In spite of the college student population flowing out of Fort Collins for summer break, the music scene doesn’t appear to take a vacation. In fact, Fort Collins music seems to thrive in the sweltering heat.
According to their respective websites, Hodi’s Half Note and the Aggie Theater will host 20 shows in July. Dozens more bands and musicians will take the stage in smaller venues such as bars and restaurants in Fort Collins and the Northern Colorado area. Attendance at these events, it seems, has not been an issue in the past without Colorado State University (CSU) students around.
“Fort Collins is growing. We have new apartments springing up all around us and every summer it seems that more people are here when school gets out,” said Greg Simms, a bar manager at the restaurant and music venue Avogadro’s Number. “Because of this, more people are going to shows without a ton of effort on the part of venues, which makes my job a lot easier.”
Simms, who also plays in the local bluegrass band Honey Gitters, said the weather plays a large part in patronage. The outdoor stage at Avogadro’s Number, usually opens in May. There are usually at least 30 or more audience members during the summer, according to Simms.
“Our business actually doubles during the summer and we sell a lot of tickets, more than one would think,” Simms said.
Many other outdoor stages pop up across the city, and more people tend to make a night of it when the weather is good, he added. And instead of simply going out to have a few drinks, people tend to spend more time out around town by frequenting music events.
Zach Johnson, co-music director of the Fort Collins radio station KCSU, also noticed the trend. During the school year, KCSU has a consistent flow of musicians and their labels wanting air time. However, Johnson sees a distinct change during summer months.
“The amount of CDs that music labels send us, and the amount of shows that we are contacted about, skyrockets,” said Johnson. “And, since we are a student-run organization, we don’t have enough DJs to talk about them all.”
While the student population is larger during college months and there is a full staff of student DJ’s to assist in working with local venues and the acts, summer is difficult. Many venues request help from KCSU staff who are spread thin, so local concerts have more of a house show atmosphere. Without introductions and commentary to invite patrons to stay for a band, Johnson said the audience seems to wander in as bands begin playing.
While this seems to be a concern for Johnson, it certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue, based upon the number attending as well as the summer revenue being brought in.
Fort Collins businesses, in general, profit just as well in the summer as they do during the school year. According to the City of Fort Collins website, sales tax collections in 2013 were higher in July ($8.1 million) than in May ($7 million) or April ($7.5 million). In fact, only September yielded more sales tax collections ($8.2 million) in 2013.
“One of the privileges of living in Fort Collins is the diversity of the music scene.
Bands of every genre, and from every part of the country, come to play in Fort Collins venues.
A perfect example of this diversity happened at Avogadro’s Number on June 19. Freeway Revival opened the show with a southern rock sound and covered artists like Hank Williams Senior and the Allman Brothers Band.
The show ended with experimental act Tyler T., featuring a marimba and a multitude of other instruments.
It seems that, no matter the genre, the people of Fort COllins will come out to support music.
This is Jordan Mierau for J-T-C 326.”