We know, you want to read more, eat better and exercise regularly in 2020. But music fans should also resolve to support the city’s thriving music scene — and not just by going to blockbuster concerts and Red Rocks (though, by all means, knock yourself out).
Here are ten ways to be a better Denver music fan in 2020:
Some time after the record industry collapsed, it became clear that one of the best ways bands could make money was by touring — and not just touring, but selling merch. So consider those T-shirts and posters you’re hoping to pick up at your next concert to be much more than an investment in your wardrobe or your wall. They’re bread and butter for up-and-coming and big-name musicians alike.
Support the Indies
If you’re tired of high-priced tickets and big arena sound, we recommend going to some of the city’s smaller and independently run venues. Consider the hi-dive, Mutiny Information Cafe, Streets Denver, the Mercury Cafe, Seventh Circle Music Collective, Rhinoceropolis and the Oriental Theater, for starters.
Go to Levitt Pavilion
Levitt Pavilion puts on dozens of absolutely free concerts every year in gorgeous Ruby Hill Park. The nonprofit venue doesn’t just host a slew of amazing Denver bands; it also pays them a fair rate. And with the money you save, you can put it right back into buying band merch. So what are you waiting for? (Oh, yeah...summer.) Get ready for some serious free fun.
Shop Record Stores
Wax Trax Records, Twist & Shout, Chain Reaction Records and many more record stores offer a mix of vinyl, CDs and more. Buy local, buy often, and request local bands’ albums while you’re there. Keep an eye out for special events and in-shop shows. We had the chance to see Mumford & Sons at Twist & Shout in 2019, and it proved to be one of the best concerts we saw all year.
We can’t say this enough. If you want to be going to shows for years to come, protect those eardrums! Bring ear protection wherever you go. Really!
Donate to Amazing Music Nonprofits
We love Denver bands, and we also love what many of the city’s nonprofits are doing for the local music scene. We’re particularly fond of Youth on Record’s educational programming (and employment of Denver musicians). Swallow Hill is an incredible folk-music institution. Levitt Pavilion also runs, in part, on donations. So write these good folks a check.
Check Out Music You Don’t Know
Just because you haven’t heard of something doesn’t mean it’s not good — or not relevant. We hear gripes from readers who begrudge venues for booking artists they’re unfamiliar with. Seriously? Isn’t discovering new music half the fun? And it’s also good for your brain! So if you love rock, consider an EDM show. If you only listen to bass music, head to Swallow Hill. And if bluegrass is your, er, jam, try a string quartet or opera in a bar.
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Spread the Word
If there are bands you love, share them with your friends on social media. New songs? Share them. New music video? Share it. Somebody writes about music you like? Share the story. New show? Share the details. You get the point. Make a playlist. Make a mixtape. Hang a poster. Wear a shirt. You are your favorite musician’s best publicist!
Learn an instrument. There are plenty of music schools around Denver, from turntable classes to music classes for kids through School of Rock or Girls Rock. Try something new or perfect a skill you already have. Maybe by next year, you can blast your own music outside the Denver Performing Arts Complex like crowd favorites Brothers of Brass and friends (who have found themselves in hot water for doing so).
Talk to Us
If there’s a band you love, an interesting trend or a problem in the music community — anything you think we should know — hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, we’re resolved to cover what’s going on in the music scene in the new year, and we hope you’re willing to share your favorite artists and stories as they emerge.