Profiles

Interview: Governor Hickenlooper on why (and how) he wants to support Colorado music

Colorado Governor John Hicknlooper has long been invested in the culture of the state. As Denver's Mayor, Hickenlooper was a common sight at things like art gallery openings and concerts, and his roots in the community include co-founding Wynkoop Brewing Company in LoDo.

He has spent the past three and a quarter years as governor, which is both his most visible role to date and also the one that has him representing the broadest population. When Mayor Hickenlooper spoke effusively about local bands and their importance to the city, he was likely to meet with the approval of the majority of his constituents. Governor Hickenlooper must address the concerns of a much wider group, one that includes plenty of people who would rather there was no overlap between rock 'n' roll and their elected officials.

Yet Hickenlooper continues to stand behind things like The Fray and Red Rocks as integral parts of Colorado's identity. He has gone so far in recent years as to repeatedly claim that Denver has more live music venues than Austin or Nashville. The statistic raised our eyebrows, both because it seemed surprising and because it's not something every governor would go out of his way to talk about. So we asked him to tell us the origin of that figure, how he sees his role in supporting the arts and to describe a few of his favorite Colorado concerts.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky