Posted by: Yvonne Meek | May 30, 2010

Montrose, CO Festivals Collide …???

The Montrose Daily Press writer Kati O’Hare published an article in today’s (Sun, May 30, 2010) paper (front page, mind you) discussing how the “local (Montrose, CO) musicians (were) slighted by festival featuring outside (Grand Junction,CO) bands”. Katie reports speaking with Dave Bowman of Blue Sky Music Presents, Jenni  Sopsic of Montrose ACT, Ken Brengle of Montrose ACT, and Kevin Wodlinger of Cumulus Broadcasting for her story. Here’s the backstory …

I was shopping downtown Montrose a few weeks back and spotted a poster for the “Montrose Music Festival”. Well, I’m a musician, a Montrose musician at that, so naturally I was curious, a little concerned, maybe even, I’ll admit, jealous that I had not been contacted or considered for this “Montrose” event. As I read the poster, I quickly discovered that the event was being put on by a Grand Junction radio network with the support of Montrose’s newly formed Montrose ACT (Association of Commerce and Tourism), the City of Montrose, and a few others. Interestingly, NONE of the bands listed were from Montrose.

Considering who was putting on the event, I knew why I’d not been contacted … I’d already pissed off the Board of MACT and the City by speaking against the recent City-funded merger of vital community organizations (but that’s another story) … they won’t be calling  me anytime soon! BUT … what about my community of musicians? We work hard, for almost nothing quite often and for even less respect … now I’m angry! I was tempted to lash out again but for what …

In comes local promoter Dave Bowman of Blue Sky Music Presents. He claims to speak on behalf of Montrose musicians. I’m sure we all appreciate the KVNF radio air time Dave’s been giving but he’s not a musician nor does he speak for all of us. Nevertheless, Dave was mad enough to decide to put on his own event … “We Love Montrose Musicians” … on the same day to specifically compete with MACT’s event. I was not the first on his list but was eventually included because I’d already had a gig planned for that night at Camp Robber in Montrose.

Getting back to today’s story in the Press. No Montrose musicians were quoted in the paper. Does anyone give a rip what we think, feel, or desire? I’ve been performing music since my teens … all styles, genres, professionally, paid and unpaid, in Los Angeles, Denver and Montrose, played with one of the top bands in Western Colorado … because I LOVE to sing and perform, because it’s in my blood and I’m compelled to do it. I’m also pretty darn good at it, well, at least I can hold my own! I know plenty of local musicians who play for free at open mics generating income for the bar/venue they’re playing in. I know many who play for free at the same venues I’m trying to make a living from. I know many who are working hard to build a reputation and a following. Why don’t you ask us …

I don’t have a full-time job anymore. I take only part-time positions so that I can keep my schedule flexible enough to rehearse and continue performing music. I want to make a living from music, but Montrose is definitely not the place. But I also have a family and need to stay in Montrose. I try my hardest to invest in this community, in the downtown, in other musicians. I worked for the City at the Pavilion a few years back hoping to have the opportunity to create great events to better utilize the facility. I worked for the Chamber to help create better services for it’s members and to be an informed voice for my community concerns. I am not a flakey musician, nor am I lazy or one who doesn’t contribute to society. I am the volunteer vice chair of Main In Motion, a nonprofit corporation which puts on an award-winning 12 week long summer Main Street event which not only creates community, generates revenue but also pays many musicians to perform. I’m also the Volunteer Regoinal Chapter Coordinator for the Western Colorado Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. And when I can, I host ‘house concerts’ in my home to specifically support traveling musicians, again often at my personal expense. Ask me how I feel as a musician …

I’m pretty sure I know why MACT won’t be asking for my help any time soon. I’m also pretty sure I know why the City isn’t interested in my two cents. I can understand why I’m not exactly on the top of Bowman’s list of musical favorites. I don’t think Kevin Wodlinger has ever heard of me either. But … I am a Montrose musician … with a following … with a political voice … with a heartbeat on quite a bit of this community … AND I’M NOT GOING AWAY!

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