Editor Greg Hartman and Publisher Jeff Steele

Editor Greg Hartman and Publisher Jeff Steele

Grand Valley Live Year 2

Two years ago, we released the first issue of Grand Valley Live.  We were riding pretty high and continued to do pretty well, finding writers, tracking down cover shots, and taking home a little bit at the end of each month.  That initial momentum made sure that the magazine could be a success and we saw constant upward growth in the future. When year one struck, we assumed that forward momentum would be infinite.

Of course, it wasn’t sustainable.  We lost some long time advertisers for the winter and some were difficult to get on board.  We could get usually get someone to go in for a month, but solid, long term advertisers were tough to hold on to.  Don’t get us wrong, public support for the magazine has been great. Print is just a tough business. In the past year, the number of local print publications saw the loss of a few and the reduction in publication days for the Daily Sentinel.  A new magazine was started on local lifestyle, but Spoke and Blossom is restricting is publication to quarterly.

We got through that tough patch and have continued on, briefly increasing our print run to 1,500 copies through the summer.  What we have found is that the magazine goes very quickly in some places, while others people read it and leave it for the next person.  When delivering new magazines, there could be five fresh copies and two well worn in the front. Free magazines are certainly tough to track, but we feel things are going well.

The music that we are covering continues to improve.  This year’s Local Jam had over 24 recorded artists, many of whom had releases reviewed in the magazine. Large shows have been very successful at the Avalon, although Las Calonias is still growing its audience and appeal - something that will probably take years.  Some new festivals saw promise, while a few were flops. The Mesa County Fair saw profit by going free entry for music, while Fruita continued to demonstrate how to bring the community together for music. Its a net positive all around, with just a few negatives.

The path to success is never linear.  It is wandering, backtracking, and never guaranteed.  At Grand Valley Live, we see part of our success to be supporting a growing music and art community.  As the arts grow, the appeal of our towns does as well. Ask any job recruiter and people look for two major aspects of a town - the schools and something to do.  The something to do could be our amazing nature attractions, nearness to other fun things, but we think that a major component of what makes the Grand Valley attractive is our musicians.  

We have major festivals every weekend through the summer, including Palisade’s gems of Bluegrass and Roots and Colorado Mountain Wine Festival.  Mesa Theater, The Avalon, and Warehouse 2565 are selling out important shows. Our breweries are winning national awards and have music up to three times a week.  There is still room for growth and adaptation, which is exciting. The Grand Valley is on the move and ready to defy all the stereotypes that have held it back.

I have to thank the team at Grand Valley Live for keeping us on top of things and helping us defy the odds to get to year two.  Without publisher Jeff Steele, the magazine would have stayed simply a website. Beverage correspondent (aka beer guy) Kristian Hartter has been an excellent resource for putting the spotlight on craft brewing.  Angelica Ray has been a blessing for supplying us with her take on new bands and upcoming events. We’ve also had amazing support from Dustin “The Ninja” Coren, whose columns are always popular and informative. None of us are making money, but we are paying the bills and ready to support the community as it grows into the future.

As for the future, we’re finally addressing the issue we’ve had with advertising.  Longtime friend of the magazine Tim Jennings is jumping on board to help bring in more support.  You know him from Tim + Richard and Open Jelly and hopefully you’ll see him out on the street finding more ways to help Grand Valley Live connect with the community we love.  Here’s to year 3 and beyond, we hope to continue to be your resource for music and entertainment.

Greg Hartman
Grand Valley Live