drummer Alan Eckert (Dimitri’s Ascent), The Deer create a tonal landscape that blooms into orchestral depths. Their debut album, An Argument For Observation, represents their formation as a songwriting endeavor known as Grace Park & The Deer. They began touring and collaborating as a group, and changed their name to The Deer. Their second album, On the Essence of the Indomitable Spirit reflects their union, and is dedicated to the memory of their friend and backup singer. They continue to write and tour, and are currently recording a third album, due in Spring 2016. More at




The Weekend: New West Fest


There is something for everyone. There is so much music in Fort Collins. Please explore more resources to find exaclty what makes your heart beat.




Top Picks for First Friday in Fort Collins

Everything Can Be Art

Fort Collins First Friday art walk happens the first Friday of every month. This is a night for art, community, and culture. This is a family friendly event. This event happens from 6-9 in Old town Fort Collins. There are many galleries open to the public  , do research to find out which ones interest you.

Here are a few highlights:

The Merchant Room

(the second floor of Walnut Creek) 222 Walnut St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Her Ritual: Sincerity of Identity and Environment

Artwork from fourteen emerging artists:

Alexandra Lake, Amanda Thomas, Ben Stanford, Cass Kruger, Devan Kallas, Emily Roan, Emelia Christensen, Grace Kennison, Holly Nordeck, Jennie Maydew, Krystin Gutierrez, Laura Wingate, Zach Miller, and Zoe LeDonne.

The show will be up for the following week during Walnut Creek’s hours until Friday, August 11th


15 Old Town Square #132 Fort Collins, CO 80524

Flagship 5 Year Anniversary Bash + First Friday Artwalk

New artwork from owner Suzanne Akin.

LIVE PRINTING: First ever “Build your Own” print setup! Make your shirt 1-color, 2-color, 3-color or 4-color, you choose which screens.
RAFFLE PRIZES: Get an entry just for showing up + extra entries with purchase.
SUMMER SALE: All retiring designs will be on sale! Up to 1/2 off!
MORE FREEBIES announced soon!

 Compass Community Collaborative School and Mesh Fort Collins

242 Linden Street Fort Collins, CO 80521

Maker Space and Drone Racing

Two innovative, collaborative, and creative communities showcasing their talents and technology.

 Downtown Artery

252 Linden Street Fort Collins, CO 80524

 Features art, a complimentary beverage, snacks, a wine lounge, music, outdoor patio and a fabulous atmoshphere. Two floors of downtown culture.

Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House

316 Willow St Fort Collins, Colorado

Beth Lighthouse

Acrylic landscape, nature, and sky paintings. Her work will be up the entire month of August.


 Center for Fine Art Photography

400 North College Avenue Fort Collins, CO 80524

 Ann M. Jastrab

The gallery director at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco and an independent curator. Ann has curated many exhibitions for RayKo during the past decade while also jurying and organizing numerous exhibitions for other national and international venues outside of San Francisco. She has also reviewed portfolios for a multitude of organizations including the Seoul International Photography Festival in Korea, Fotofest, Photolucida, GuatePhoto, Review Santa Fe, Medium, Filter, and Lishui International Photography Festival

The Community Creative Center

200 Mathews Fort Collins, CO 80524

Friends of Marsha Krygier

Expressions: A Summer Art Exhibit and Sale



For other Galleries visit Downtown Fort Collins.

For more events visit Downtown Fort Collins Events calendar.






Monday Montage

Around town



This week in Fort Collins there are many opportunities for a creative to grow, learn, work and play.


Here are a few:


Tuesday: free Coworking day at the Music District. Hosted in The Music District’s Long Building from 9am-5pm you can join a community of founders, innovators, entrepreneurs and creatives, working to develop a sustainable music ecosystem, locally and afar. RSVP here.


Wednesday: The Lagoon Concert Series featuring Wendy Woo at the Colorado State Lagoon.


Thursday: Help Cohere Bandwith get the world’s record for longest pedal chain. Concert by Post Paradise, Stella Luce, and Lords of the Trident playing the Downtown Artery on 8/3. They need your help to break this record! Also known as the happiest of happy hours, so sign up and include your pedals here.


