SpokesBUZZ Bandswap

by Mary Willson

Fort Collins, Colorado; Chico, California; Portland, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; Lafayette, Louisiana; Ashville, North Carolina; and Madison, Wisconsin range thousands of miles and many accents apart but have one rockin’ thing in common: they are all part of SpokesBUZZ BandSwap.

In its second year, the non-profit music incubator, SpokesBUZZ is heading up the national project BandSwap that is gaining speed and legitimacy across the nation.
The concept of BandSwap is a simple one. Seven bands from Fort Collins and Denver with a good-sized local audience are paired with similar artists from other cities with a similar fan base in their own local music scene.
“Getting members of each community, from venue owners to local governments and arts officals, to work on staging events that expose out-of-town artist to a built-in, welcoming fan base is a radical concept,” as quoted from the BandSwap website at spokesbuzz.org/bandswap.
The artist and band partnerships then play gigs together, doubling the audience scope. All seven cities have a performance with the pair, a Fort Collins or Denver band with the outgoing city band, and an opener. All cities also have a Starving Artist Network Party, which is a network session that invites press, musicians, music industry folks to one place for collaboration.
“The philosophy of BandSwap is an effort to break down linear touring models and to change the way people look at artist development and economic development for touring,” Dani Grant, Director and Founder of SpokesBUZZ said. “Each city has this national focus of bringing together communities, artist, and industry people. The whole thing about SpokesBUZZ is growing success from the ground up.”
The idea of BandSwap came from a simple problem that all artists face, “bands saying ‘we have a problem that we need a solution to. How do we get fans at our shows in different cities?’”
In an era when social media, digital downloads and do-it-yourself musical opportunities are in the forefront of music production, SpokesBUZZ has noticed a challenge in the industry, that seems to cause a plateau in many artists musical careers.
There is a huge gap between when an artist is just getting started, and when they are established enough to get a manager or publicist. Grant calls this “the big vacuum” because “agents and managers won’t take an artist until they can draw 100 people in five cities, or whatever, and an artist can’t get 100 people to out of town shows without agents and managers.”
“So were trying to fill that gap by bringing in the community who have a stake in it, Grant said. If they grow the arts and culture scene, they grow the local economy. It’s a win for them, a win for artist, and a win for the industry.”
SpokesBUZZ has nicknamed this circle of benefits as “organized reprcicorities,” because “everyone wins, and feels validated. They got what they put in.”
The outgoing band concerts are happening through the end of September, and the local Fort Collins and Denver gigs will take place the first weekend of October accompanied by the partnering bands from the other cities.
For a nationally-cultured weekend full of amazing music, new friendships and a great community, the second annual BandSwap weekend is full of nine events and shows, and a whole lot of fun.
The BandSwap lineup can be found online at SpokesBUZZ.org/BandSwap.
Friday, October 4th
• Starving Artist Networking Party
• WHAT: Meet, Greet & Eat: community, music industry and media mixer
• WHERE: Bizarre Bazaar, 254 Linden St.
• TIME: 4PM – 6PM
• PLUS: Featuring a performance from Justin Roth
• PRICE: no admission charge
Friday, October 4th
• First Friday BandSwap Celebration
• WHAT: Live Music featuring Better Than Bacon
• WHERE: Downtown Artery, 252 Linden St.
• TIME: 6PM – 8PM
• PRICE: free and open to the public
Friday, October 4th
• The Yawpers (Denver) with The Enlightened Rogues (Asheville NC) and Post Paradise
• WHAT: Asheville NC Swap Show
• WHERE: CSU Lory Student Center Theatre, CSU Campus
• PRICE: $10
Saturday, October 5th
• Constitution (Fort Collins) with The Cumberland Collective (Nashville TN)
• WHAT: Nashville TN Swap Show
• WHERE: Old Town Square, Downtown, Fort Collins
• PRICE: Free!
Saturday, October 5th (IN FORT COLLINS)
• The Epilogues (Denver), The Echo Chamber (Fort Collins), Sexy Ester (Madison) and Common Anomaly (Fort Collins)
• WHAT: Denver & Madison WI Swap Shows
• WHERE: Hodi’s Half Note, 167 N College Ave● TIME: 8PM
• PRICE: $10
Sunday, October 6th
• Lindsey O’Brien Band (Fort Collins) with Big Mo and the Full Moon Band (Chico CA)
• WHAT: Chico CA Swap Show
• WHERE: Avogadro’s Number, 605 S Mason St.
• PRICE: $10

Support Northern Colorado Journalism

Show your support for North Forty News by helping us produce more content. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring more content to you.

BONUS - Donors get a link in their receipt to sign up for our once-per-week instant text messaging alert. Get your e-copy of North Forty News the moment it is released!

Click to Donate