iAM Music: A Music Ecosystem
By Billy Grimes
Dust off your lawn chairs and clean out your coolers because festival season in Southwest Colorado has begun and Durango’s own iAM MUSIC Fest! has a lineup suited for almost every musical taste. The 2022 Summer Concert Series that launched this May and spans six months has become one of Colorado’s largest independent music gatherings. With shows in Durango, Mancos, and Silverton, the festival will host great music all through the summer.
The idea started in 2015 with the inaugural iAM MUSIC Fest! launched with the aim of uniting and showcasing hardworking independent musicians, artists, dancers, comedians, poets, circus performers, and local businesses. This ambitious effort continued until 2018 as a multi-stage event in downtown Durango. A big boost came in 2017, when iAM MUSIC was elected to host the Colorado Music Summit, an educational networking opportunity for statewide musicians in collaboration with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, among other sponsors. Starting in 2018, the fest morphed into a summer concert series, continuing into 2019, and a COVID-19-friendly 2021 event.
In 2022, iAM MUSIC Fest! will continue to expand; with concerts at outdoor Durango locations every third Saturday, June through October (June 18, July 16, August 21, September 17, October 15) as well as Mancos Fest (featuring eight bands July 1-2) and Silverton Fest (featuring 20 bands August 26-27). This year’s lineup includes heavyweight acts such as the 16-member Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and the alt-soul group Ghost Tapes from Denver, plus local bands as well.
The most unique thing about the festival is that the funds raised are channeled back to benefit iAM MUSIC’s efforts to provide music education and access to music in the Four Corners region. The long-term vision is to make the iAM MUSIC Institute and iAm MUSIC Fest! sustainable businesses and to pay performing artists what they are worth. The festival founders, Jesse Ogle and Ashely Edwards, strongly believe in social activism through creative expression.
Proceeds from the festival will also be directed to fund outreach programs at local schools where students wouldn’t otherwise have any exposure to music education, including Animas High School, Big Picture High School, and The Liberty School.
Ogle and Edwards met while playing in the band, Hello Dollface. After many successful years, they eventually got tired of touring and in 2011, after noticing a lack of connection and support for local musicians, formed music-management company, Independent Artist Management (the origin of iAM). The name has become an affirmation of the organization’s deepest goals and principles which are: to pursue innovative ways to empower and encourage mutual support among musicians of every level, while cultivating originality, and creating opportunities and space for collaboration.
The iAM MUSIC Fest! Is a 501c3 nonprofit founded by artists for artists and the 2022 concert series will feature more than 200 independent musicians, student performances, dance, and live art with the goal of improving Southwest Colorado’s music scene while showing what a robust cultural destination we are. Be prepared to fill your summer calendars with outdoor concerts and remember to bring the sunscreen.
For more festival information and a full list of performers, visit: iammusicfest.us
Indigo Room Sidebar
One of Durango’s newer performance venues is the Indigo Room located inside the iAM MUSIC headquarters at 1315 N. Main Avenue #207. Though not a site for the iAM MUSIC Fest!, this 40-seat space is a more intimate setting with a high-quality sound system to enjoy bands year-round from all over the country. If you’re a musician and want to try out a new song in front of a friendly, open-minded audience, in a low-key environment, the Indigo Room hosts several songwriter nights throughout the year. Musicians can also record music and make a video to accompany it, with in-house sound engineers and videographers. Check out the schedule of concerts here: www.iammusic.us/indigo-room