Friday: First Friday Art Walk in Old Town. Visit galleries and shops in Old town for an interative night of  art, music, and hors d’oeuvre.


Saturday: Concert with a cause. Equally Challenged (Pop/Funk/Reggae/Groove) plays
at Front Range Village. Stuff the bus with school supply donations for children in need in the Poudre School District during the concert.


Sunday: Wooden Womb Release Celebration. This is one of those special evenings in Fort Collins at Raisin Roots farm in Fort Collins, CO. Tickets are limited and include: Food magic sourced from Raisin Roots farm and prepared by Cameron Trezoglou of Gold Leaf.
Performances by Eric Bjella backed by a band of collaborators performing the new album, Wooden Womb, in its entirety (as well as other songs).Other oeformances include Matthew Wilburn Skinner of Tallgrass and Pappy LongLegs.


For a complete list of creative opportunities visit the Downtown Creative District.







Blind Pilot in Residence at the Music District

Fort Collins Music, Touring Bands

Video: Pick it up Again Blind Pilot and Danielle Ate the Sandwich Colorado Stations CO – Colorado

A musician’s home is on the road traveling from town to town occupying every moment with the soundscapes of the highway. The vigor of the performance can overtake the space needed to create. The Music District offers a “home stop” on the road for touring musicians.  Blind Pilot nourished their artistic side with a stay at the District for a few days while traveling through Colorado.


Creative Collaboration: Artists in Residence – Blind Pilot deliver a workshop on creative collaboration and songwriting, including a live performance. Photo Credit Argento Studios

Two members of Blind Pilot, Israel Nebeker vocals and guitar and Ryan Dobrowski drummer and percussion, utilized the practice rooms for writing. They did a session of singing bowls and took some of the classes offered on the campus. They lived in the Airbnb apartment and rented bikes from the bike share.


Ryan Dobrowski drummer and percussions for Blind Pilot plays at the Music District. Photo Credit Argento Studios

They wrote songs, played new instruments, and lived like locals for just a moment while touring. They ended the week with a songwriting workshop, which was their community contribution for staying.

They collaborated with local artist Danielle Ate The Sandwich to write a song in sixty seconds. This can be found on the VuHaus website. Local media group, EvrGlo Media, filmed and edited the video.

Pick it up Again

Blind Pilot and Danielle Ate the Sandwich  Colorado Stations CO – Colorado


Israel Nebeker vocals and guitar plays with Ryan Dobrowski drummer and percussion both of Blind Pilot. Photo Credit Argento Studios

Israel Nebeker  said in the workshop:

“Art is this amazing vehicle and it captures so much more than what we put into it.”

This week he put a great deal into his art.

The two band members expressed how there is no place in the country like the Music District. Israel and Ryan were blown away with the experience and felt it was something every musician must have the opportunity to do.

Touring musicians come through the District Weekly. For a list of upcoming events, visit the calendar. Free to the public and all are encouraged to come.

Grassroot Soccer Zambia Harnesses the Power of Soccer to Educate

Social Causes

Grassroot Soccer-Zambia is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Lusaka, Zambia that educates youth about positive choices while using the power of sport. The messages learned in soccer can translate over to other areas of the children’s lives. Using the power of soccer to make a change they can reduce HIV dramatically in the community. HIV is 100% preventable, and Grassroot Soccer teaches the youth how.

In just one year they were able to graduate 10,966 youths and test 6,817. They reached over 12,650 participants directly through the program.

The organization aims to reach youth ages 13-15. They run after school soccer skillz clinics that are spread over 12 sessions. They provide support and encouragement, while discussing healthy choices and positive behaviors. They host a community day and provide free testing during a tournament for members of the community and the youth.

Their mission supports:

  • Avoiding Drugs & Alcohol
  • Keeping Girls in School
  • Engaging In Physical Fitness
  • Mental Health
  • Employability
  • Financial Literacy

The leaders go through a two-year development program to prepare for this role. They are making education and testing fun while fostering an atmosphere to learn about HIV positive choices. This reduces the stigma around the disease and opens lines of communication. The youth are empowered to discuss their personal struggles or ask questions within this environment. The organization has seen massive results from this model.

