As the director of CU Boulder’s Program Council
, a student-run music and entertainment organization, Amy Karp had planned a lot of concerts, including the university's annual Welcomefest
, a free show that showcases national acts for about 10,000 students.
“I’ve loved live music all my life,” says Karp, who served on the program council during her four years at CU Boulder. “I always found so much joy in those spaces.”
Karp was a regular on the music scene, attending shows every week with her friends. But she started to notice a lot of her peers struggling with social inclusion.
“I realized that a lot of people, especially females and queer folk, got left out of the traditional concert-going experience because they didn’t feel welcomed or comfortable in some of those spaces,” says Karp. “Also, during some of the larger-scale concerts, like a couple of the Welcomefests that I helped plan, there were always a handful of sexual-assault allegations reported by people being groped or touched inappropriately.”
Karp was frustrated, and felt that there wasn’t a safe space to accommodate those who want to enjoy a fun night out with live music. She also recalls that many local musicians who wanted to play campus events were unable to land shows through the Program Council. The issues made Karp realize that she didn’t want to work for a mainstream promoter after college.
The collective created a set of norms/codes of conduct to ensure safety and inclusivity at their events.
Instead, she, along with friend and fellow CU Boulder student Ileana Rivera, who served as the marketing director for the Program Council, decided to co-found Text Me When You’re Home
. The collective hosts safe pop-up music and art events that are open to all, regardless of race, color, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“It was really important to Ileana and I to uplift and unite our community,” says Karp, who graduated last spring.
An apropos name for their company, "Text me when you’re home" is a phrase that Karp, Rivera and their friends would always tell each other when leaving a party. “We wanted a name that spoke to caring for one another as well as signified that we’re all looking out for each other,” Karp explains.
The organization's mission is based on two principles: to plan exciting events that are safe and inclusive for attendees; and to support, promote and give equitable opportunities to underrepresented musicians and artists in the community.
On July 17, 2021, TMWYH launched its first pop-up music and art fest in Karp’s backyard in Boulder. The free seven-hour event brought around 250 attendees who soaked up the sun, live music from DJs, rappers and indie acts, and visited or purchased items from different art vendors selling pottery, artwork, recycled clothing and more.
A week prior to the event, to ensure inclusivity, the collective created a set of norms
, or codes of conduct, that it posted on its socials. The first norm on the list states: "There is no place for racism, anti-indigeneity, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, fatphobia or any other form of hateful and oppressive behavior."
Since the collective’s first event, it has hosted several more, including the recent Text Me When You’re Home x Larimer Lounge Music and Art Fest in January, which Karp says was a big success.
But one of the challenges of putting on events, she notes, is finding venues that will rent their space at a reasonable price.
The desire to create music and art fests on a more regular basis led the collective to getting its own storefront — a gallery/performance space called Universe
at 1869 South Broadway in Denver.
Owned and operated by Text Me When You’re Home, Universe was founded upon the principle of safety and inclusivity for women, queer people and BIPOC individuals.
Text Me When You're Home has a permanent home for its music and art events.
To commemorate its permanent location, Text Me When You’re Home is hosting a grand opening on Saturday, February 19, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Universe
, which will offer entertainment, live music, food and community. Tickets
are free for the all-ages event.
For newcomers who haven’t experienced a Text Me When You’re Home music and art fest before, Karp says you can expect performances from a variety of eclectic local acts, including Mellowpunk (chill punk), Waiting Room (indie rock), Pink Lady Monster (indie pop), Jevion Ice (R&B), Puxle Theory (folk), Noel Sterling Jr. (singer-songwriter) and DJ LMNOP (experimental house). Live music will go from 1 to 8 p.m.
Additionally, there will be numerous local art vendors
at the opening, including Savannah Hope (paintings, clay jewelry, bolo ties, earrings); Hott Pink Matter (upcycled clothing); Taylor Made (jewelry made of metal, clay, dehydrated fruit/dried flowers and resin), Killey Kat Mats
(textiles and rugs), Vern's Vinyls
(floral collages on vinyl records), A to Z Ceramics, paintings by Kat Yeneza, Destruya
(apparel and decor), and B Side
by Hannah Rome, original handpainted work printed directly onto recycled vinyl records.
Rome, who is also the outreach coordinator for Universe, will have her artwork of David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Frank Ocean, Bruce Springsteen and Billie Eilish for sale on Saturday.
There will also be a community painting on one of the walls, professional air brush artists doing custom merchandise and a photo booth with a professional photographer.
Karp says Universe is now open Wednesday through Sunday and offers art, jewelry, clothing by local vendors, live music, art, coffee and more. Plans are also in the works for workshops and art classes, such as a class on the art of comics and cartooning, which Rome will instruct.
“The point of interest to further expand Text Me When You’re Home is we hope that by having a permanent storefront, people will get to know us better and recognize we’re a valuable resource to the community,” Karp concludes.
Universe grand opening, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, February 19, 1869 South Broadway. Admission is free for the all-ages event. Register on Eventbrite to be eligible to win $150 worth of art from local artists.