Space! One Giant Leap for Cohere Bandwidth
Full disclosure: I’m writing this from a hotel room in Austin, having just wrapped up a trip to the South by Southwest music festival, and despite not drinking anything stronger than a latte all week, I can tell my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders yet. SXSW blows my mind, every year. So bear with me.
Remember how I put all y’all (<<hey, I’m writing from Texas) on notice that we are on a mission to shift some paradigms in our community? That in our quest for shared rehearsal space, we want to cement the understanding that music means business? Bands contribute to the economy. Artists are entrepreneurs! You might as well get used to this chorus, because we’ll keep repeating it until it seems silly that anyone ever thought anything different.
Anyway: HUGE NEWS on this front! Cohere Bandwidth submitted a funding proposal to the 2014 Fort Collins Economic Health Cluster Support Fund and the city awarded us $2500 for our shared rehearsal space project. The money is wonderful, of course, but even better is the message that this award sends: our city’s economic health office understands that an investment in music industry infrastructure makes some solid economic sense. (High five, Fort Collins, for being willing and visionary enough to invest).
Of course, on the heels of the week I’ve experienced here at SXSW, it’s hard not to feel like this should be a no-brainer. Seeing the impact music can make on the local economy is pretty clear to me as I review my hotel bill and ask myself what I did with that other pedicab receipt. But in case you’re wondering — here’s a little window into the economic impact of SXSW. I am personally here in Austin on business, having helped organize the Colorado Music Party, a two-day SXSW showcase that received, for the first time, some substantial public funding from the state. In fact, Colorado is making enough of a splash in this arena that a SXSW panelist gave us a shout-out during the session “Music and Economic Development for Cities”. And not just any panelist — the guy who served for 9 years in Seattle as the Director of the Office of Film and Music. Yes, Seattle has an Office of Film and Music; seems like a pretty legitimate division for a city that reported $1.3 billion in annual music industry revenues in 2004.
But: that’s a macro level conversation. Here at the foundational-starting-a-rehearsal-space level, we are very excited to put this money into infrastructure that supports our local artists. Because in addition to economic impact, there is a very real human impact that music has on a community, and I can absolutely report that this is alive and well in Austin, too. I had a nice weepy moment at the Julian Casablancas show when this kid next to me who was so. excited! that he got in without a badge (“my other friend is outside because he didn’t have $20 for a ticket, but he climbed a tree and can still see pretty good”) explained to me that he “works at Chili’s, but I mostly like to play music, and sometimes they let me do that, and they even pay me and that’s THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD”. All said without a trace of sarcasm. Getting paid. To do something other people value, and to do it well. We can get behind that, and we’re glad our city can, too. So thank you, Fort Collins, for the vote of confidence. We’re getting ready to do right by some of our most historically undervalued entrepreneurs and we are glad to have you in our corner.