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Chipper’s Lanes rolls retro with Live on the Lanes

Walking into Chipper’s Lanes on a Thursday night, one is greeted by the sight of flashing rainbow lights, spinning disco balls and the sound of a live band performing. This is not the typical scene you would expect from a bowling alley at night, but Chipper’s Lanes is changing the game with Live on the Lanes, a live music and bowling experience. 

Serving as their college night, Thursdays from 9-11 p.m. is when Chipper’s Lanes turns into a concert venue. Rising from the middle of the lanes is a stage that patrons are invited to bowl around. 

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It’s a great vibe. everybody is here to have fun.” -Tucker Smidt, guitarist for Space Force.

Sarah Slaton, the general manager and talent buyer for Chipper’s Lanes, is quite familiar with booking artists and providing quality concert experiences. 

Although Slaton has only worked with Chipper’s Lanes for one year, she has been instrumental in the process of making Live on the Lanes what it is today. 

With her prior experience in the music industry and with live performances, she knew that Live on the Lanes had the ability to grow: starting with a name.

When Slaton started working with Chipper’s Lanes, Live on the Lanes was a regular occurrence, but it didn’t have an official title. 

“I really wanted to grow the program and rename it, so we named it Live on the Lanes,” Slaton said.

woman sits at table with coffee cup
Sarah Slaton, General Manager and Talent Buyer at Chipper’s Lanes, sits at the College Center location Jan. 30, 2019. (Monty Daniel | The Collegian)

With a new name came new ways for Chipper’s Lanes to brand themselves and show the community what they could offer. 

“We’ve been trying to increase it as well to be an emerging talent stage,” Slaton said.

Booking artists who may be undiscovered or are flying under the radar is one of their main goals, helping boost these artists’ visibility in the Fort Collins music scene.

In the case of local band Space Force, they have gained a residency at Chipper’s Lanes, playing at Live on the Lanes around 12 times.

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“I think it’s kind of a good fit for our music because you can pay full attention to it when you want to, or if you don’t want to and just wanna bowl, you can do that too,” said Adam Bell, saxophonist for Space Force.

The first Live on the Lanes performance, according to Slaton, was Josh and the Long Haul, who plays classic country music. Additionally, they have welcomed artists such as DJ Channell, Whiskey Autumn, The Dollhouse Thieves and Lady Gang to the stage, showing how versatile their genre selection is. 

“People like that they can see bands from all different genres performing here, and they can enjoy a really fun sport like bowling at the same time,” Slaton said.

Although their main focus has been on local artists, they have recently expanded to welcoming more touring artists as well. 

As Slaton explains, touring artists often travel through Colorado on their way to other places they are scheduled to play, so her goal is to give them a temporary home in Fort Collins and give them a chance to play somewhere they haven’t ever been before. This is all in the hope that they will return to the City on their next tour and have the chance to book a bigger venue, such as Hodi’s Half Note or Mishawaka

According to Slaton, the Fort Collins community can expect more touring artists playing Live on the Lanes this summer. 

Additionally, Chipper’s Lanes’ Greeley location is now offering live music, giving artists more opportunities to play and offering the Greeley community another venue. 

“It’s a great vibe,” said Tucker Smidt, the guitarist for Space Force. “Everybody is here to have fun.” 

It’s not often one can have a competitive bowling game while dancing around in their bowling shoes to a live band, but that’s what Live on the Lanes is giving Fort Collins.

You can find upcoming dates and artists for Live on the Lanes on Chipper’s Lanes’ website

Monty Daniel can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @MontyDaniel_.

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