Having Trouble Booking Your Band in Fort Collins?

How are those other bands getting those sweet gigs at venues in Fort Collins?

Take a moment to think about how you contact booking agents.  An informal approach only makes sense if you already have a relationship with that person.

When making a cold contact to inquire about a show, make sure your email is clear, professional, and contains all the information a booking agent might need.  It is not their job to research bands, and they probably won’t look you up if you don’t include links.

Here, we’ve provided a sample booking inquiry.  We recommend that you don’t use this as “fill in the blank” form, but try to customize it in a way that makes sense for your band.  Keep it on hand to use as a template so you can quickly submit your band for opening slots as soon a show is announced.

Hi (VENUE or BOOKING AGENT or ANOTHER BAND),

I would like to submit my band as support for (SHOW) on (DATE).

(BAND NAME) is a (# OF MEMBERS) piece (GENRE) band, based out of (TOWN).  We have released (#) albums, and played (List venues, festivals, and notable supporting slots), and gathered a loyal following locally.  We actively market every show we play, and will help pack the house!

Feel free to add a more personal note, but remember the object is to convey your value.

Official Website:

LINK

Facebook:

LINK

Youtube:

LINK

Thank you for your consideration!

Best regards,

NAME

BAND

A cool press photo at the bottom can help grab attention.

All About Music in Fort Collins: by Argento Studios

Tim and Angel were recently interviewed by Cynthia of Argento Studios for an epic look at the Fort Collins music scene. We think it highlights all the best parts of who we are as a town. The article includes in-depth interviews with local heroes like Greta Cornett, Julie Sutter, Erin Roberts and Tim Massa. If you are new to Fort Collins or just curious to learn more about how we work as a music city, this is a must read for musicians and non-musicians alike.

“The thing I have learned because I haven’t been in the music industry except through Cohere Bandwidth is that the people who are supporting the musicians in Fort Collins are musicians. They form the foundation of the fan base.” -Angel

Read the full article: Fort Collins is the Startup City Built on Rock-and-Roll.

Cohere Bandwidth: A Practice Space’s First Year in Review

We’ve compiled data on how many Fort Collins bands rehearse at Cohere Bandwidth, which bands practice the most and our goals for the next year.

Ridiculously Productive Meetings

FullSizeRender

I bet you never wonder how 3 people with full-time jobs manage to shoe-horn in the creation of a shared rehearsal space for Fort Collins in their “spare” time. If you’ve been following us, you might wonder why I would brag about our ridiculously productive meetings for Cohere Bandwidth when we’ve been at this for almost 2 years. If you must know, most of that 2 years was spent waiting on real estate with very few DONES getting checked off of our TO-DOS. Skip below to the COMPLETION step if you are skimming.

But now that the space is REAL and under construction we spend every Friday going from Oh Fuck! to Hell Yes! Here is our extremely effective meeting process:

  1. AGENDA: Anyone can create or add to the agenda. We do this in a shared google doc that everyone can edit. The doc contains ALL of the agendas with the most recent at the top. The agenda is usually created the night before or the morning of each meeting. We’re agile and quick so it wouldn’t make sense to create an agenda further in advance than that.
  2. SCHEDULE: Meetings are always at 10am on Fridays at Cohere and last 1.5 hours. The person who is late has to get coffee for everyone else.FullSizeRender (1)
  3. AIRING OF GRIEVANCES: At the start of each meeting we get our feelings out. Yep, you read that right. If anyone is frustrated or flabbergasted or just plain giddy, we talk it out BEFORE we task. This step is key. Due to the nature of our structure, we can’t be together or even talk every day so it’s important to make a real connection to one another before we start doling out chores.
  4. ORDER: We go through the agenda in order. Always. We rarely add anything to the agenda during the meeting.
  5. TIME: Never, ever, ever put an estimated time for discussion on an agenda item. This makes no sense.
  6. COMPLETION: We complete any tasks that come up IN THE MEETING. Example, if Julie needs to email someone about a radio interview then Shane and I talk about a graphic design task or similar. This allows everyone to be productive during the entire meeting, which is something I never got to experience in corporate life.
  7. DELEGATE: If any tasks remain, they are completed directly after the meeting ends or get shifted to me (Angel) if possible since I have the most spare time to complete things. Shane will often do heavy duty graphic design tasks outside of the meeting as it’s part of his creative process.

