We started putting on a block party a few years ago. It was a strong way to build culture in our community. Eight to ten thousand people would show up, which is crazy for a small town like Greeley. We were able to hire local bands, and people dipped in and out of the bars and shops while the bands got to play for them. But the last year we did it, it got pretty out of hand: the party ended up spilling into neighborhoods, and the police came. Fights broke out, people got tazed, and now we don’t have the block party anymore. Currently, there’s not much community building going on in town, which is a shame.
I moved to Greeley when I was eighteen to go to school. I was a voice major and ended up putting a band together with some of my other music major friends. Tin Man is what we were called. We played around, and it was fun; nowadays, you won’t find as many local bands. It’s hard, and it’s always been hard, but now there’s only a few places that will give new bands gigs. The music culture in town has been declining, just like the general communal atmosphere of Greeley.
I find local music interesting because you can talk to the person who created it. Mainstream music has a lot of great musicians, but the problem is that by the time that music reaches your ears, it’s been heavily packaged. While it’s great in the sense that each person involved in a song can take their time, go back, and perfect their part, it’s not great when the meaning of the song gets lost. When the music reaches the audience, it’s a pretty overwrought piece of art: fifty to seventy people have each had their hands on it.
Greeley can be boring, and if there’s nothing for middle schoolers and high schoolers to do with their musical talents except concert band and pep band, they never really take ownership. Places like the Moxi are great about letting new bands play there. They’ll turn the lights on for you and make you really feel like you’re doing a performance. There may not be a lot of people there, but you get the chance to hear yourself through a professional sound system instead of a speaker set up in someone’s dorm room or garage. The problem now is that people are not starting bands at the rate that local businesses would like them to be. Who cares if a band sucks or not? It’s the passion that’s important.