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A Non-Hipster’s Guide to the iAM Music Festival

A Non-Hipster’s Guide to the iAM Music Festival

Can I get some culture up in here? A resounding YES MA'AM, says local nonprofit, iAM Music. The founding members of iAM Music (also of Hello Dollface fame) aren't content to just bring their heart-quenching soul to the dusty Four Corners. They've rounded up 160 artists and musicians from around Colorado to coalesce in Durango for the 3rd Annual iAM Music Fest September 21 through September 24.

"We wanted to bring a party to town through arts and culture, rather than drinking and debauchery," laughs Jesse Ogle, founder of the iAM Music Fest (mind you, he wasn't taking a stab at any beloved event that rhymes with SlowDown).

This independent arts and music festival is so much more than good vibes and skinny jeans. It's an experience that we'd normally have to drive to Santa Fe or Denver for, replete with mimes, aerial arts, comedy, busking, robotics, poetry and a silent disco (more on that later). With tickets ranging from $25 to $35 for the entire weekend, there's no reason for you to miss something as colorful, weird and uplifting as this.

We know indie things can be hard to navigate if you're not a millennial, so here's a little cheat sheet of things to know for this artistic and musical soiree that's sure to enlighten and inspire.

What style(s) of music can I expect to experience at the Fest?

Bossa Nova Funk Folk, Conscious Reggae, Delirious Roots, Americana, Experimental Warehouse Folk, Gypsy Punk, World Loops, Afro Fusion, Sultry Alt-Americana, Gipsy Folk, Synth Rock, Future Soul + Lo-Fi R&B, Electronic Funk-Hop, American Rock-Reggae and Modern Funk with Vintage Roots, to name a few.

Who are the six headliners?

The iAM Music Fest is proud to present three bands from the Front Range, with Afro-fusion inspired Paa Kow, Euforquestra ("modern funk with vintage roots") and folk bluegrass band, Gipsy Moon. The other three headliners come from a little closer to home, with Telluride-based, Niceness, Chimney Choir ("experimental warehouse folk") and of course Hello Dollface.

When does the event kick-off?

On Thursday, September 21, at 5:00 p.m. at the Rochester Secret Garden. Hosted with Mountain Medicine, the welcome event opens with Farmington Hill before easing into an International Day of Peace Gathering that includes a drum call for peace, fire dance ceremony and kirtan chanting. Later, meet the founders of iAM Music at Durango Coffee Company at 8:30 p.m. during the Vibe Lounge.

Where are all of the official live music showcases on Friday and Saturday evening from 7:00 p.m. till 1:00 a.m.?

The Durango Arts Center, Henry Strater Theatre and Animas City Theatre are all hosting art and music festivities. Your weekend pass gets you into any or all of these, or purchase a single event entry for $15 at the door.

What if I miss the Samba Galactica Mime Parade on Friday, September 22, at 7:00 p.m.?

No worries! Catch the mimes again at the same starting time and place (Grassburger) on Saturday, September 23.

What's the Colorado Music Summit?

This networking event within the iAM Music Fest is designed to bring independent Colorado musicians and Colorado music experts together. Jam spaces, panel discussions and song sharing opportunities will take place throughout the weekend, bookended by an artist welcome party and farewell networking brunch. Ogle explained that he has budding musicians contact him all the time, offering to buy him a cup of coffee if he'll help them learn how to book a tour. While he'd love to have coffee with everyone, the Summit is a better, cheaper option for anyone who's ever wondered what it takes to produce a festival or music video (the Summit is FREE if you register NOW).  Let the creative dialogue begin!

Do I have to whisper at a 'silent disco'?

Only if you want to. A silent disco is essentially a rave without the speaker system. Two outside silent discos will take place near the southeast corner of Main Ave and College from 9:00 p.m. till 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Present your festival ticket and receive a pair of wireless headphones. DJ's Posh Josh and Mello D spin tunes. You dance. Passerby's enjoy quite the spectacle, and no one suffers from noise pollution. A win-win.

Does the iAM Music Fest impact the rest of the world?

That's the idea. "We believe in creating a festival reclaiming the human spirit of collaboration inspired by a collective of musicians and creatives dreaming to give back the power of music and art to the people as a means of invoking global change," reads the festival website.

What does iAM Music do besides host this groovy festival?

This 501(c)(3) non-profit cultivates "conscious creativity, community and empowerment through music." Founded by artists Jesse Ogle and Ashley Edwards, iAM Music offers inspired, holistic music education, scholarships for music lessons, free instrument lending library for students in need, original music recording projects, private instruction and group coaching for youth and adults and so much more. All proceeds from the iAM Music Fest benefit iAM Music in pursuing these endeavors.

For more information on iAM Music, the iAM Music Fest or to see if you really can treat Ogle to a cup of coffee, call 970.799.7450, or email iAMMUSICinstitute@live.com. iAM Music is located at 1315 Main Ave #207.

Photos Courtesy iAM Music

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Hello Dollface, founders of iAM Music.

photo by Heather Ferguson

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Imaginario Circus performs as an aerial circus.

photo by DGO Magazine

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A performance during the 2015 iAM Music Festival.

photo by Eye and Eye Photography

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