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Since playing the Westword Music Showcase, the Motet has become a nationally acclaimed band.
Since playing the Westword Music Showcase, the Motet has become a nationally acclaimed band.
Shervin Lainez

Celebrating 25 Years of the Westword Music Showcase: The Motet

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 seventy 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 Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed it in and left music altogether.

The Motet was founded shortly after the Westword Music Showcase. The soulful funk band soon started playing the festival and has since risen to become one of the Denver area's favorite acts to make it on the national stage. With an aggressive touring schedule, consistent output and a joyful live show, the Motet models how to achieve musical success and longevity. We caught up with drummer Dave Watts to hear his memories of the Westword Music Showcase and to get his thoughts on the Denver scene.

Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing the Westword Music Showcase?

Dave Watts: The Westword Music Showcase has always been a great way for local Front Range acts to get a boost in their exposure to Denver audiences. We were extremely excited and appreciative of being able to be a part of it more than ten years ago.

How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?

We've become much more of a national act since playing the Showcase, having put out five albums since that time. Our lineup has solidified since that time, as well.

Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?

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When I moved to Colorado in 1995, Denver didn't have a lot to offer to a musician such as myself. There were very few venues, and the audience for funk and jam music was really concentrated in Boulder. Since around 2005, the Denver scene has exploded. There are many amazing venues around town where you can find supportive audiences any night of the week. Not only has there been a huge influx of musicians moving to Denver from around the country, but there's been a major growth in the music industry, as well.

The 25th Westword Music Showcase will sound off in the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 29. Find out more about who's playing, vote for your favorite acts on the Westword Music Awards ballot, and buy tickets at westwordshowcase.com.

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