If you follow me on Feasting Fort Collins, then you’ve been in the loop on the brand new Experience Fort Collins podcast that I launched this month. This podcast highlights what people are doing in our community to make Fort Collins an interesting place to live, as well as sharing what people consider the best and worst parts about living in our city, and what someone might consider a bucket list experience right here in our own community.
In episode 3 of the Experience Fort Collins podcast, I talk with Jahna Eichel from Higher Ground Rehearsal Studio. We chat about the studio and how it came to be, and the business side of being an artist in Fort Collins. These are the basic show notes of what we talked about, but I certainly encourage you to give the episode a full listen to catch all of the details of our discussion.
I met up with Jahna at The Barrel House at Jessup Farm. Since we’re on location with a bit of background music, the sound quality is a little wonky! But it’s still a great conversation.
Jahna and her husband Jason moved to Fort Collins from New York City after investigating the entertainment scene in our community. It looked promising, but to them, perception didn’t meet reality. Jason wanted to find people to jam out with, but there wasn’t a proper place for them to rehearse. After not finding what they were looking for, they decided to build Higher Ground Rehearsal Studio.
It took them a year to get the studio together, after convincing banks to give them the business loan, and help direct construction crews to meet the acoustic needs.
2 years ago they expanded into artist management after hearing from musicians who felt like they were getting ripped off in Fort Collins.
Jahan and I have known each other for a few years through various networking groups in Fort Collins. We got connected through the event planning for the Household Collective Launch Party after she and my husband Bill had some interesting conversations.
Jahna goes into the details of hosting underground warehouse parties at the studio.
Fort Collins has a proposed bill that will most likely get passed when it comes to event planning outside of dedicated venues. Regulations are going to be more stringent on private properties. Jahan is going to go over that information and guidelines at her Balanced Breakfast event in April.
We go into a deep discussion about artists and creatives in Fort Collins getting paid for their work in this city – or really – how they don’t get paid. She’s able to share the perceptions from both the venue and artist side of the coin.
She understands how artists are supposed to ticket hustle to earn their space in large venues. She goes into how important it is for artists to be on top of their marketing to assist in ticket sales.
On the flip side, she goes into how ticket sales for shows at bars and restaurants ends up hurting culture in Fort Collins.
She goes into how art and music comes from suffering, but she believes an element of “places you can get stabbed” when it comes to grungy places that germinate creativity and cultivate motivation for artists to hustle tickets.
Venues who are pulling national artists are the ones who should be telling local artists to hustle tickets. All of the other venues (bars and restaurants, etc) should not be.
She also feels it’s important that the community should be investing in our local economy and paying for shows. Fort Collins tends to support non-profits before people.
She also suggests artists busk in Fort Collins to help increase their value and exposure.
She feels artists should base the value of their time and effort off of these three things: exposure, payment/financials, and emotional fulfilment. If a gig meets two out of the three things, then you should do a gig.
She believes that there should be expenses and overhead, and that it’s OK for artists to take a loss, comparing it to business plans like breweries and other businesses who put out money to make money.
She thinks Fort Collins would benefit from an open Entertainment policy where people can wander around Old Town and wander in and out of non-traditional venues (bars and restaurants) without paying ticket fees, and the venues would pay artists a guarantee.
For the best part of living in Fort Collins – she believes it’s the opportunity available to people to build something they want.
The worst part of living in Fort Collins – the value of things hasn’t been set yet. Or that there are unrealistic value expectations.
A bucket list experience would have to involve beer – go beer crazy. Find music that you’ve never experienced before, and talk to business owners in Fort Collins too. “Experience Fort Collins like you’re going to get stabbed.”