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Kalyn Heffernan Organizes Seventy-Plus Bands to Protest the DCPA

Mayoral hopeful Kalyn Heffernan is organizing seventy-plus bands to play outside the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Mayoral hopeful Kalyn Heffernan is organizing seventy-plus bands to play outside the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
David Stevens

Wheelchair Sports Camp MC and mayoral candidate Kalyn Heffernan — who launched her campaign as an April Fool's joke but has been serious in setting the agenda at debates on issues from homelessness to transportation and access — is planning one last splash as a candidate.

She's put out an open call to musicians, asking if they'd play a street-level music festival in protest at the Denver Performing Arts Complex from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 5.

Heffernan takes umbrage with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit based in the complex that receives tax dollars from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, for helping fund the opposition to Initiative 300 to the tune of $50,000. I-300, which is on the May 7 ballot, is an attempt to overturn the Denver camping ban that critics say effectively criminalizes homelessness.

She also objects to the city-run Denver Performing Arts Complex's policy of banning buskers outside of its facilities, a fight that Westword chronicled in a cover story about the struggles of the Brothers of Brass. The brass band is a favorite among many DCPA audience members but also a hobgoblin of some people living in apartments downtown, who complain about the noise.

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The DCPA declined to comment for this story.

As of this writing, 71 bands are advertised on the protest's poster; they include Wheelchair Sports Camp, Rubedo, Venus Cruz, Go Star, Church Fire, Ned Garthe Explosion and Ramakhandra.

How can dozens of musicians play Heffernan's festival in thirty minutes? It's easy: They all play their sets in unison, to the tune of pure sonic anarchy.

"We're gonna all play together at the same time at the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex in solidarity with our street musician friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness," her campaign announced. "Let's remind the city who's in charge and who this art complex belongs to."

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