Sarah Slaton can't stop saying yes to Colorado music. In addition to her avid support of the scene as a fan, she performs in the band Edison, works for the Vinefield Agency as a manager and recently accepted a position as artist development director for SpokesBuzz.
We spent some time with her last weekend at the Underground Music Showcase, which is one of the busiest few days of the year for someone like Slaton.
She performs vocals, guitar and piano for Edison while Dustin Morris performs vocals, mandolin, trumpet and drums. She has recently transitioned from a solo act into the duo, and says that her UMS gig at Moe's Original BBQ was one of favorite so far. Although the location -- six blocks north of most stages -- was a challenge, "the sound was really great," she says.
Her gig was the end of her weekend, after four days of near constant motion. Thursday she was out early putting up posters for her band, the bands she manages and the events she was helping to host before catching a set from Science Partner. On Friday, Edison had a show at Lost Lake which was completely sold out. Saturday, Slaton was up and ready early setting up for the SpokesBUZZ UMS Day Party which was at the Irish Rover.
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Slaton was hired on to SpokesBUZZ earlier this month as the Artist Development Director after six years of freelance stage managing. "Being hired was a relief, because I have been spreading myself so thin. In this industry, you're overworked and under paid. I was living my life by random freelancing gigs and working as a manager in bands I fully believe in, but at this level, the revenue from those bands cannot fully sustain. It's working really hard for pennies and working really long days for short stints," she said. "This has brought a balance to my life." Slaton is also band manager with Vinefield Agency, focusing on Rob Drabkin and Sarah and the Meanies.
Slaton's highlights from the Saturday SpokesBUZZ showcase were Eldren and The Yawpers. And on Sunday, she did it all over again. The day opened with Qbala, a hip-hop artist, and ended a long five hours later with Shatterproof, a young rock band.
In between responsibilities running the showcase that day, she found time to rehearse for her own show happening that night, and run around Broadway putting up posters for her gig that evening. After hustling to Moe's to play her gig, she saw Blonde Redhead before calling it a weekend.
"From a manager perspective, UMS is such a great place to discover new acts. I'm trying to always keep my ear to the ground, you never know what you may find," Slaton says.
Now, it's back to the grindstone. SpokesBUZZ, the non-profit music incubator has dozens of events lined up over the next few months as BandSwap, their national concert-swapping event starts up. Slaton is in charge of all of the artist relations, with all bands involved. She is also managing the Denver leg of the program.
"We don't really have a break until after April with SXSW is over," she says. "And then we just keep rolling. It never really stops."
With her long history of managing bands in Colorado, SpokesBUZZ was a natural fit for Slaton.
"SpokesBUZZ has increased their visibility in Colorado and beyond exponentially, but the heart of what SpokesBUZZ is an idea that there is something greater than our individual wants," she says. "Because every band that is involved is learning that through cross collaboration and promotion, a group of like minded thinkers can rise above all of the noise."
Editor: In the interest of transparency, we'd like to tell you that the author of this piece has volunteered for SpokesBuzz.
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