GRS Zambia’s partnerships with Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Zambart, Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) and various government line Ministries to deliver high-quality adolescent health interventions.

This year, Bike Zambia will be trying to raise $5,000 for this group to host a soccer tournament in Livingstone at the end the trip.

If you want to support the GRS mission here is a breakdown of service cost:

$8 = 1 adolescent to attend an after-school program and become empowered with sexual reproductive health and rights knowledge

$15 = 1 adolescent to be HIV tested, and if found positive, to be linked to services

$33 = 1 HIV+ adolescent to receive ongoing treatment and services, acquiring access to treatment and learning life skills, which help them, remain in and adhere to a treatment plan

If you feel compelled to give, Donate Here

Learn More About Grassroot Soccer: Website · Facebook · Twitter · Instagram

Bike Zambia 6: Ending HIV/AIDS, Empowering Women, and Girls in Zambia

Social Causes

Bike Zambia is a 350+ bike ride across Africa with a mission to change the world. Bike Zambia is in its sixth year and has seen an incredible change in the communities they visit annually.  When given access to a reliable mode of transport, a family is given access to education, the ability to acquire healthcare, and a tool to trade goods or services.  A simple gift of a bicycle changes an impoverished family into an empowered one.  Solid transportation has a socioeconomic impact and increases the overall quality of life.  Wheels can strengthen a person’s world that has to work so hard every day just to survive.

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“Zambia is one of Africa’s poorest countries with one of the highest rates of HIV infection. 1 in 8 adults have HIV infections and 64 percent of the total population lives below the poverty line, rising to 80 percent in rural areas. Life expectancy is just 58.1 years, however, this is a considerable increase from the 2012 life expectancy of 49.4 years, partly thanks to improved access to antiretroviral treatments.”

Participants of the ride raise $4000, all of which is given to 3 nonprofit beneficiaries. The riders handle their own transportation cost to and from ZambiaChooda, lead by a Board of Directors that have united efforts to raise over $650,000 in five years for organizations working in HIV/AIDS, poverty, and women’s empowerment, organizes the ride.

Chooda is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a vision of personal transformation and global social change. Chooda’s mission is to create transformative experiences for its participants while providing much-needed resources abroad. At Chooda, we believe that by advocating for social justice in the world and by contributing a part of ourselves in service to others, we evolve.”

The beneficiaries of the rider’s funds are:

  •  World Bicycle Relief (WBR) mobilizes people through the power of bicycles by helping people conquer the challenge of distance to access education, healthcare, get goods or offer services more easily.
  • Grassroot Soccer-Zambia is an organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilizes communities to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • Zambia Health Education and Communication Trust (ZHECT) fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases through a multifaceted approach, providing access to health services, education, and also working on community approaches through advocacy and capacity building.

The ride takes place from June 29—July 9, 2017 (arrival in Lusaka, Zambia on June 29th departure from Livingstone, Zambia). The ride includes a visit to World Bicycle Relief HQs in Lusaka to build Buffalo Bicycles and distribute to beneficiaries.

“Bike Zambia is the flagship program of 501(C)3 nonprofit Chooda and donations are tax-deductible. If you wish to donate by mail, please make donation checks payable to “Chooda” and mail to 5851 Morpeth St, Oakland, CA 94618. If you would like your donation to be credited to a specific rider, please be sure to note the rider’s name in the check memo line.”

The ride will have media support this year to document the journey, the community, the riders and the beneficiaries. It is an important story that the world should know. In efforts to support this Argento Studios will be a rider using multimedia production to create the story.

Donate Here To Support Argento Studios on the Ride

Justin plays finger style acoustic

Justin Roth Launches a New Singer-Songwriter group at the Music District

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

Justin Roth is bringing his songwriting group to the Music District in Fort Collins on Tuesday, April 11 at 7 pm. For over five years, this group has existed so that songwriters can bring in a fresh song each month to receive constructive criticism and encouragement. It began with its founding members – Justin, Michael Kirkpatrick of The Holler! and the Good Time Travelers and Mike Finders (of Finnders and Youngberg) and has grown with a rotating cast of about 30 other songwriters. Roth saw that moving the group to the Music District would be an opportunity to invite other writers and to be more interactive with the local community. It is appropriate to songwriters of all levels who aspire to work on their craft.

