After one year of cultivating the artistic community in Fort Collins, The Music District had a reason to celebrate.
The Surround Sound Bash was held this past Saturday. Held on the four-building campus in Old Town, the party celebrated The Music District’s first year of operation. The event featured live performances and other music related events designed to give insight into what The Music District provides for local artists.
The district has been running for a year under the mission to connect musicians, cultivate talent and encourage professional growth among musicians. The Music District is helping create a new, more inclusive path to success for Fort Collins artists with a variety of collaborative ideas and programs.
The district primarily focuses on ensuring artists have the ability to work while pursuing their dream in music. Some of that comes with helping artists to get gigs, but it goes beyond that to things like helping set up lessons for artist to teach or being an employee of The Music District.
Diego Felix is 2017 Colorado State University graduate who DJs under the name Full Metal. He is an employee of the Music District. Some of his work includes social media, working the front desk and tutoring kids. Pegged as a utility player for Saturday night’s event, Felix does a little bit of everything.
He has performed at private parties, the Lincoln Center, South by Southwest and other festivals like FoCoMX. While Felix has done a lot of the work himself, he credits The Music District with helping him set up a few of those events on top of the regular work they provide, he said.
Beyond the work comes collaboration, which The Music District provides in a multitude of ways. The organization offers an artist residency program and the Musician’s Help Desk.
The Musician’s Help Desk is a round-table type discussion and workshop that the Music District holds every Tuesday on a different topic with people in the music industry. The discussion is not only open to the public, but is live streamed by KRFC.
It will soon be available as a podcast so it can expand to as many people as possible, according to station manager James Lopez, who was giving tours of his station Saturday night. Over the last year, KRFC has been able to expand with the help of The Music District and is an initial outlet for local artists trying to get their first radio time.
Aside from everything they offer locally, residencies also offer the opportunity for local artist to collaborate with national acts. Blind Pilot and Elephant Revival are a couple of the nationally touring acts that have taken residency on the district’s campus, where they rehearse and use the district’s resources in exchange for community involvement. While Blind pilot were at the Music District they took DJ lessons and singing bowls lessons, said event coordinator Kebrina Chirdon.
“They fully entrenched themselves in the Fort Collins community while they were here for two weeks,” Chirdon said. “That’s really what we’re looking for.”
This kind of community cultivates collaboration between artists. Edison and Kind Dub, who met at the music district, now they play together, including a show they recently performed at Red Rocks. Blind Pilot collaborated on a song with local band Danielle Ate the Sandwich as well, according to director Jesse Elliot.
Saturday night’s festivities culminated and celebrated all that The Music District has done in its first year of community building.
The Music District is located at 639 S. College Ave.
Collegian reporter Mack Beaulieu can be reached on twitter @Macknz_James