Apr 112010
Authors: Louie Page

Anticipation for the Fort Collins two-day music festival, Fort Collins Music Experiment, has been building for weeks. What started as a moderately-sized spring festival in 2009 has ballooned into a large citywide production.

This year, FoCoMX comprised of 22 venues, 187 bands and an extensive transit bus system transporting concertgoers to venues across Fort Collins.

“The great thing about FoCoMX … is that it is a really great opportunity for the local music scene to come together,” said Greta Cornett, co-founder of the Fort Collins Musicians Association, which hosts the annual festival.

Throughout the weekend, people vying to see their favorite local band caused long lines at a variety of venues, big and small.

“We don’t have a final count, but we are thinking we probably had about 3,000 to 5,000 people out this weekend. That’s including bands, volunteers and people who bought tickets,” said Cornett.

FoCoMX kicked off Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Avogadro’s Number in Old Town with local bluegrass act The T-Band, and music soon spread quickly throughout the city.

Across town, Hodi’s Half Note hosted a number of rock bands. Arliss Nancy, who played the venue’s stage Friday, set the tone for the entire festival with their multi-colored stage show.

With only about 35 people listening and watching at the beginning of its set, Arliss Nancy pulled in a significant number of concertgoers with their big guitar riffs and fast melodic rock.

“FoCoMX brings all the bars and venues together and really provides an awesome event that we look forward to every year,” said Damon Sharp, co-owner of Hodi’s.

As Friday night grew darker, music enthusiasts began to pack themselves into venues, like Woody’s Woodfired Tavern and CSU’s Ramskeller.

Excited, many scrambled to balance what bands they wanted to see, using the FoCoMX music schedule and map for guidance.

“FoCoMX is crazy. There are too many bands to choose from. I would say the one band I have to see tonight is Tickle Me Pink,” said Rob Lynch, a student at Colorado College.

Before Tickle Me Pink, one of the more notable bands on the festival bill, hit the stage at the ‘Skeller, the campus pub’s population seemed to be split equally between blue shirted staff, police and concertgoers.

But as Tickle Me Pink’s 11 p.m. performance loomed, the ‘Skeller flooded with people, about 120 total.

“I couldn’t even see the bar from the stage (because) there were so many people,” said Dylan Wray, emcee for the Ramskeller and FoCoMX promotions coordinator.

Tickle Me Pink drummer Stefan Runstrom said the band didn’t play the 2009 FoCoMX because the band had just finished several tours.

“We didn’t play FoCoMX last year because we had just gone on a couple tours. … We saw all of our friends playing, and so this time around we really wanted to play,” Runstrom said.

Day two kicked off on a different beat with two education panels Saturday afternoon hosted by the Fort Collins Art Lab north of Old Town Square.

“The mission of FoCoMA is sustainability in music,” said Scotty Von, education director for FoCoMA. “We want to make a place where musicians and artists can sustain themselves and have a community that can support that.”

Panels included topics like “How do you afford your Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle?” and how to market yourself as a musician in the 21st Century.

Guests and artists who attended the panels included Danielle Anderson of Danielle Ate The Sandwich, The Heyday, Candy Claws vocalist Ryan Hover and marketer Monika Runstrom.

The marketing panel gave advice on the aspects of social media marketing, older styles of promoting and how to balance writing and performing with marketing work.

“You have to market yourself, but you also have to remember that you are a musician at heart,“ Anderson said. “… You have to utilize the resources out there. I spend a lot of time on the Internet, but I also play a lot of shows.”

The artists also commented on their personal lives and how to deal with crazy online fans.

“There’ll be people that come up to us on tour, and they tell us they commented on our song and be like, ‘Don’t you remember me?’ It’s a little awkward, but you know it’s not a bad thing that they feel like they know us,” said Randy Ramirez of The Heyday.

As the sun went down on day two, concerts popped up again around town. The biggest venue of the festival, Old Town’s Aggie Theatre, featured notable local band Candy Claws. The venue only featured festival performers Saturday night.

Old Town’s The Lyric Cinema hosted two classic silent films, “Nosferatu” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” accompanied by the music of Ruth Anderson and Adam Bodine, respectfully.

As midnight neared Saturday, FoCoMX, on its last hours, the music scene still raged.

Luscious Nectar in Old Town showcased the last show of the night, featuring notable local band Fierce Bad Rabbit.

“(Fierce Bad Rabbit was) definitely the highlight of the two-day event,” said Brett Oberhammer, bartender at the Luscious Nectar.

Staff writer Louie Page can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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