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LocalPalooza Vital For Growing Music Scene

By David Goe

Dirtylektric playing a street corner at last year's SXSW. The GJ band plays tonight at Localpalooza. 


A little over a year ago, I wrote an article pleading for the formation of a local music showcase in Grand Junction. I argued a local showcase would be good business. It’s good for bands, good for venues, and most importantly, good for fans.

Since publishing that piece there has been important headway in developing a showcase for local talent. Just last May, the WestCO Music Fest blazed the trail at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens with a three-band show: The Williams Brothers Band, Pineapple Crackers and Jack+Jill.

Friday night, Sept. 20, we are on the cusp of the second all local showcase with LocalPalooza at the Mesa Theater and Lounge.

LocalPalooza takes what WestCO established one step further, featuring four bands: Zolopht and the Destroyers, Shotgun Hodown, Dirtylektric and Jack+Jill. Throw DJ Dusty Thunders and his mix of deep house and nu disco jams into the mix and you’ve got an eclectic collection of Grand Junction’s best.

On the surface LocalPalooza looks like a pretty decent show. The lineup is tried and true and each band is individually strong enough to carry its own gig. What is really exciting about this showcase, though, is what it means long term for Grand Junction’s music scene.

What I didn’t fully understand a year ago, and now realize, is events such as LocalPalooza and WestCO need to happen for the long term success and stability of our music scene.

The unfortunate truth about Grand Junction is we generally don’t care about music beyond a casual interest. We’ve seen it time and time again, when it comes to our festivals and live shows, the quality of performer and crowd attendance varies wildly and only a select few seem to care about doing anything about it.

Curing these inconsistencies and making the local music scene a dynamic part of our community is not an overnight fix but should be a priority. The quality of any local product is a reflection of the community it comes from. So I ask this question: Are you satisfied with Grand Junction’s local product? I’m not. Our indifference bothers me.

When approaching this issue, there are various factors to consider, but I think the solution and the focus of our attention should be on what we can immediately control, our own local talent.

Growing interest in our scene starts with events such as LocalPalooza. Grand Junction is very cliquey when it comes to music, and it is segmenting our interested music population to death. The genius behind a local showcase such as LocalPalooza is it brings everyone, fans, bands and DJs, together under one roof.

Fans following their favorite group to the showcase now have the opportunity to discover a different band they otherwise wouldn’t have heard. Maybe they fall in love with that band’s sound and go to shows twice a month instead of just once. Or better yet, while watching a set someone thinks, “I can do better than that,” and starts his or her own band.

Bands benefit by getting to see their peers’ live performances, stoking a competitive fire and hopefully creating some friendly competition. To some extent, all musicians are driven by ego and watching another band strike the perfect balance between showmanship and musicianship should spurn envy.

With just one event, you can create a cycle that begins to drive a healthy local music scene. The good news is we are already seeing this happen. Just look at how LocalPalooza already hasraised the bar over what WestCO started.

A healthy, vibrant local music scene needs events such as WestCO and LocalPalooza. Without our fixed attention to local music there’s no accountability, no reason for current bands to improve and, worse, no reason for new bands to form.

As with any product, the power lies with the consumer, the fans. The cycle starts Friday night with your attendance at LocalPalooza. Your attendance makes a difference. Our collective interest begins with you.


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