When Connie Hanrahan was a CSU student in the early 1990’s, musicians performing at the Lagoon Summer Concert Series were provided with little more than a stage to play on. The setup is considerably less barebones these days, now that she runs the show.
Hanrahan is the owner of The Mantooth Company, a marketing firm based in Old Town. Her organization acquired the series in 1998 after the Spring Creek Flood devastated the offices of its former producers, Student Media.
“They came to us at that time and said ‘Hey, you want them?'” Hanrahan said. “Being a CSU alum, being involved with CSU fundraising that I do, of course I stepped in. The last thing I was going to do is see it turn into something it wasn’t supposed to be.”
The Lagoon Summer Concert Series is currently in its seventeenth year, taking place alongside the modest lagoon behind the Lory Student Center. It underwent a serious revision under Mantooth in 1998: an improved stage, hired audio professionals and an increase in the number of concerts per summer from four to six.
“Little things like that made all the difference,” Hanrahan said. “The concerts have gone from having 75 to 100 people to nights where we can have 750 to 1,500 people, if there’s no scare of bad weather and it’s a nice summer evening.”
While the event has established a certain degree of tradition at the university, Hanrahan said the concert series is largely family-oriented. The series is considerably hyper-local, funded entirely by local sponsors, including the Collegian and CSU.
Another sponsor is Tynan’s Automotive, who’ll be operating a canned food drive throughout the series. Hanrahan said those who bring in two canned goods to any of the concerts can register to win a motorized scooter, which will be given away at the last concert of the series on Aug. 12.
The first in the series of six local performers is alternative country five-piece The Hollyfelds.
Formed in the early summer of 2006, the Denver group is the music brainchild of husband and wife duo Keith and Eryn Hoerig.
“We started in her bedroom, and we started recording (songs) on her Mac, and we were like ‘We should try it,'” Keith Hoerig, bassist for the band, said.
Dobro and mandolin player Tim Mallot and vocalist and guitarist Kate Grigsby signed on shortly after, followed by drummer Sam Spitzer. Keith Hoerig said the band draws its sound from older influences, such as Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, as well as modern alternative country acts, such as Neko Case and Wilco.
Their third recording, the five-track EP Black Heart Blue, was released last April. Keith Hoerig said the band was excited to play the series for the first time, considering that a storm had flushed out their Lagoon performance last year.
“As we were rolling in to town, the skies opened up and just began to pour rain,” he said. “We went over to the site and it was still pouring, but I got out the van, talked with the sound guy and he was like ‘You guys should just go home.'”
Pending on Fort Collins’ temperamental weather, The Hollyfelds will be performing at the lagoon around 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Staff writer Erik Myers can be reached at email@example.com.