On Saturday night, guitarist Maxwell Hughes looked from the stage to a crowd overflowing from the Lyric Cinema CafÃ©.
â€œWhat should we do here guys?â€ he asked the audience, most of whom were forced to watch his performance through the windows on the patio. It was a scene that described most of the third annual Fort Collins Music eXperiment, a local music festival that, according to organizers, may have had higher turnout than previous years.â€¨â€¨
â€œI was thinking I could scoot back, and you could all move in closer â€“â€“ try and help the situation out,â€ Hughes suggested to his many fans, all trying to find a spot in the small lounge area. â€œThis FoCoMX thing is pretty cool, but I donâ€™t have to tell any of you that because you are all here,â€ Hughes said between two songs.
The audience responded with a roar.
On the day that Hughes didnâ€™t perform, he went out to support and enjoy the festival.
â€œYesterday (Friday) I pretty much spent the day at Hodiâ€™s watching SHEL, Dovekins, Sunshine House and then Otem Relik killed it at Bar SS,â€ Hughes said.
His roommate and fellow FoCoMX performer Max Barcelow, drummer for the band Dovekins, rocked out the night before at Hodiâ€™s Halfnote to a full house and a line out the door.
â€œWe got a really killer spot in the night and venue wise. Hodiâ€™s just packs them in and they have great, great shows,â€ Barcelow said.
Riding off the rambunctious festival atmosphere, the band changed up their style for their set. â€¨â€¨
â€œWe played a lot more aggressive and wild of a show tonight,â€ Barcelow said. â€œA lot faster, a lot louder, the songs we chose to play were way bigger. Just because of the crazy energy in there â€” everyone was going wild.â€â€¨
Playing FoCoMX for the past two years, he appreciates what the festival does for Fort Collins.
â€œIt is, hands down, absolutely good for the community. Itâ€™s full of energy, full of youth obviously; almost too much youth,â€ Barcelow said. â€œThe arts and the music can get a little bit monotonous; thereâ€™s only so many first Fridays parties and galleries. This is awesome, Iâ€™m really happy about this.â€
Johnny Johnston, who performed twice during this weekendâ€™s event â€“â€“ once on Friday at Equinox Brewing and a second time for his younger audiences at Everyday Joeâ€™s on Saturday afternoon, agreed with Barcelow.
â€œI feel like Iâ€™m part of the scene and I want to be part of this because thatâ€™s what this is about,â€ Johnston said.
â€œIâ€™m proud. Itâ€™s a wonderful place and a wonderful thing,â€ Johnston said.
For senior English major Laura Wilson, this was her first year at the festival. â€¨â€¨
â€œI had my little plan of who I wanted to see, and then I run into people and they tell me, â€˜No this is whatâ€™s up, you need to see these people,â€™ and then I find out about new bands,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m just impressed with how much itâ€™s grown, and that this is only its third year.â€
Organizers of the event were pleased with the turnout of this yearâ€™s FoCoMX.
â€œThe purpose of everything is just to showcase that there is a music scene in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado â€“ to let people know that there is great music coming out of this region and itâ€™s not all about Denver and Boulder,â€ said Greta Cornett, president and co-founder of the Fort Collins Musiciansâ€™ Association, the group who organizes the event.
â€œThis year in particular it blew up a lot more,â€ Cornett said.
With 288 bands and 34 participating venues, Cornett speculated that attendance will reach approximately 7,500 people, up 2,500 from last year.
â€œThe event went incredibly well. Last year one of our biggest hurtles was managing volunteers because we were short. This year it went phenomenally,â€ said vice president and co-founder Kevin Micke, adding that exact ticket sales wonâ€™t be calculated until later in the week.
It seems the young festivalâ€™s future is bright.
â€œWe are definitely doing it again next year,â€ Micke said. â€œItâ€™s been an amazing event that showcases the musical talent in the community, for both Fort Collins and Colorado.â€
Staff writer Samantha Baker contributed to this story.
Staff writer Michael Elizabeth Sakas can be reached at email@example.com.