On June 29, we'll present our 25th Westword Music Showcase. The event has grown dramatically since it was founded in 1995 with just a handful of bands playing around LoDo. In 2019, more than 75 local acts will fill venues throughout the Golden Triangle, while national headliners CHVRCHES, Jai Wolf, JAUZ, Bishop Briggs, Crooked Colours, lovelytheband, the Knocks, the Wrecks and SHAED will play the two main stages.
Many of the artists who have participated in the Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed in and left music altogether.
Julie Davis has been an icon in the Denver music scene since the mid-2000s, writing and singing songs and pushing the limits of her upright bass. She's collaborated with such musicians as Nathaniel Rateliff, Gregory Alan Isakov, Ian Cooke and many more, but she's really made her mark as an artist in acts like Bela Karoli and Bluebook, her current project with Jess Parsons, which just released the phenomenal album The Astronaut's Wife and is set to release a music video on March 29 at ReCreative Denver. Many of Davis's projects have played the Westword Music Showcase over the years. Here's what she has to say about the festival and Denver's music scene:
Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing Westword Music Showcase?
Julie Davis: I remember rolling into Denver, fresh from a West Coast tour with Gregory Alan Isakov and heading right for our set in the Westword Music Showcase. It was probably 2006, and for me, everything felt fresh and exciting. I was so proud and happy to be playing music in my home town. For the Showcase, I always enjoyed playing in the Curious Theatre, the bands spilling out into the gravel parking lot, vans pulling in and out. One year we played in the theater with members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and it was very exciting.
How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?
My band has changed names and personnel in the many years since I started playing the Westword Music Showcase. Since my first Showcase, I have played with all sorts of beats, including a recorded track, a drummer and a percussion loop. I have been honored to play with so many wonderful musicians over the years. I am excited about the visual aspects of performance that my current band is playing around with.
Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?
I came of age in the Denver music scene and still count many of those I met and collaborated with as my closest friends. When I started playing in Denver, the scene was very collaborative. It was a small community, and many musicians played together in different bands. It seems like there is so much more diversity in the local scene and a bigger audience for local music than ever before in Denver. I don't play out as much as I used to, but I hope the scene still has some of that sense of community that I found there many years ago.
The 25th Westword Music Showcase will sound off in the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 29. Get tickets and more details at westwordshowcase.com.