The Longmont Music Scene and How it Works

 

Over the last five years Longmont has become well known on the Front Range as a live music destination, but if you had told that to folks in 2008 they would have laughed in your face. When Jessica and I moved to town in 2009 the Longmont music scene was almost non-existent, there were only two or three venues that were even interested in live music. As far as music culture was concerned, Longmont was perpetually behind Lyons and Boulder. Longmont was best known as a loving and inviting community of people who mostly worked in Boulder or Denver and liked drinking local beer.

 

Jess and I saw potential and buckled down for the long ride. We somehow knew that the community was a ticking time bomb of good times on the way. The music scene was finally jolted into life when local businesses began investing in the scene by paying decent wages and thinking collaboratively. It was these two concepts that, when added to Longmont’s close-knit community, created the thriving music scene we are seeing now. Among other efforts, venues began booking music with consideration of other show times at neighboring venues in town. This allowed the community to catch multiple shows in an evening thereby spreading their cash much more widely on a given weekend evening. Other cities don’t have this kind of energy and excitement built up around local shows in tasting rooms or restaurants and it’s because the live music in Longmont is truly beneficial for the venues, the community, and the artists.

 

Here’s a rough sketch of how the big picture fits together:

The venues pay the artist well enough to buy time for the artist to help promote the show which helps fill the venue on the show date. The artist’s paycheck along with tips from an enthusiastic and supportive crowd ensures that the artist can buy their own time to write new material and that eventually albums can get recorded, thereby facilitating a deeper connection with the audience members who purchase the albums and who then come out to more live shows where the venue can continue to reap on its investment in the artist. All along in the process the venue and the artist work collaboratively to build an audience for each other. It may seem obvious to say, but when a venue strongly supports the local culture it endears their brand to the community.

 

For instance, if you were to walk into a Longmont restaurant and find that they only serve Budweiser you may instantly wonder why the owners don’t want to support the local craft brewery scene. On the other hand, if you walk into a restaurant and see a long list of local Longmont beers you might feel like the restaurant is more supportive of your community and therefore perhaps more worthy of your support. Longmont has a “craft-centric community interest”. In other words, they love to support the products that get made here and they are interested in helping those products be successful. The community has, over the last five years, developed a strong interest in locally written songs to pair with their locally brewed beers. It’s become such a trademark of our city that radio announcers in Fort Collins have started calling Longmont the “Songwriter Factory of the Front Range”.  New bands have even started moving from out of state directly to Longmont to try to get into the music business. That is the depth of the change that has happened. Other cities around us are starting to catch on to the trend as well but Longmont is the leader in paying gigs on the Front Range and therefore it has become the musical hub of the area as well. You can thank the collaborative network of venues and artists for the change. There are some venues around that still can’t afford to pay these musicians the going rate and therefore aren’t getting many of the benefits of the music scene such as more customers more often in the venue, more new customers discovering the venue, positive community reputation for being supportive of local art, more internet traffic and mentions on social media, help in promotion of the venue, and becoming a true gathering place for the community. However, even those venues that can’t pay for regular performances have begun putting on special events every once in a while in order to try and get in on the action.

 

It’s a wonderful time to be here because the collaborative community that is Longmont keeps on building and finding new things to love and support. Please do take time to participate in this exciting time in Longmont history by getting out to see some local bands and drink a few local beers while you eat a local meal and consider the wonder of now. 

Comments

Antonio March 20, 2016 @12:27 pm
Well said Mr. Eppler.
  • Leave a comment:

  •