The creation of Final Friday — the monthly music walk and urban bazaar in Denver’s River North Arts (RiNo) District — was John McCaskill’s answer to a more “bar-based participating block party” that doesn’t involve blocking off the streets. For five years now, the owner of MegaFauna apparel, art and print shop has been showcasing all that Denver’s music scene and RiNo have to offer. This month, though, it’s getting a new flavor with the addition of an all-female musical lineup curated by the Roux Black creative consulting firm.
Ru Johnson and her team will be guest-curating the two main stages for this Friday’s neighborhood block party, bringing the female-fronted “Controlla Stage” and the “Grammy Family Stage,” featuring some of Denver’s best-known hip-hop artists. Both stages will highlight Denver’s hip-hop community, and the Controlla Stage has been specially curated to showcase the talents of Denver’s female hip-hop artists and all they’ll bring to RiNo this Friday.
“MegaFauna added a new courtyard for this Final Friday where the women DJs will be,” says Ru Johnson, Roux Black’s owner and creative mastermind, adding that music geared toward women at clubs is usually "terrible" and that this is an opportunity for women to take ownership and challenge that. “There’s going to be a dance party literally ten steps away from where the stage will be, and we wanted to give the ladies an atmosphere that centers around dance, a happy hour and partying all at the same time.”
Final Friday is a “conscious collaboration” of community resources in RiNo that emphasizes music and community in Denver. The area takes on a marketplace vibe as participating businesses open their doors to musicians, bands and performers while offering a variety of music and performance at each venue. True to the Final Friday idea, Johnson says each of the artists were chosen not only for their outstanding abilities, but also because they all bring different kinds of music that will elevate Final Friday and McCaskill’s commitment to a more creative Denver.
“Fauxxy and COCINA are sisters, but they’re so different from each other,” Johnson notes of two of the Controlla Stage artists. “FAUXXY has more of a trap style, while COCINA has this rare production and groove. They both just really bring their individuality.”
Johnson calls Valerie Molano a “dope curator of lifestyle events,” adding that she knows how to read crowds and is a “perfect” artist for an outside stage. She says Erin Stereo’s knowledge of both underground and new-style hip-hop made her an easy choice for Final Friday, since she’ll be able to play into the minds of both crowds.
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“jilly.fm is a beast too,” Johnson says of the final female DJ on the Controlla Stage lineup. “She has such a diverse ear for music, and really just set it off at the Westword Music Showcase.”
Final Friday is free to the public, and the night kicks off at 7 p.m. between the 2700 and 3300 blocks of Larimer and Blake streets. Visit finalfridaydenver.com for a full list of participating this month’s businesses and sponsors.