The technique of creating a song is distinctive for all. Creativity can come in waves, which some rely on for song production. Other methods are more strategic and disciplined by writing each day to allow ideas to flow regularly. The purpose of the group is to have a deadline and to be faithful, no matter how the tune was composed or the style of the writer.
This experience can become part of the writing process because getting feedback when a new song is still forming can help writers get a better sense of whether their message is getting communicated they way they intend. It is a chance to examine one’s own writing, as well as that of many others, by being open to honest feedback with the goal of honing one’s craft.

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Roth studied music business in addition to being a musician and educator.  He has invested time on the road touring and has the first-hand experience what it calls for to be successful. Roth can lead a writer through songwriting, instructions, skills/techniques, audio recording, and establishing a business method. Justin is a member of a broad engineering studio in Fort Collins,  Bridgeway Recording.  He owns a home studio, ToneBAR Studio.  He works holistically with an artist according to where they are in their performance and recording career.

Justin teaches online guitar lessons through  JAMPLAY.COM.  This is a live streaming method of teaching. There are dozens of teachers covering many styles, techniques, and tips. Justin’s class is every Thursday at 4 pm called “Expressive Acoustic Guitar” which directs how to spice up your guitar parts in songs.

Upcoming shows:

Sunday 4/9/2017 Justin Roth & Korby Lenker (from Nashville) at Avogadro’s Number

04/28/17 FoCoMX Festival – High Point Bar Time: 10:30pm. Address: 146 N College Ave.


Fort Collins Gypsy Swing Band Release Craft Beer

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

The Happy Dapples is an eclectic group of musicians from Fort Collins that play Gypsy Swing. This Saturday they celebrated their craft beer release of  Hoppy Dopple with Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins.

The beer has been on tap at Equinox since November of 2016. Oskar Arevalo, singer and guitar player of the Dapples, had an interest in brewing the beer.  He was a chef at Fish restaurant in Fort Collins where he constructed food-beer pairing dinners. He wanted to merge his culinary and musical talents. He initiated a music-beer pairing for his band.  He selected the hops with the help from Equinox brewers and The Hoppy Dopple Lager was born. It was designed to be a low ABV, easy drinking beer, that you could enjoy more than one of.


The Happy Dapples bring an all-embracing mix of swing, jazz, and fusion. The music they perform is built for moving, tapping, and dancing. There are dueling guitars that vary in art form from classical finger style to a jazz swing that transforms the listener to a speakeasy in the 20’s with a distinctly modern flair.

The Happy Dapples are reinventing jazz in a modern way and have labeled it Gypsy Swing. Gypsy Swing has been alive for over eighty years. The birth of Jazz was almost ten years later. Gypsy Swing was popular in the 1930’s in France and the emersion of American Jazz took the genre in a new direction, Gypsy Jazz. This band impressively aims to revive the genre with the modern influences in play, they are birthing a new form of Gypsy Swing Jazz. They have strong music roots in old school jazz, Tom Waits, and metal. It is all derived in fun and the Dapples want you to enjoy listening to their music as music as they enjoy creating it.

Band members include Oskar Arevalo, Kimeon Young, Dillon Knowlton and Adam Nobody. The members of the Dapples have been playing music collectively over ten years, although the band is in their freshman stages. Oskar, Kimeon and Dillon performed with two guitars and a drum set then discovered the sound they were seeking needed a bassist. They added Adam and the sound they were seeking was born.

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Oskar and Kimeon met in the eighth grade in Fort Collins. They were long time rivals and competed over most things, even a girl. One day they realized that they were better friends than opponents. They started playing music together and fused together this new dynamic sound. Dillion and Adam are long time bandmates and have played together in previous obscure metal experimental bands.

Although there are no formal plans for an album, the band is constantly creating new music. They rehearse at Higher Ground Rehearsal Studio in Fort Collins and have found management support there. Band member Oskar Arevalo is a guitar teacher at the Music District in Fort Collins.

