BY: DAWN DUNCAN
This month, Fort Collins gains something we could not have imagined years ago when our community had a fraction of the bands it has now and nowhere near the level of sophistication in music industry knowledge, experience, and seasoned veterans who have earned their stripes on stage and off, navigating perhaps one of the trickiest business landscapes in the world. What we used to consider the norm in the industry is now passé in a place like Northern Colorado, which is rich with talent, musicians with serious chops in running their own businesses, and industry leaders ready to assist and share meaningful knowledge.
The 57,000 square foot campus of the Music District consists of five buildings total: “The Sisters,” aptly named for their former sorority house status and now conjoined by a walkway that bridges the buildings together, “Little Brother,” an artist residence/apartment space that will accommodate visiting industry executives and professionals, “The Atrium Building,” which will house various industry-related businesses, including KRFC FM among several other tenants, and “The Carriage House,” home to an entertainment attorney and a production services company. What was once a mere vision rooted in wanting to bring the community together, not just as musicians and music industry professionals, but the entire community and using music as the common thread of this—The Music District is now a reality.
Lead by musician and business executive, Jesse Elliott, and backed by a star-studded team of pro’s, including a few you will recognize from the stage who are serving as part-time support staff, The Music District is ready to deliver a first rate experience to the people who begin working with this unique enterprise. Funded by The Bohemian Foundation, The Music District operates as a 501(c) 3 organization, employs 16 people at present, and works to offer a massive list of opportunities and experiences to musicians and community members. Among these, the highlights include:
- Rehearsal spaces
- Multi-media room for showing videos, sharing music with other musicians, friends, family
- Board room
- DJ deck
- Performance areas throughout the indoor and outdoor areas, including an expansive deck on the backside of the main building
- Areas for collaboration: writing, playing music, sharing information
- Community events
- Education and training for musicians, including detailed curriculum that will be taught by various community members as instructors, as well as visitors to the community who are from the music industry
Scene talked with Gregg Adams, The Music District’s Business Manager, about what we can expect in coming months as the doors are opened to the community.
“The Music District is the hub of all things music for Bohemian Foundation, musicians, local businesses, the City of Fort Collins, and every component and person tied to music within our city. We also collaborate with national and international organizations and bring their knowledge and experiences here in order to build our own enterprise in a way that benefits the community,” Adams commented. The Music District enlisted the help of Eric Lawrence, co-founder of Coalition Music in Toronto, Canada, and he was able to share his experience of starting a similar set up that serves as Canada’s music incubator.
“We’re bringing a true business focus,” Adams added. “We want to know how to involve everyone across the board, offer a full curriculum of education, and really serve as the hub of activity when it comes to all things music.” In the education component, The Music District will enlist the help of Subject Matter Experts (“SME’S”) from various areas of the music industry, in the training and development components of educating musicians to succeed. These individuals will be volunteers as well as paid consultants, depending on the scope and magnitude of the project at hand, and the education division of The Music District will strive to create a roadmap for programs relevant to today’s musicians and their needs.
“We’re focused on the areas that are really important in today’s music world: Touring, licensing, booking, management, IT, communications, performance, media, and community management. We’re bringing this all together in ways that can directly impact a musician as well as the community around them,” Adams stated.
One way we can get to know The Music District and the vast array of services and programs they will offer is to visit their website, which is massive in content, yet expertly organized to be user-friendly. The site will serve as the go-to spot for the community to access information about events, programs, updates on services, and also feature a section where ideas can be shared directly with The Music District for consideration. Those submitting do not have to be musicians or industry pro’s; all ideas are encouraged and welcomed.
Adams noted, “The Music District is a community partner, advocate, and incubator. We are ready to educate the community about the benefits that music can provide to a city and we’re seeking to help people understand the monetization of music. Music is a business and this is something we believe as a cornerstone to The Music District’s offerings.”
The staff of The Music District is ready to jump in full force and provide a level of service and collaboration that many in our area music world may have never experienced. When asked about the team, Adams commented, “When I met the team for the first time, the energy level was something I had never experienced before. These people understand the industry, including pitfalls and gaps. Working together, we have the opportunity to close those gaps and this, to me and to the entire team, is beyond thrilling.”
Contact: 639 S. College Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80524 themusicdistrict.org