So there. Now you know how we make the most out of our 12 hours/month together.

Does your team have an unconventional meeting process? Tell us all about it so we can steal your tips for our next meeting.

Field Report: Metal, Pedals and Mantic Effects

Now that shared rehearsal space in Old Town Fort Collins is totally, officially a thing it’s time to do some more shopping for gear for the Cohere Bandwidth backline while we wait for construction to begin. On the shopping list: effects pedals. Friday being the perfect day for a little field trip, we decided it was a good idea to detour to Denver. We paid a visit to some of our more intriguing and innovative friends, Luis Etscheid and Caleb Henning, the musicians-turned-mad-scientists behind Colorado’s Mantic Effects.

Mantic (aka Mantic Conceptual) was a business born from a desire to create new sounds, good old-fashioned experimental entrepreneurial drive, and Luis’ self-confessed pedal addiction (“I have a real problem,” he says). The result: a local boutique effects pedal company with national buzz and a rapidly expanding A-list clientele after only two years on the scene.

Yeah. They’re kind of a big deal. So where else would we shop?

Mantic - Luis

Luis, tinkering.

The fellas showed us around their workshop/lab, patiently answered our questions about knobs and thingies, and of course, let us listen in on some of the Mantic magic. It was basically like being backstage at Red Rocks before a Jack White show.

Production Heads: Caleb and the Mantic mascots

Production Heads: Caleb and the Mantic mascots

We’re super excited to combine forces with Mantic and introduce more local musicians to their genius gadgetry. These are two super-duper smart guys. Angel and I admittedly tuned out for a bit when a conversation about circuit bending started blowing our minds to the point where we kinda needed a helmet. Which they totally had. Because they rocked it at Moogfest 2014 (all the way to the finals).

Mantic Moogfest Helmet

Our hope at Cohere Bandwidth is to cater to more basic needs (like reverb and distortion pedals) via the permanent backline gear, then to also introduce a beta testing/prototyping program in conjunction with Mantic so musicians at the space can demo some of the more specialized stuff. And we can, in turn, provide Mantic with some … wait for it … feedback. Heh. Funny every time.

While they recently established their first retailer relationship with Eastside Music Supply in East Nashville, the bulk of Mantic’s sales come from direct-to-musician transactions. So while we all wait excitedly for Cohere Bandwidth to open, in the meantime we of course encourage those of you with a bit of a “pedal problem” to check out the Mantic product line. They make gorgeous-yet-rugged handcrafted pedals that some of our favorite musicians love.

Mantic Faces

Wire Faces “Mantic Monday”

Thanks to Luis and Caleb for letting us into the lab! Enjoy a little music by a Mantic fan — Denver’s Alex Anderson of ManCub and Rose Quartz:

 

Rehearsal Space: Good News … and Good News

It’s been a bit since we’ve reported from the world of Cohere Bandwidth, our plucky (but plagued with uncertainty) undertaking to create secure, affordable shared rehearsal space for Fort Collins musicians. Since we last posted about progress, we received some city support to help further develop the project. A New York-based digital magazine for freelancers and independent workers asked us to write about our trials and tribulations. In the midst of all that, Cohere opened a second location, giving us a second big sister for Bandwidth. Spring sprung, and musicians started resurfacing from their winter writing and recording caves to begin practicing in earnest for the upcoming summer touring and festival season. They continued to call us and email us and bump into us on the streets and ask when Cohere Bandwidth will be open for business; we continued to sigh and struggle and work through the painstaking process of finding commercial real estate that’s suitable for rock and roll. For a season that is supposed to bring growth and renewal, springtime started out with some good stuff — mixed with serious suck.

We almost gave up. Not entirely, of course, but truly, things got difficult enough that we asked ourselves whether we were even going about this the right way, whether we picked the wrong path or were pushing too hard for the wrong results. It’s a long story, but it turns out that at a moment of despair and dissonance, it was a drummer who (perhaps unsurprisingly) got us back in sync. And while much still remains to be decided, we are now in a place where things feel solid enough that we can talk about them. This would be a great time for a drum roll … but let’s just get to it, eh?

