Apr 102011
Authors: Michael Elizabeth Sakas

On Saturday night, guitarist Maxwell Hughes looked from the stage to a crowd overflowing from the Lyric Cinema Café.

“What should we do here guys?” 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.

“I was thinking I could scoot back, and you could all move in closer –– try and help the situation out,” Hughes suggested to his many fans, all trying to find a spot in the small lounge area. “This FoCoMX thing is pretty cool, but I don’t have to tell any of you that because you are all here,” Hughes said between two songs.

The audience responded with a roar.

On the day that Hughes didn’t perform, he went out to support and enjoy the festival.

“Yesterday (Friday) I pretty much spent the day at Hodi’s watching SHEL, Dovekins, Sunshine House and then Otem Relik killed it at Bar SS,” Hughes said.

His roommate and fellow FoCoMX performer Max Barcelow, drummer for the band Dovekins, rocked out the night before at Hodi’s Halfnote to a full house and a line out the door.

“We got a really killer spot in the night and venue wise. Hodi’s just packs them in and they have great, great shows,” Barcelow said.

Riding off the rambunctious festival atmosphere, the band changed up their style for their set. 

“We played a lot more aggressive and wild of a show tonight,” Barcelow said. “A lot faster, a lot louder, the songs we chose to play were way bigger. Just because of the crazy energy in there — everyone was going wild.”

Playing FoCoMX for the past two years, he appreciates what the festival does for Fort Collins.

“It is, hands down, absolutely good for the community. It’s full of energy, full of youth obviously; almost too much youth,” Barcelow said. “The arts and the music can get a little bit monotonous; there’s only so many first Fridays parties and galleries. This is awesome, I’m really happy about this.”

Johnny Johnston, who performed twice during this weekend’s event –– once on Friday at Equinox Brewing and a second time for his younger audiences at Everyday Joe’s on Saturday afternoon, agreed with Barcelow.

“I feel like I’m part of the scene and I want to be part of this because that’s what this is about,” Johnston said.

“I’m proud. It’s a wonderful place and a wonderful thing,” Johnston said.

For senior English major Laura Wilson, this was her first year at the festival. 

“I had my little plan of who I wanted to see, and then I run into people and they tell me, ‘No this is what’s up, you need to see these people,’ and then I find out about new bands,” she said. “I’m just impressed with how much it’s grown, and that this is only its third year.”

Organizers of the event were pleased with the turnout of this year’s FoCoMX.

“The purpose of everything is just to showcase that there is a music scene in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado – to let people know that there is great music coming out of this region and it’s not all about Denver and Boulder,” said Greta Cornett, president and co-founder of the Fort Collins Musicians’ Association, the group who organizes the event.
“This year in particular it blew up a lot more,” 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.

“The event went incredibly well. Last year one of our biggest hurtles was managing volunteers because we were short. This year it went phenomenally,” said vice president and co-founder Kevin Micke, adding that exact ticket sales won’t be calculated until later in the week.

It seems the young festival’s future is bright.

“We are definitely doing it again next year,” Micke said. “It’s been an amazing event that showcases the musical talent in the community, for both Fort Collins and Colorado.”

Staff writer Samantha Baker contributed to this story.

Staff writer Michael Elizabeth Sakas can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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