To hear this live session:


Happy Birthday to The Colorado Sound

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music


Benji McPhail, Program Director at The Colorado Sound

The Colorado Sound is the fastest growing non-commercial radio station in the nation. This week they turn one year old. To celebrate they are hosting a premiere party at Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins that features a lineup of Colorado bands including Dragondeer, Paper Bird, Rob Drabkin, and Brent Cowles.  The celebration will be recorded by a diverse team of videographers and broadcasted on a later date.

THE COLORADO SOUND 1ST BIRTHDAY PARTY with Dragondeer, Rob Drabkin, Brent Cowles, Paper Bird


Neil Best, GM of KUNC


Benji McPhail is the Program Director at The Colorado Sound. He started at KUNC as the Music Director in 2012. His strategic planning collaborated with eTown radio program, the University of Colorado, and the University of Denver, to record performances in audio and video for re-broadcast on KUNC. This expanded the reach of the station and grew the audience. Benji tripled the evening ratings. It was clear that people were craving a new AAA station.That is how The Colorado Sound was born.

KUNC now is a total news outlet, and The Colorado Sound is the music broadcast affiliate. In radio, the measure of success is to increase Arbitron ratings, and The Colorado Sound has mastered that rather quickly.



Benji’s office is decorated with new music cd’s and music memorabilia

Benji wants to do more than just play the hits to get ratings. McPhail is a musicophile with years of experience in programming spanning from KCUV Radio Music Director to programming director at KKPL Radio. His style of broadcasting is a blend of musicology and stellar music taste. His approach is to play the music that resonates with his listeners. He holds a monthly listening party where the audience can vote on the songs they want to hear in a rotation.

The Colorado Sound highlights Colorado music. The station is advocators and curators for the scene. There is no shortage of music coming from the state, and the Sound aims to be the leader in bringing the best of it to your ears.


Host Ron in his office at the Colorado Sound


Colorado’s music industry is the largest in the Rocky Mountain West. The state has 16,300 music based jobs the next highest employment totals in the region are Nevada’s 8500 and Utah’s 79001. Colorado’s music industry generates $1.8 billion in annual revenue, compared to $309 million in Idaho and $556 million in New Mexico. Nevada is again second in the region at $1.3 billion.

 Hosts include veterans in the radio industry: Benji, MargotRon, and Marc. The Colorado Sound has been a dream of Benji’s for a long time. He is a Colorado native. He spent some time in California radio, but his heart-strings were pulled back home. He felt he could showcase his Colorado music roots and help others gain an appreciation for the sound.


This station goes beyond what you hear on other stations and delivers quality music that excites your senses. The hosts are passionate about music. Each of them is a true innovator of the craft and is shaping the type of music being delivered to you over the airwaves. Overall, The Colorado Sound just plays really good music, all day long.

To support this movement in Colorado music you can become a Colorado Sound member.

Stay tuned because big things are on the horizon for the Colorado Sound.


Rae McAlister’s Illness Will Not Stop Her From Performing

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

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Rae McAlister is a singer-songwriter in Fort Collins, CO.  She is currently in the studio with Paul Andrews at Bridge Studios laying down tracks for her debut album. She is no longer wasting time waiting for things to be perfect or when she has enough money or even when she is healthy enough. Rae realizes that tomorrow is not promised and life is short. She has set out to make the days matter and what that means to her is taking her creative career by the horns.

Just get out there and just do it ~Rae McAlister

Her music has an edge and raw emotion that entices you to hear more. She plays a hollow body guitar, and her soprano tones resonate the room in a very dynamic way. She hits high notes with power, intensity, and longevity. Her songs build to a strong climax. Her sound has an illusive sense of nocturne, a bit dreamy with an airy feel.

Rae has women musician mentors in the Fort Collins community, like Mer Sal of the Symbols, and Nancy Just who help her hone her craft and motivate her. She is really focused on being a heartfelt musician. Rae values music as a business and thinks you don’t have to be a superstar to be a successful musician.  She took The Online Musician teaching course, to expand her musical business service offerings.

Listen to the full interview here:

Every day that Rae plays music is a miracle. Music has always been a part of Rae McAlister. She was born and raised in a musical family. Her musical makeup consists of jazz, folk, and classical training. The thing about Rae is, she has the diagnosis of Myotonia Congenita, Thompson’s disease, and Ehler’s-Danlos. Several years ago her body was immobile leaving her in a wheelchair. Music was an impossible dream.