Good News: Part One
We are super excited to announce that in our search for space, we are currently pursuing a partnership with The Downtown Artery! <<in a hilarious twist, that link may currently take you to a page that tells you The Artery is under construction. It is. Big time. But a great place to keep up with them in the meantime is the Downtown Artery Facebook page. And here’s the nutshell version of what you need to know: the people who run the Artery are pretty much perfect for us to combine forces with in terms of investing in the creative future of Fort Collins. They care about the people who make and support art and music. They are doing some really neat stuff already and they’re in it for the long haul. They know creativity can be messy and noisy and that things might not turn out the way you thought they would. They get it. They like us. We like them. We. Are. Thrilled.

Much more to come on all THAT, but here’s some

Stuff to Know for Now
At the moment, we’re looking at creating at least two rehearsal rooms for rent: a lockout room (designed for a limited number of bands to rent on a longer-term basis, where they store their gear in the room) and a hourly rental room available for musicians to schedule (turnkey, with backline gear all set up for plug and play rehearsals). The rooms will be in Old Town, and will of course be designed with the most important criteria in mind, as requested by our community of local musicians: Safe. Secure. Affordable. Soundproof. And yes, even this: Bathrooms. We’re also looking at including a “lab” of sorts, to incorporate some teaching and learning within our community. That’s all in its infancy as well. Now that we’re unstuck in the search for space, things will move forward but it still may not be as fast as one might hope. Which leads us to …

Good News: Part Two
There’s another rehearsal space under construction in Fort Collins! Higher Ground Rehearsal Studios is destined for Commerce Drive, in the industrial area east of town. We don’t know many specifics about the project yet, but we have contacted the owners to set up a meeting later this week to find out more, and promise to keep you posted. They have a Facebook page, too, so you can keep up with them as things progress. More options when there have been nearly none seems like a terrific turn of events to us, and we are looking forward to hearing all about it.

In the Meantime

https://flic.kr/p/af7rF9
We are working on keeping things steady. We’re listening carefully. We’re learning, and changing. We’re taking feedback (for instance, we got some great input from the committee that reviewed our city grant application in March; the nutshell version there was: grow slow, and involve the community even more). We’re working on being patient, on not becoming discouraged when things seem unclear, on improvising and enjoying the natural rhythm of this project, which is decidedly different than anything we’ve experienced before. But it’s worth it. We’ve got some amazing companions on our journey, and more appear every day. Stay tuned. Hang in there with us! We expect more good news is on the way.

 

 

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).

Approval Needed

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.

Music Love

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.

On Tour: Cohere Bandwidth Field Trip to Denver

For anyone out there who thinks that money changes everything, we’ve got news for you: sometimes, it doesn’t. Don’t get us wrong, we’re thrilled to have successfully raised six months worth of rent money to put toward shared rehearsal space for local bands, but we’ve been feeling a little stuck. And then unstuck. And then stuck again. Progress, that saucy wench, is happening in fits and starts, but we still don’t have a confirmed home (even a temporary lab home) for Cohere Bandwidth. And since it’s been nearly two months since we wrapped up our crowdfunding campaign, we are – not gonna lie – starting to freak out just a little.

So what do you do when you feel an itch to get moving, to explore new ideas, to connect, to stretch and grow, to find inspiration outside your own backyard? If you’re a band, you go on tour. If you’re a merry band of stalled-out rehearsal space catalysts, you TAKE a tour. In this case, to our sister city to the south: Denver.

sign

This is what goes on in Denver. *gasp!*

Angel, probably growing weary of the emotional roller coaster of YES!/NO!/MAYBE!/GAH, WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SO HAARRRDD? (sometimes all in the same afternoon) wisely decided to ask for some help, or at least some insight. She reached out to some people who have been there/done that/are still doing it right now, in fact, and arranged for us to meet with Denver rehearsal space owners and managers from RocketSpace, Soundstructure Studios and Francisco Studios. Here’s what we found:

