Longmont Music Scene
I grew up in the 90’s in a land far away from the beauty of Colorado. Grafted into the local music scene at the age of 15 or 16, I learned from punk rock and hardcore grinders what it means to grind in the place where the phrase ‘If it plays in Peoria, it will play anywhere’ was coined – Peoria, Illinois. There, venues were basements and churches and backrooms and empty warehouses, where on a given night you might find a solo acoustic act opening for five metal bands (I was that solo act once). The cover would be $5 and all the money would go to the touring bands, leaving the local acts to hope for merch sales, typically consisting of DIY cassettes or burnt copies of demos.
Fast forward to January 2018, when I found myself in charge of booking music at St. Vrain Cidery. I was largely unfamiliar with the Longmont music scene, and to be honest it confused me. Here, venues are largely established businesses like breweries and restaurants, asking musicians and artists to fill two to three hour slots of time on any given night. Here, playing live music is just as much work as it is fun. Sure, there are times that people show up for the music. But just as often the music is ancillary. In such a music scene, I was introduced to a whole new style of grinder – the professional musician.
I’m not sure the average person in Longmont truly appreciates the bevy of supremely talented musicians playing music on any given night. These are not just brilliant songwriters. They are also masters of conjuring the sounds of music you never get to hear live – especially for free. Guys like Sean Flynn, Tim Ostdiek, Bo DePena, and Andy Eppler are all masters of their trade. The ladies – Teresa Storch, Pamela Machala, and Sugarmoon Bluegrass to name a few – are killing it too. They not only write brilliantly, but they are also keen to make sure people are entertained by consistently mingling their own music with songwriters like John Prine, Simon & Garfunkel, Hank Williams, Nathaniel Rateliff, or even TuPac. The amount of work that goes into any Thursday night set is immeasurable.
You never know what you will find when you walk through our doors on a Thursday night or Sunday afternoon. We have witnessed a two-hour set of originals from teenage songbird Neva Sweeney (accompanied by Bonnie Sims of Bonnie and the Clydes), the funky soul stylings of 500 Year Flood, the punk-inspired anthems of Harmony & Brad, and a good old-fashioned bluegrass celebration with Chandler Holt of Chatham County Line.
We celebrate this gift of live music every week at St. Vrain Cidery. Over the past 8 months in particular, I think we have curated a special small piece of the Longmont music scene. If you happen to be here to witness this gift, stay awhile, and stuff some dollars in their tip jars. Whether it’s your type of music or not, I’m sure most of us couldn’t imagine a world without live music. I for one am proud that I get to play a part in bringing that gift to you.
To keep up to date on what’s happening at St. Vrain Cidery, follow us on Facebook (@stvraincidery) or text ‘CIDER’ to 66866.