Video by Julio Becerril.
Turkey coops aren’t known to have great acoustics.
They also are not very secure, according to Shane Zweygardt, drummer of Wire Faces. His band, along with another Fort Collins group, Fierce Bad Rabbit, had their instruments and equipment stolen from a mouse-infested turkey coop turned storage shed they used as a rehearsal space.
“We didn’t really think much of it,” Zweygardt said. “It was just a place to play.”
The theft lit a fire under Angel Kwiatkowski and Julie Sutter, local music lovers and friends of the bands. Determined to bring a safe, comfortable rehearsal space to Fort Collins, they began creating what would become Cohere Bandwidth.
Cohere Bandwidth, located at 317 Jefferson St., is a plug-and-play hourly practice space for local and touring musicians. After two and a half years of planning and construction, Cohere Bandwidth finally opened for business June 27.
Sutter, marketing director of local nonprofit SpokesBUZZ, said a severe lack of adequate rehearsal spaces has forced many local musicians to turn to less-than-ideal options. Some bands practice in their homes, but have to comply with noise ordinances and avoid upsetting roommates and neighbors.
“I think this is really broadening the ability for musicians to find time to do their work and not have to worry about that piece either,” Sutter said. “What I hope (Cohere Bandwidth) provides for the music community is an understanding that they don’t have to settle for subpar conditions.”
Kwiatkowski founded Cohere Community five years ago to provide a shared office space for freelance and remote workers to come together to do their work in a creative environment. She said she began to notice striking similarities between the music community and the freelance community her business served.
“I realized that their needs and desires are identical, with the exception that musicians have very specific equipment and space needs,” Kwiatkowski said.
With the mission in mind, Cohere Bandwidth just needed a location. After Bizarre Bazaar moved to its new location on South College and Colorado Drum and Percussion closed, an open space became available on Linden Street in the same building as the Downtown Artery.
“It was devastating and exciting all at once when the Colorado Drum and Percussion went out of business because it opened up just enough square footage for us to move in,” Kwiatkowski said.
Zweygardt worked at Colorado Drum and Percussion for years before it closed and practiced with his band in the back of the building. He now works as the general manager for Cohere Bandwidth, providing musical expertise and further strengthening the connection with the local music community, Kwiatkowski said.
With a portion of the open space, the Downtown Artery is building a music venue, café and studio for their record label Strange Light Records. Putting a rehearsal space next door seemed like the perfect fit, said Marketing Director William Knudsen.
“It’s this mutually beneficial relationship where we are both bringing business to each other and utilizing the overall space for mutual gain and for the furthering of the local music community,” Knudsen said.
One of the practice spaces in Cohere Bandwidth connects to the stage at the Downtown Artery and will be used as a green room for performers, Knudsen said. Member bands of Cohere receive a discount at the café and priority booking at the Downtown Artery venue.
Limited memberships with Cohere Bandwidth are available for $145 per month for eight hours of rehearsal time, and hourly sessions can be purchased for $20. Each of the two practice rooms are fully backlined, so bands don’t have to carry around all of their equipment or worry about leaving it behind. With 24/7 access via unique key codes, bands can come in to play day or night without upsetting neighbors, Kwiatkowski said.
Other membership perks include discounts at surrounding restaurants and with businesses and local photographers, Kwiatkowski said. Bands that remain members for six months will also have the opportunity to develop a beer with Pateros Creek Brewing Company.
“I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface on all the ways we can collaborate,” Kwiatkowski said.
Cohere Bandwidth caters to any band that needs safe, secure rehearsal space, Kwiatkowski said. They hope to bring in established local and traveling bands, as well as college and high school groups.
“We wanted to give our local musicians a space they could be really productive in and feel really proud about,” Kwiatkowski said. “We care deeply about the music community and we want them to use Cohere Bandwidth so they can become even better at their craft.”
Collegian Senior Reporter Emily Vavra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @vivalavavra.