One of the greatest challenges independent musicians face in their craft today is the piece of the puzzle known as touring. Playing outside hometowns can mean very small audiences for performers.
Music fan, visionary, and Mishawaka Amphitheatre owner Dani Grant founded the grassroots nonprofit organization SpokesBUZZ in 2010 to showcase musical artists in her region of Fort Collins, Colorado. The organization successfully hosted a showcase at Austin’s South by Southwest the same year. By adding talented and enthusiastic board members to create a program to assist local artists in building fan bases beyond home, BandSwap was born in 2012.
Like most great ideas, the concept was simple – take six bands from Fort Collins with a good-sized local audience draw and partner them with like-minded bands from five other cities with similar crowd-drawing numbers in their respective markets. Last year’s inaugural event was well documented in a video short, viewable here:
The second BandSwap is scheduled to commence in the last two weekends in September 2013, when six bands from Fort Collins and Denver will travel to host cities. The first weekend in October the bands will return to Fort Collins and Denver accompanied by the partnering bands from the other cities, for a full weekend extravaganza of music.
This year’s confirmed cities are Portland, Asheville, Chico, Lafayette, Fort Collins, Denver, and another to be announced soon. It takes many hands and advocates to build and stage creative community events such as BandSwap and several of them should be noted here. After attending the event last year, Josh Birks, Economic Director of the City of Fort Collins saw the great possibilities in contacting cities directly to invite them to join this exciting opportunity to marry the arts with community and economy. Other champion supporters include Lisa Gedgaudas, the Program Administrator of Create Denver - Arts and Venues Denver, Eloise Damrosch, Executive Director Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, Shawn Tillman, Senior Planner in the Chico City Clerk's Office, Ben Berthelot, the Executive Director Convention & Visitors Bureau in Lafayette and Chris Corl, General Manager Office of Economic Development for the City of Asheville. These generous and innovative people, along with many venue owners, talent bookers and others, make BandSwap’s good works possible.
City venue partners and bands will be announced on July 29. Detailed events and activities for the “homecoming” in Fort Collins and Denver with bands and their respective city partner musicians will be released on September 3.
BandSwap is simultaneously helping artists to develop and boosting local economy by involving tourism and arts and culture organizations in the host cities.
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