RocketSpace
RocketSpace (2711 Larimer St.) is the result of a ton of hard work, past and present, by owner/operator/guitar-playing-badass Kate Innes (<<she’s the redhead on the left, in your face). RocketSpace rents hourly rehearsal rooms – you can’t store your gear there, but each room is equipped with drums, PA system, microphones, bass rig and guitar cabinets. This means as a musician, you get to show up, practice, and not load too much stuff in and out. Convenient. Yay! It also means, as Kate, that you are in the repair business and the constant scheduling business. Boo! Luckily, she is a real hands-on type and is very much invested in the space, having put her own sweat equity in over and over again (she showed us the closet where she first learned to drywall before building out all the soundproofed RocketSpace rooms). She is also invested in the community, being a currently performing musician herself. Unsurprisingly, Kate’s advice is to own all your own stuff vs. renting a building where you are dumping a bunch of money into improvements that you then have to leave behind with your lease. She was no-holds-barred about how much work it is, but she also seems to genuinely love the process and the people. And RocketSpace is very, very busy, so that doesn’t hurt a bit. Well, maybe it hurts a little, but it’s worth it. That’s what Kate would probably say.

RocketSpace

Kate dropping some knowledge on us at RocketSpace

Soundstructure Studios
Just adjacent to The Walnut Room, and having been around for 20 years, Soundstructure Studios is the established elder statesman to RocketSpace’s startup sensibilities. Encompassing two different buildings with 25 total studios, Soundstructure offers “lockout” spaces: meaning your band rents a room (which you might decide to share with another band or two), you bring all your gear right on in there, and you set up camp. And if you can manage it: you never, ever leave. Because spaces like this one are pretty much impossible to find. Built from the beginning with the magic of acoustical architecture in mind, these rooms are high-end, rock-solid and designed for silence — or at least to keep the sound contained to your space and out of everyone else’s. Double door systems, rooms with no right angles, some sort of cuts (?) in the floor to mitigate low-frequency noise … Angel and I basically lost track of the details, probably because we were both mentally adding up all the dollar signs that were required as an initial investment. That said: owner (and drummer, of course, like all good sages) John Burr, after a couple of decades of business, was hard-pressed to tell us what the “biggest nightmare” is in terms of managing the space currently. The rooms are constantly booked. No marketing required. An hour or two here and there, mostly in the processing of monthly rents, the occasional bit of wear and tear? John seemed so chill about the whole thing that we started to believe that we could be, too. Someday. But not without some serious upfront stressors (see “mind boggling initial investment”). Then again: maybe money does change everything.

Soundstructure

The unflappable John “Jedi Knight” Burr opens the first of many doors to show us around Soundstructure Studios.

Francisco Studios
Our final stop on our Denver day tour was at Francisco Studios, which apparently is a franchise of sorts, with locations in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tucson as well. Our intended tour guide kinda forgot he was supposed to meet us (to his credit, when he realized later, he was extremely gracious and utterly mortified), but undaunted, Angel and I asked a freshly arrived musician/space renter if he’d let us in to try and find someone to show us around. Turns out said musician became our tour guide, which was perfect, because we got some insight straight from the source. Francisco Studios is a HUGE building, with 50 rehearsal rooms arranged in an eerily familiar labyrinth that felt so much like a junior high school that we were convinced that’s what it used to be (when Angel finally talked to the space manager, Kreston, he explained that no, the building was built that way on purpose). The overall result — lockout room upon lockout room, stretching down long hallways, with no real sounds or movement. (Other than the sound of musicians practicing inside the rooms, unfortunately — yes, the rooms are soundproofed, but only … sort of. Our new musician friend just shrugged and said, “yeah, you can totally hear other bands practicing, but what’re you gonna do?” John and Kate would tell him in a heartbeat). As for the ambience in the building, Angel flatly declared it “creepy as f*ck” and the musician kid confessed to freaking himself out there sometimes, but then chalked it up to smoking too much weed. Check out our slasher flick, A short stroll through Francisco Studios. Really, though, once inside the rooms, it was way less spooky and pretty basic. And the bottom line: busy. Just like all the other rehearsal spaces.

What We Learned
Hard to say what impact our tour day had on us, other than it gave us hope for the future, and a whole lot of ideas for what to consider when it’s time for permanent space. We connected with perfectly lovely people who are making it work, we visited spaces that are at capacity, that are secure, (mostly) soundproofed, and yes, bathroom-rich. We got to feel like we’re on the right path even though the next step seems like it might require a divining rod. Not a bad day in Denver. Now: back home, to the task at hand.

P.S. Speaking of the task at hand, Ian got to perform his highly serious, patented “clap test” at RocketSpace. A+!

ianclap

insert off-color joke about the clap here

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