But that’s in July, I would protest, when we talked in October, December, March, and so on. Sounds great, but that’s down the road, and I’ll plan for it when it gets closer. And how good could this local showcase be anyway?
It turns out the Underground Music Showcase is probably the best thing you could do all year in Denver. Mark your calendars, people! Yes, a whole year in advance. Here’s why:
Second, UMS provides a fantastic resource. Their online lineup is interactive, which means you don’t have to go look up all the acts separately to know what you want to see – it’s all there right on their site. Click on their name, a box pops up, and you can read about them and listen to their music within seconds. They also made a Spotify playlist of all the bands, so you can listen in advance, or afterwards – because there’s no way you’re going to know all the bands before you go, or be able to see all of them.
UMS is also a great example of mashing local and touring acts together in one festival. Your friends want to see the big indie headliners, but you want to discover some unknown local acts. Where else can you so easily do both at a music festival? At UMS, you walk along South Broadway and pop into indoor venues featuring mostly local acts, or pass through the gates for one of three outdoor stages, featuring mostly bigger names.
UMS is simply the best way to discover a bunch of new music through experience. Sure, there’s a schedule and you may want to see some specific bands over the weekend (which I did). But you could easily show up with no agenda, and have an amazing time, every single day at UMS. The acts they book are high quality, and range from super local to big name bands. You can just walk along the mile of venues, hear something you like, and go check it out. I discovered Drama and finally saw Y La Bamba by accident. While you’re wandering around, there’s food, ice cream, drinks, and (free) water. Just bring a plastic water bottle (no metal).
And finally, UMS is a great place to meet and hang out with strangers. Or new friends, as you could call them, if you stay in touch. I was approached multiple times by people who wanted to flirt, hang out, chat about the bands, chat about photography, or connect over tattoos. It was an extrovert’s dream, with a few awkward exceptions. You can also simply people watch to your heart’s content.
The dates haven’t been announced for UMS 2020 yet – but once they are, put them on your calendar. And if you don’t live in Denver, it’s a great excuse to visit. See you there next summer!