The Underground Music Showcase celebrates its 11th edition this weekend, and while the region’s largest indie music festival has found its groove, it’s also continuing to evolve.
This year’s festival, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday with more than 300 bands playing rooms all over South Broadway, has a few exciting changes. And most of them came from the community the UMS celebrates.
“What excites me most is when somebody comes to me with an idea and executes that idea, doing it all out of love,” said Kendall Smith, the event’s director. “That’s the spirit of the UMS. It’s what it’s been for 10 years — people give their time, whether they’re volunteers, venues or musicians. It’s a big weekend for everybody to get together and enjoy the community.”
A few of this year’s big additions:
EYEROCK: Perhaps the most exciting addition this summer is EyeRock, the poster show started by Denver artist Chris Huth, who has designed and screen-printed UMS posters ever since the festival moved from East Colfax Avenue to South Broadway. Celebrating everything from rock photography to screen-printed rock posters, EyeRock will pay tribute to the visual artists who help put music into a different context.
The EyeRock reception is 6-8 p.m. Friday at the former Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway. It’s also open 2-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
REEL SOUNDS: The music festival is also dipping its toes into the world of film this year with the addition of Reel Sounds, the brainchild of local musician and movie lover Ben Martin. Friday is a night of local music videos at Delite, 32 S. Broadway — including video premieres from Hindershot, Fingers of the Sun and Hot White — starting at 7.
On Saturday and Sunday, longer videos and films will be screened down the street at Spark Theater. An Austin- based tale of making it as a musician, “Echotone,” will show at 7 p.m. Saturday; the infamous “Friends Forever” documentary follows the Denver band of the same name through its many fascinating (and occasionaly illegal) adventures, and it screens at 3 p.m. Sunday. The Spark is at 240 S. Broadway, and a full schedule can be found at theums.com.
THE SESH @ THE UMS: Last year was the first year of music-industry panels at the UMS, but this year marks the arrival of the Denver Music Summit as the presenter of the Sesh. Working with WESTAF and University of Colorado at Denver professor Storm Gloor, the Denver Music Summit will guide informed discussions on recording, touring and the future of the music industry.
Our favorite panel title: “Pennies From Heaven: How do artists make money in the digital age?” It’s a good question — one that many of the bands playing the UMS are surely pondering themselves.
Reverb bonus: 3 instructional videos on how to make it through the weekend…
Dance like no one is watching
Support local businesses
Sleep it off
Click here to view the full line-up and buy tickets — $40 for a four-day wristband.