The Mishawaka Amphitheatre, one of Colorado's oldest music venues, announced last week that Z2 Entertainment, which operates the Boulder and Fox theaters, will take over booking duties starting with the 2015 season."We're really excited, because Z2 can bring the shows the Mish is used to, like the jam bands and Americana, but they can also bring different genres, like country and indie, which we are trying to get more of this summer," says Mishawaka assistant general manager Alana Rolfe. "We are looking to diversify our show calendar."
See also: The Rescue of the Mishawaka
Seventeen miles up the Poudre Canyon from Fort Collins, the Mish is far enough away from the Boulder venues that touring artists could easily play in both cities. Rolfe hopes the partnership with Z2 will help bring in some bands that might otherwise skip northern Colorado entirely. "If there is something big coming through the Boulder Theater or the Fox, there's a better chance that they can come up and play at the Mishawaka," Rolfe says. "We're excited to get some new names up the canyon this summer."
One of the challenges facing the new booking company will be explaining to the bands what to expect at the venue. There's no cell-phone service, so planning concerts requires unusually detailed communication ahead of time. "It's a whole different ballgame up there," says Rolfe. "Bands normally leave feeling like it was a good break, but they definitely need to be aware before coming up."
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Z2 talent buyers Chris Peck and David Weingarden will be handling the calendar at the Mish, and they bring plenty of experience to the task. Weingarden used to work for Swallow Hill Music, where he helped put together concerts at the Denver Botanic Gardens. He's been attending shows at the Mish since Dani Grant took over the venue as owner and general manager in 2009. Peck is new to the area, but he comes from Tennessee's AC Entertainment, where he booked artists for events as large as the Bonnaroo Music Festival. "Both Dave and Chris understand what a special venue the Mish is," says Grant. "They're uniquely qualified to craft the kind of memorable, magical concert experiences our audiences have come to expect."
Grant and Rolfe hope the agreement with Z2 will bring stability to the Mish's programming. The venue has worked with roughly half a dozen talent buyers since longtime booking manager Roger Menell left to work at Swallow Hill in late 2013. With the process now streamlined, work has already begun on this year's lineup, and a full schedule for the 2015 summer season should be released in April.
"Not that last year there weren't prospects, but we had a little bit of a slow start," says Grant. "I'm excited for this season, because our calendar is already looking great. We're trying to make the beginning of the summer really action-packed. We will sure start the year out with a bang."
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