Posted by: Yvonne Meek | July 20, 2011

just thinking…is anyone listening?

it’s been a year since i dared to give my opinion about competing festivals and the music scene in Montrose. a lot has happened in this community on all fronts and i’ve been too busy making stuff happen that i neglected to add my voice to the mix. i’m adding now …

last fall, September 2010, i began hosting ‘house’ concerts under the moniker Skylark Concerts. i partnered with Cobble Creek Clubhouse to host monthly concerts featuring local and regional Colorado musicians. most concerts did pretty well averaging 35 in attendance. the vision was and is to create a living room setting in a public venue, inviting an audience to pay $10-15 per person to listen to a live performance by a group of talented people. the group received 80% of the door revenue with 20% going to pay advertising, venue and administrative costs. a few times we covered our expenses and made the musicians VERY happy, other times the musicians made more than they would’ve at any other local venue but i lost money, though i did enjoy a fantastic evening of live music.

in june 2011, i partnered with the Montrose Pavilion to present an outdoor series in the often unused courtyard, we hosted two evenings averaging 30 people asking guests to pay $15 per person with 70% going to musicians and 30% to administrative costs, etc.  the first concert was well attended but unfortunately the second was not … again we decided to cut our losses. the premise was and is the same as with the other series … pay the musicians fairly … a novel idea.

in the last few years it seems that Montrose has seen a decrease in venues and an increase in musicians … that is not a good equation for any of us. there are fewer gigs and more people vying for the same jobs. the economy sucks …

during this time, i’ve taken on few ‘real’ jobs and tried my hand at writing/publishing a regional music magazine … www.musicwestmagazine.com (my business associate PJ Fagen did the website design) but it sure feels as if no one is listening.  i’m planning to celebrate women in music from the western slope at the first Uncompahgre Valley Muses Festival, www.uvmusefest2011.eventbrite.com or www.skylarkconcerts.eventbrite.com

to be honest, i’m weary, i’ve lived in Montrose since 1996, moving here from Maher/Crawford, Co when my daughter was six months old. for many years, i stuck with church music and didn’t perform publically, until about eight years ago when i decided to return to performing. i’d met David Starr and began playing keys and singing in his band, then after a few years broke out on my own performing in around Montrose. i penned and recorded my first solo CD in Nashville with producer Lorna Flowers. it’s pretty good if you ask me. i’ve competed, placed and judged at the Colgate Country Showdown in Grand Junction, Montrose, and Olathe and will again judge the Texaco Country Showdown in Montrose this Saturday night (tho i very well could compete, i haven’t lost a thing cept maybe my courage).

i’ve played with many of the local musicians but still have not found my tribe … my niche … i can sing just about anything but i’m probably sound my best at jazz and ballads.  truth is … i want to fit somewhere.

is anybody listening … ??

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!

Posted by: Yvonne Meek | March 25, 2010

Hello world!

for months i’ve been talking about … blogging! well, i’m finally jumping in …

got lots to talk about for one whose tried to keep my opinions to myself for far too long … i’m involved in lots of stuff in my community and my city. i think many people underestimate me because i’ve tried so hard to fit in and be liked. but i do have an opinion and a backbone so if you don’t really want to know … don’t ask!

my ‘h’ says i should write a book … well, i’ve had many experiences in my lifetime that i could definitely write about. i do my best to keep few secrets about many mistakes, too … simply because i don’t want anyone to have anything on me that i haven’t made public myself …

so in future blogs … i will be dispensing educated opinions on what i believe about what i see going on around me … music, marriage, divorce, children, teens, musicians, church and ministry, equality, freedom, politics, gender issues, the go0d old boys club, what women really think, mid-life crisis, City of Montrose, Montrose ACT, Montrose Daily Press, V-Day, the Vagina Monologues, feminism, sexism, egalitarianism, Calvary Chapel, cults, theology … and the list goes on

hope you’re listening …

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