From the barstool of the publisher


I don’t often use this space to champion causes, but I saw something last week that blew my mind and it would be a disservice to not share it.

eTown, the nationally syndicated radio show that calls Boulder home, is well under way on a complete renovation of the former church at 16th and Spruce streets in Boulder. The project has been 20 years in the making, as the radio show grew its tenure on the air and while eTown host Nick Forster found a way to make the whole idea come together. At one point, Forster even had himself ordained as a minister so that, if he had to, they could run eTown like a church, to avoid zoning regulations that originally forbade any other uses on the site.

With those hurdles now behind the organization, Forster is focusing on the reconstruction project, which has already wrapped up phase one (offices) and is now fully entrenched in phase two, which will include construction of a new 200 seat venue, completely wired for recording audio and video, a full recording studio with isolation rooms, and other mixing and editing rooms for the radio show.

The small theater size, Forster said, will allow eTown to host artists who weren’t quite big enough for their shows at the Boulder Theater, and it will also allow them to host some big national artists in an intimate setting, without interfering with those artists’ bigger shows at Red Rocks and the like.

The concept of the entire facility is as much community center as it is a home for eTown, and Forster said that the building truly is being built by musicians for musicians. Every part of the building’s design has been monitored and analyzed by an acoustics engineer and tremendous attention is being paid to isolate all building sounds (plumbing, ducting, etc.) from the main hall and the studios.

“Our priorities were, acoustics, environment, style and finally, budget,” Forster said, laughing about the order. In addition to the forethought put into acoustics, a massive amount of the building is being renovated with recycled or environmentally friendly materials. From the recycled gym floor that is in the studio to the environmentally friendly countertops made from recycled paper, the building is teeming with thoughtful design.

Standing on the roof at the facility, surrounded by dozens of shiny brand new Mitsubishi solar panels, Forster said that “it would have been disingenuine if we didn’t at least try to go green,” before listing off dozens of other areas in the building where they managed to be responsible to the environment.

eTown is now in the midst of a final capital campaign in hopes of completing the building and opening it this fall. They are currently working to fill a $500,000 challenge grant from the Bohemian Foundation — presenters of the annual Bohemian Nights NewWestFest in Fort Collins.

What that means to us music freaks is that every dollar donated up to a half-million dollars, will be matched by the Foundation. So a $100 donation becomes $200. If you have the means, please give to help this project. It’s going to do wonders for our whole community, and not just the musical side of it.

See you at the shows.


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