Rae’s muscles started detaching, seizing and pulling joints out of place, and she could not walk or perform her daily, routine task. She had to quit working or care-taking her family. She was bedridden, and her life took an unexpected turn. The diagnosis was a blessing because it finally meant doctors could start treating her illness. It was at that time she decided to embrace her creativity and devote her life to her passions.

Also, McAlister has an art business Rae’s-Transfiguration-Furnishings for her furniture, visual arts, and photography.She recently applied to be a visual artist for pianos about town. When she was struggling with her mobility Rae would make it a point to get dressed and go into Old Town Fort Collins to sit and play the piano. She contributes the very thing to healing. She noticed others doing the same thing in the community. Older people would flock to town just to play their favorite songs on the piano. It may be their one outing or the one social interaction of the day. As an homage to this, she would like to contribute her inspired design to the program.

Rae has never let her diagnosis get in the way of her creativity. If anything, she uses it to fuel her passion and achieve what some may say is UN-achievable. She cannot push her physical boundaries every day, but she always dreams and creates. Her positive nature shines through her pain. For that, the world can indulge in her art and her music.


Children Battling Critical Illness Get the Gift of Music

Everything Can Be Art, Social Causes

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Clark Hodge is the Executive Director of Chase the Music. Chase the Music has original music composed and performed for kids battling critical conditions. Hodge spent the majority of his life working in High Tech. Now Clark spends his day’s enriching lives through music with his non-profit.

Five years ago Clark met a little girl diagnosed with Leukemia and his world view was altered dramatically. He wanted to comfort her in some way. He thought a stuffed animal might do the trick. When a child is sick, they get dozens of soft teddy bears.  Clark realized the gift he wanted to give was music.

He connected the Colorado Symphony and Orchestra with the little girl, and together they wrote a song. A unique event held in her honor served as the unveiling of the song with close friends and family in attendance.

That little girl was Lauren. She told Hodge:

“Clark, I’m never going to stop smiling.” – Lauren, age 5, Leukemia

It changed Lauren’s life to have the opportunity to compose her own piece of music. It also moved Clark so deeply that he started the non-profit that pairs composers with critically ill children. He hopes to help many more children like Lauren.

Chase the Music is expanding its model and growing so that it will go beyond Clark’s circle. This summer a pilot program is launching in another country.

Music offers a special kind of healing. According to Cancer Research in the UK,

“Some studies show that music therapy can help children with cancer to cope, by encouraging them to cooperate and communicate.”

Music can alter a mood, evoke a feeling, serve as a reminder of a particular time, or just be a vehicle for peace. Music is a gift that truly keeps on giving for a lifetime.

“Music therapy can help people with cancer improve their quality of life. It can also help to reduce some cancer symptoms, and side effects of treatment.” –Cancer Research UK

Not only does the music touch the child and the family but also the artist is impacted. The audience fills the room with love for the child at the event. The whole process is healing and makes the child feel like a rock star. The event includes the family as a whole, knowing they are all going through a very traumatic experience. There is food, drink, and a presentation that honors the child in the critical condition.It is a true celebration of life. These have been very special moments to previous recipients.

To learn more about the organization or to get involved visit Chase the Music.


Monday Montage: The Week of Love

Around town, Everything Can Be Art, Monday Music


The weekend is over. Fort Collins doesn’t stop just because the weekend does. There is sweet gems of live music, art shows, craft beer tastings, and journalistic events every day of the week.

Some highlights this week are from bands like the Lumineers, photojournalism projects,  some Athens Rock, and lots and lots of love.

