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Triple Plays Hosts Battle of the Bands for Record Store Day

By David Goe

The Downtown Grand Junction Farmers Market is making another major change to the way it does things.

In a positive first step, the Farmers Market is changing its approach to booking this year’s summer music lineup. For the first time, Farmers Market organizers have partnered with Triple Play Records to host a Battle of the Bands to help fill several stages planned for this year’s market.

This new event is not a “battle of the bands” in the traditional sense, rather, it’s an audition to play at the summer’s most popular local event. Top performing bands from the battle will get paid, prime gigs during the weekly event, and perhaps more importantly, get valuable face time in front of local promoters responsible for booking events such as the Art + Music Festival and local clubs such as Sabrosa and the Local.

“We are really focused on making Downtown Grand Junction a music destination on Thursday evenings,” said Robin Brown, special events coordinator for Downtown Grand Junction, in a release sent to musicians. “As a result, we have reached out to the community to find new bands and artists that might not have played Farmers Market in the past, including all the great music coming out of Colorado Mesa University.”

The Battle of the Bands will take place in front of the Mesa Theater & Club on Saturday, April 18, during Triple Play Records’ annual Record Store Day event.

Along with scoring vinyl exclusive during Record Store Day, music fans will get a peak into western Colorado’s diverse music scene.

Local bands will play from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in 15 minute slots with the goal of impressing a small panel of judges.

“We decided to host this event to highlight local talent,” said Triple Plays Records’ Matt Cesario. “We (Triple Play) have access to talent that is otherwise not seen by the public eye.”

Cesario added that this event allows younger bands a chance to be heard by a wider audience.

With limited opportunity for local musicians in the area, the Battle of the Bands has a real chance to become an anticipated annual music showcase. It also may prove to be the event that appeals to the college crowd and finally attracts that elusive demographic to downtown Grand Junction.

“We are always trying to figure out ways to get college kids downtown and we hope by showcasing CMU bands, we’ll attract more students to Farmers Market,” Brown said.

Along with appealing to wider audiences, the hope is that the Battle of the Bands will be fruitful enough to supply downtown bars and restaurants with bands on Thursday nights, further transforming Farmers Market into a music destination.

Last year, the Farmers Market made a major adjustment to the street layout, moving vendors off the curbs and organizing them in pods down the center of Main Street. With this year’s new focus on entertainment, the market will be virtually unrecognizable to the lazy street fair it was just a few years ago.

Even with all the changes, the Farmers Market still has a ways to go to become a dream gig for musicians.

The Farmers Market means different things for different people. For some it is a chance to pick through seasonal produce. For others, it is something free to do on a Thursday night.

Either way, it has never featured or elevated musicians beyond background music.

Maybe this year will be different.

If this shake up means more attention is paid to musicians, then I see it benefitting everyone involved. New bands get a chance to crack the lineup, selected bands hopefully will play to more attentive audiences, Main Street gets to reinforce its brand as the cultural destination of western Colorado, and the Farmers Market will become a more dynamic event.

Sounds like a certified fresh idea to me.