Tim Van Schmidt
OK, so the Bohemian Light Music Festival, scheduled to bring dozens of Colorado bands to four stages in downtown Fort Collins on August 14-15, was canceled due to the CO-VID Delta variant. The “Light” festival was a scaled-back version of Bohemian Nights, the big festival that has run in tandem with NewWestFest in years past and was canceled in 2020 because of virus concerns.
The main mandate of both of these festivals has been to hire, promote and showcase Colorado musicians of all kinds in a top-notch professional environment. The Bohemian Light line-up, while shaved back from the usual three days of non-stop music, had an impressive roster of hand-picked Colorado talent.
So let’s not let all that effort go to waste. I did my own “Bohemian Sites Festival”. I took the roster of the Bohemian Light Festival, went to a bunch of the artists’ sites — figuring if Bohemian was hiring them, they must have something good going for themselves — and have come back very impressed with what I found.
Here are some of my top picks — musicians I particularly want to see play live — from the Bohemian Light schedule that didn’t happen:
Neoma – “An Ecuadorian singer based in Denver …has captivated music lovers all over the world with her dreamy yet energetic “Lunar Pop” hits.”
Del Shamen – A Colorado super-group featuring John Magnie and Steve Amedee of The Subdudes, Jock Bartley of Firefall, Eric Thorin of 30db, and Nick Forster of eTown and Hot Rize.
ZEMBU – “…an indie-pop electronic producer and artist based out of Colorado…combines ethereal, warm production with layers of soulful vocals and reflective lyricism centered around the intersection of her identities, mental health, and social issues.”
The Milk Blossoms – “Combining ukulele, expressive beatboxing, and piano, the trio blends to create experimental pop music…”
Sheela Bringi – “Indian American musician Sheela Bringi has been exploring the connections between her ancestral and actual homelands her entire life…plays the harp, harmonium, and bansuri (Indian classical bamboo flute).”
Katana Da Don – “…I make music of different genres – Rap, Rock and R&B. I also make beats. I don’t believe in artistic boundaries.”
Also on my list: Los Mocochetes – “Protest music (that you can dance to)”; Wes Watkins – trumpet; Khemmis – doom metal; ETHNO – electronic world music by Jeff Ranca of Thievery Corporation.
Of course, that’s not all the festival was trying to bring together in terms of Colorado music — by far. Let’s just list the rest:
Adiel Mitchell, Bevin Luna, Boss Eagle, Cary Morin & Ghost Dog, Companion, Dafna, DubSkin, Esmé Patterson, Ezra Burns, Graham Good & The Painters, Heavy Diamond Ring, Holdfast., Hunter Burnette, I Am The Owl, Inaiah Lujan, Judge Roughneck, Julia Kirkwood, Kiltro, Kyle Emerson, MAIA (DJ), Mike Wird, Miranda Fling, OKO TYGRA, People in General, Pink Hawks, The Reminders, Rhythm of Tabla, Robert Shredford, Rolos Rios, Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose and Emma Rose, Shovels & Rope, The Sickly Hecks, Stelth Ulvang, The Still Tide, Teddie Collinz, TwoScoops (DJ), The Velveteers, Wildermiss.
Losing another Bohemian festival stings not only for the lost entertainment value to the community but also for the exposure our Colorado musicians need to survive.
Check out the above musicians. Have your own online music festival. Support Colorado music. Thanks to Bohemian Nights/Light for trying again but it’s really up to us to keep that flag flying.
Along with supporting Colorado musicians, I’d also like to put in a plug for regional venues — without them, many local bands wouldn’t even exist.
Additionally, places like The Aggie Theatre, for instance, feature not only regional acts but also touring bands of all kinds. They keep fresh stuff coming through on a regular basis, which is nothing but good for the local music scene.
That would include shows by innovative artists such as That 1 Guy and his “Magic Pipe” coming to the Aggie on September 7. Also coming to the Aggie: Slow Caves on August 29, Lost Dog Street Band on September 8, Circles Around the Sun on September 15, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones on September 16.
Other choice area dates: WoolEye at Avogadro’s Number on August 28, Lois and the Lantern at Swing Station in Laporte on September 5, Carrie Newcomer at The Armory on September 10, and Jeff Finlin at The Magic Rat on September 11.
At Mishawaka in the Poudre Canyon: Keller Williams on September 10, Steep Canyon Rangers on September 16, and Samantha Fish on September 23.
Of course, we don’t know where things are going, so, obviously, schedules are subject to immediate change. I mean, look at it — Bohemian Light was canceled. The 2021 Tour de Fat, set for August 28, has also been canceled. We’re in uncharted territory — again — for sure.
So the best way to support Colorado music and NOCO venues — besides actually going out to a show — is to just stay in touch. Check the websites and keep on believing that music — live or otherwise — matters.
Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins. Explore his channel on YouTube at “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt.”