Apr 192009
Authors: kelly bleck

Hundreds of area musicians packed Old Town’s Aggie Theatre Sunday for a night of music, food, mingling and both serious and silly awards.

The second annual Peer Awards, hosted by Fort Collins Musicians Association, connected musicians from across the spectrum, creating networks and constructive feedback from the peers in the local music scene.

“It’s really to recognize the amazing musicians right here in Fort Collins,” said Steffanie Giesler, a FoCoMA associate. “Fort Collins musicians are underestimated sometimes.”

The night included a buffet of food, band merchandise, an awards ceremony and performances by eight local bands: Candy Claws, The Vexations, Pep * Squad, Chad Price, Wire Faces, Improv, John Magnie and Los Curitas — a diverse array of music spanning from electronica/ambient to Tejano.

The unique blend of music opened the door to bands looking to flaunt their individual music style.

FoCoMA President Greta Cornett said the gathering is a way to get all the local bands together and let everyone know who is around.

The awards, including honors in each genre and an assortment of other top prizes, were given away between band sets.

Cornett said she invited anyone involved in the local music scene, including representatives from radio stations and studios, to cast votes for each prize.

“The bands get a chance to voice their own opinion on what’s emerging on the music scene,” Giesler said. “When everyone is so close, they know what’s actually going on. It’s a tight knit scene.”

Apart from serious categories, faux-categories like hardest working band and sweetest ride put a fun spin on the awards.

“This year we decided to do something different, add a new element that would make it more fun,” Cornett said. “Even if some miss out on the main categories, there’s something else to look forward to. It’s more inclusive.”

Aside from the awards, however, the event’s focus was getting as many people involved in the scene at one place and time.

Because of the extensive turnout during last year’s FoCoMA Peer Awards, heads in the association began brainstorming the Fort Collins Music Experiment, a concert festival accentuating the many musicians in the scene.

“We decided to put together a concert series to highlight the bands,” Cornett said. “We started planning for the next year, and it turned in this large event.”

FoCoMX produced more than 100 bands performing in 12 venues, and each band performing during the Peer Awards was chosen because of its involvement in festival.

FoCoMA has started planning for next year’s concert series, along with searching for next year’s Peer Awards nominees.

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Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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