Plan your week with the Monday Montage:

2/13 Monday: Singles Night at Snowbank Brewing with Denver Band One Way Ride. Beer Tasting, Food Truck, Live Music, Singles, SnowBank Brewery, free

2/14 Tuesday: Valentines Day at New Belgium Brewing with Stelth Ulvan of Dovekins currently touring with Lumineers. Denver Indie Music, Chocolate, and Beer Tasting, New Belgium Brewery, free

2/15 Wednesday: Trees, Water, & People Communities in Action Photo Exhibit featuring journalist Jeff Abbott. social movements and human rights, photojournalism, fundraiser, beer tasting, snacks, Horse and Dragon Brewery, entry fee

2/15 Wednesday: Storytellers Project seven stories told about love & heartbreak hosted by the Coloradoan and Wolverine Farm at the Downtown Artery. oral storytelling and journalism, community-building, bar, tickets purchased in advance

2/16 Thursday: Drop of Productions presents Future Birds at Lyric Cinema. Athens Rock, Indie Film Cafe, Tickets in Advance, Bar

2/17 Friday: Discovery After Dark: Archer & Tripp and More Than Physics at Otterbox Digital Dome Theatrelive ambient melodic percussions, audio-reactive visuals, modern technology and ancient ethereal music, tickets purchased in advance.

2/18 Saturday: IMPACT Dance Company presents Wo/men & Song at the Music District.Dance, Tickets in Advance, diverse choreographic work and music; classical instrumentation,  improvisation, and live vocalization.

2/19 Sunday: Her Story Worry & Fear at the Articulate. Women, Community Building,  how to live with a hopeful perspective, free, coffee, storyteller

Step out every single night of the week to strengthen the community and enjoy something new.There is plenty more to do in this town beyond what is listed. Seek something out that fuels your flame.


Sign Up For Monday Montage:



Chad Fisher: Fort Collins Bluegrass Musician and Teacher

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music


Chad Fisher is a Fort Collins Bluegrass Musician and a Teacher. He got his start from listening to music, and it pulled on his heartstrings so much that he devoted his life to becoming an artist. His home was remarkable, but no one was a musician. That did not stop him from pursuing his passion.

Chad sitting in his home studio

Chad fell in love with the Mandolin after a good friend left one at his house and a co-worker gave him a couple lessons on the side. After a failed business attempt his passion for music took over. He casually created a Bluegrass Band of friends and his wife Olivia’s family to perform at his wedding. That band stayed together and called themselves Lonesome Traveler and in the act of kindness and support asked him to join their band and musical journey.

Chad developed the “Strings Program” at Laurel Elementary. He created a mandolin program and afterschool program call bluegrass club which fostered the growth of young musicians. Fisher believes firmly in not only teaching children how to play an instrument but also supporting them throughout their journey. He has moved into a full-time role in his home studio and passed the torch of his school program to his fellow band mate Lydia Demi-Smith.


Chad’s dog sits by his side through every lesson he teaches

Chad Fisher’s home studio has children from age four and up. He teaches mandolin, violin, and guitar. In addition to weekly lessons, he has a group jam session. These happen once a month. They begin with a lesson and then break out into smaller group jams. This helps the students learn how to use the repertoire they spend hours memorizing and actually applying it to musicianship with a group.


Chad loves that he gets to share his love of music with the youth in Fort Collins

There will be jam sessions in February at the Music District and in March at the Downtown Artery.

Chad will be performing with the Lineage Band for a Bill Monroe tribute. He will also be playing at Jerry Garcia and David Grisman tribute show with Lineage and Switchman Sleeping. Linage Band has a unique model of acting as mentors to their students and peers. They have discovered their greatest joys come from expanding their circle of musicians and sharing the knowledge, they each have learned along the way.

For Lessons: please visit Chad Fisher .

For Performance: visit Linage Band.

For Monthly Student Jams: visit Lineage


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The Ugly Architect Live from the Merchant Room

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

The Ugly Architect is debuting a new sound in Fort Collins. If you read this blog on a regular basis, this is part two of the Ugly Architect interview.  As they get to know each other better, they are developing a sound unparalleled to any other. They are connecting and collaborating as they establish strong music relationships.

The concept of the Ugly Architect is not a new one:

“I started this project in 2015. It has kind of had a rotating cast of people.” ~William Knudsen

Yet the arrangement of the members is what is newsworthy.

To get a glimpse of the music they are creating, they performed in the Merchant Room for a live recording of this podcast.

Fort Collins is home to a thriving music ecosystem. Music is quickly becoming an anchor in the community. There is no one Fort Collins sound, however. The city has a diverse artist base that is fluid. It seems to have an evolutionary spirit.

The Architects are perfecting their new sound. They are building the frameworks within the Fort Collins Creative Community.

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