Julie Sutter – StartUp FoCo Podcast

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone more knowledgable about music in Fort Collins than Julie Sutter. An avid concert-goer, Julie’s experience with several music-based startups makes it no surprise that she’s the Community Manager at The Music District.

Julie’s main squeeze at Techstars Startup Week and ARTup Week Fort Collins is The Music District’s free Sonic Social on Saturday, March 2nd.

Julie, tell us about yourself!

I am Julie Sutter. I am the Community Manager at The Music District. I’m also the content captain for the music track for ARTup week sessions, which are a part of Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins.

What are you most excited about in terms of the music sessions you’ve seen so far?

This year we are combining The Music District’s Sonic Social, which is kind of an immersive open-house, with ARTup week. So on Saturday, March 2nd, we’re going to have this big celebration at the end of ARTup week that invites the public to plug in, turn up, and geek out.

It’s a themed event that incorporates science fiction, fantasy, video games, and it has music at its core and it’s going to be super fun.

There will be two sessions that are related to music production and sound engineering and tech as well.

We’re going to see some geeky bands in Northern Colorado come out and play?

That is the hope. We are working on booking some live performances for Sonic Social as we speak. We’re working really hard to make sure that we are inclusive, which is one of the key values that we’re exploring via Start Up week in general this year. Inclusivity and access.

Do you see access and inclusion as big challenges in the Northern Colorado music community?

We always have work to do around that. It’s important that we are mindful about it. Music is by its nature, inclusive. It’s one of our shared languages that you don’t have to work very hard to understand each other through. It’s good to be very intentional about access and inclusion and make sure that you are exploring the opportunities you have to invite more people in.

If access and inclusion aren’t the biggest issues, what are the biggest challenges for the Northern Colorado music community?

We have challenges surrounding abundance and making sure that we’re getting through, and I’m really not trying to make a pun here, all the noise. That’s a challenge for anybody producing any sort of event or wanting people to explore the art that they’re sharing. There’s a lot of competing interest and we are especially blessed in Northern Colorado with lots of choices of fun things to do. There are some challenges around just making sure that people know what you’ve got going on.

Musicians and artists also have different approaches to learning about technology, and we’ve got a session on how to leverage technology to advance your career that’s geared towards musicians and presented by the Fort Collins Musicians Association.

Who’s doing the coolest things in Northern Colorado?

I am a big fan of the Downtown Artery. They are one of our most creative venues and do such a wonderful job of combining artists and music. They are always doing something that pushes boundaries.

The Lyric Cinema is also amazing. They have so much going on in terms of movies, but they also have music outside on their patio, and they’ve designed some pretty interesting art installations within the cinema itself.

If you could tell a Northern Colorado creative one thing what would it be?

Don’t forget that if you are exploring this as an entrepreneur, if you are trying to make your art a business, you are a business person already.

One of the challenges that comes up for the artist is this idea that if it’s something they enjoy doing that somehow they don’t deserve to be paid for their work. Or they shouldn’t view themselves as trying to earn a living form it. That’s just wrong, you can do both things. You can both have a gift and be rewarded for that gift.

Have you seen any good examples of a business integrating with art and music?

The Poudre River Public Library District.

They do such a good job of inviting in so many different people in the community. I know that maybe they don’t look at themselves as a business but they serve lots of businesses. Whether it’s through helping people learn how to navigate the nonprofit world or just by having a business librarian. They also manage on top of all that to bring in some really good elements of thinking about weird stuff, and I love that about the Library. And it’s for everybody.

I admire what they do and I continue to learn about things that they do that are really cutting edge, more than people would think. When you think, sometimes, about the Library you think about a place for books, but it’s a community-connected place with lots of things other than books.

Where can we find out more about you and the work of the Music District?

TheMusicDistrict.org – we have an events listing for all the things going on over here. We’ve got artists in residence, we’ve got ongoing events, and most of our events are free to the public. We’ve got some business development type workshops. And, of course, we teach how to protect your art and the craft of music.

About The Author

Julie Sutter is the Community Manager for The Music District and a content captain for ARTup Week’s music track.

The Music District’s Sonic Social is Saturday March 2nd at 4PM.

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