Go Big Like the Bands

Sep 132011
Authors: Jesi Fish

All musicians have to start somewhere. Bands like 3OH!3, OneRepublic, The Fray, and the Flobots started in small Colorado venues before breaking out onto the big stage.

After a band has established who they are and what they want to accomplish, there are some simple steps they can take to get them on their way to brighter things. The Fort Collins music scene offers a possible outlet for aspiring, young bands to get heard globally.

Little gigs at coffee shops, open-mic nights and concerts on street corners are helping bands get their names out there and practice with live audiences.

For artists like Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and even Justin Bieber, busking, or street performing, and singing in coffee houses were enough to get them noticed. Fort Collins’ local 24-hour coffee house, The Alley Cat, offers open-mic nights every week where any musician can perform.

“It is definitely the place to build confidence,” Alley Cat employee Joe Henderer said. “It’s somewhere to start. We see people who have been performing for a while and people looking for a stepping stone to figuring everything out.”

But having people hear a song once doesn’t get a singer far. It is important that they are able to get their music physically passed around and shared.

Many bands, like 3OH!3, make their own mixes and CDs that they sell or hand out hoping to eventually land into the hands of a producer or record company.

The next step is getting booked at bigger venues. Fort Collins has quite a few large concert theaters including Aggie Theater, Avogadro’s Number and Hodi’s Half Note that can offer opportunities.

In 2007, Flobots were performing at Hodi’s Half Note, 3OH!3 at the Aggie Theater, and the Fray performed in Colorado State University’s Moby Arena.

To get booked at one of these venues, bands often have to jump through some hoops with calls, e-mails and proposals going to and from venue managers and publicists, due to the large numbers of amateur bands wanting to perform.

The next big part of boosting a band’s music career is getting some air time. Fort Collins has a public radio station (KRFC-FM 88.9), CSU’s student-run station (KCSU 90.5), and individually owned radio stations. According to Kelsey Myers, local booking director for KCSU, the station will interview and play most band’s music and it is not hard to get involved.

“Just contact us here, send in a demo and we will usually get you into our studio,” said Myers. “We really like getting to know and playing local bands.”

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