RANGELY I Rangely is one of 15 communities throughout the state that will host Colorado Creative Industries’ (CCI) Detour, a new pilot program that engages audiences directly with touring bands and musicians.
Rather than the more traditional approach of music production and consumption, the project makes touring a “community-based, sustainable and creatively rewarding practice,” says a news release about the program.
Detour launched Sept. 2 in Pueblo and features Denver hip-hop band Flobots. In 2007, the band founded Flobots.org, now Youth On Record, an organization dedicated to empowering young people through creative education.
Three full-length albums, along with their 2005 platinum hit single “Handlebars,” launched Flobots to U.S. and European tours and appearances on late-night TV programs such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Their passion, however, is using shared group song as a means for social change and “looking for ways to use music to build a better world,” says the group’s website.
Rangely currently has three free Detour events scheduled, starting with “Musical Messages: A Song-Sharing Workshop” on Monday at 7 p.m. at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Johnson Multipurpose Room; then Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Rangely Christian Church, the group will host a “Songs of Praise and Worship” session with church and community members; after that, residents can join Flobots at Rangely’s Tank for a community jam session at 8 p.m.
CCI’s Jesse Elliot learned of Rangely via Friends of the Tank’s Lois LaFond and Bruce Odland. The trio believed that Detour’s vibe intersected with the Tank’s mission to engage the arts in the local community.
“Rangely and The Tank were such a natural fit for Detour because, like the tour, they have a different take on sound and music,” Elliott said. “They’re reminding us where music comes from originally – that before it was a commodity and a celebrity culture, it was all about the community.”
“Playing big festival shows is always a thrill, but there’s something truly special about the intimacy of a small venue,” said Jonny 5, a lead vocalist with Flobots. “It’s even more special if you can find ways to meet people beforehand, to know the stories behind the faces and then watch those faces react to the show. That is the ultimate gift.”
That’s why many Detour musicians will stay with local residents rather than in hotels. The experience is intended to be relational and community-oriented inside and outside of sessions.
“Flobots have this amazing way of engaging people, through really very simple exercises that get them to remember the music they love, and actually sing it,” Elliott said. “It’s always been inspiring to me to see a room full of people start out saying ‘I don’t sing’ or ‘I can’t sing,’ and by the time Flobots work their community magic, the entire room, even strangers, are singing and laughing and sharing together.”
Musicians who wanted a more community-oriented touring experience helped bring the Detour program to fruition, said Margaret Hunt, executive director of CCI, a state organization that helps support Colorado’s creative economy.
“When we looked at all the incredible venues we have across the state, we realized that a band could spend three weeks or a month touring in Colorado and really get to know people, get to know communities,” Hunt said.
CCI has contributed $11,000 to the Detour pilot program and works alongside several corporate partners, among them Denver Arts & Venues, History Colorado and Altitude Digital.
Most events, including those in Rangely, are free.
To learn more or get involved, contact community liaison Beth Wiley at 970-274-1239.