Flobots MC and Youth on Record co-founder and director of special programs Stephen Brackett says that over the past few months, the staff members at the nonprofit have been brainstorming ways to reconnect musicians with the public.
Then Rocky Mountain Communities, a nonprofit that has been investing in resident-focused affordable housing and services in Colorado, reached out to Youth on Record about doing a concert at Arroyo Village, a 130-unit north Denver affordable-housing community designed to help reduce and prevent homelessness while providing affordable-housing options in Denver.
Both of the nonprofits will host Village Fest from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, July 10, with Flobots, the hip-hop act which Brackett co-founded, and hip-hop duo the Reminders. The concert is a private event for residents of Arroyo Village, most of whom will be able to see the concert from their apartments, while a few families who put their names in a lottery will experience the concert from the building’s courtyard.
Before Rocky Mountain Communities reached out to Youth on Record, Brackett says, the affordable housing organization had been trying to work with individual musicians, but plans kept falling through.
“They reached out to us, and we see why that happened,” Brackett says. “Most musicians are not set up to run their own shows in a time of quarantine and to be able to have the infrastructure in place to adhere to city and state health standards that are changing on a weekly basis. It’s not the limitations of musicians; it's just like you actually need an organization to help connect the dots for you.”
Brackett notes that the music industry is profit-driven, and the promoters who usually run shows have largely gone dark, since making money isn't much of an option right now.
“So it's the medium that kind of determines the message in some ways,” he says. “Right now, that's interrupted. That whole pathway is interrupted. Well, people can't go to see things like they would in the past. We can't have people touring. So what can we do? And there's actually a whole bunch of opportunities to be able to reach people who actually, due to economics and other things, probably wouldn't be able to go to the show in the first place. With that disruption, it shows that there's a lot of different opportunities to reach out to folks that would have been obscured by the noise of society as it normally functions.”
Brackett also sees Village Fest as a way to test the waters for doing similar shows in the future and using the connections that Youth on Record has to make events like this a regular thing throughout the city and state. He imagines block parties with mobile stages where people could watch from their homes, yards or sidewalks.
“How do we do this for other living situations, other apartments, all these things?” he says, “If we start figuring this out, I think there's a very beautiful way of making all of us visible.”
Check out the concert online from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 10, on the Rocky Mountain Communities Facebook Page.