Musician’s Forums bring awareness to local music scene


Photo courtesy of the Musician’s Forum

The Musician’s Forum is a group for El Paso musicians that meets every month to learn about the efforts of working in the music industry.

Elenie Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

There is a strong music scene in El Paso that has been unknown for quite some time. The scene has emerged in the last few years thanks to venues such as The Lowbrow Palace and Tricky Falls.

As the local music scene continues to rise, local artists are collaborating in an effort to bring more awareness about other musicians within the community.

Christian Yanez is one of those artists. He is spearheading an initiative called the Musician’s Forum, which is a monthly meeting inviting local artists to come together and learn about different topics regarding the efforts of working as a musician.

The forums take place at the Outpost, located on 2317 E. Missouri Ave., which is a facility in El Paso that provides amenities to traveling musicians for free.

Yanez though it would be the perfect space to hold the forum.

“When I put this together this time around, I wanted it to be for musicians only,” Yanez said. “The thing about the scene here is that all the musicians know each other because they all play shows together. I felt that if I put that spin on it, and by having it at the Outpost, especially because not many musicians know what it is or that it’s a resource for them, it would help increase attendance.”

However this wasn’t the first time Yanez has tried hosting a forum.

Yanez’ first two attempts at hosting the forum in 2015 and 2016 weren’t as successful as he had hoped for. Along with the musicians, he invited people who worked within the music scene such as in recording studios, marketing and any other resources musicians might need to move forward in their careers. Although there were about 30 business people in attendance, only about three musicians showed up. 

This year over 100 musicians attended the forum in January.

Yanez, who works for several of El Paso’s music-centered companies such as Splendid Sun Productions, Neon Desert Music Festival and The Lowbrow Palace, said it’s easy for him to reach out to members of the music community since he’s already in touch with them through Facebook.

Since the Outpost does not have any social media pages or accounts, Yanez uses his own Facebook account to inform musicians about the upcoming forums. He said that after the first forum, he created a Facebook group to be able to send updates to the musicians.

“What we want is for local bands to be able to have successful shows so that they can make a living out of being musicians,” Yanez said.

Each month, the forum will have a different focus. The forum in February focused on marketing and how to increase attendance at a show.

He’s planning a forum in the next few months that will focus on how to book a tour or show. Sorrytown, a local band, will lead the forum after returning from their own tour, which they booked entirely on their own.

“For the most part, I pick the categories that we talk about, but the goal is to have enough people collaborating to those who attend can see from a real-life standpoint what it’s like to specialize and exceed in that specific topic,” Yanez said.

Rolph Zehntner, vocalist for Acid Pie, has attended the forums. He thinks it’s essential for bands, musicians and anyone from the community who are a part of the scene to come together and actually be a community.

“As someone who’s been in the scene for a while, I know there’s so much that we can share in terms of experience and knowledge,” Zehntner said. “Some things we learned the hard way, some that we’ve learned from others and some that we’re still learning.”

Zehntner said he understands how important it is for the local music community to have this forum, specifically for them.

“What I saw in these forums first of all is how much they’re needed–a lot of people were there who had been waiting for something like this for a while. Everybody was trying to connect, to find people who are going through the same experience,” Zehntner said. “Now that a connection has been made, we’re hopeful that it’ll be the foundation for a real community, not just a group of people occupying the same space, but a scene that works together for everyone’s benefit.”

This is only the beginning of the musician’s forums and Yanez is hoping to see success stories emerge from his push for awareness in the local music scene.

“At the end of the day, this is about improving the scene as a whole,” Yanez said. “If we, as a team, can improve attendance at shows, that results in venues and promoters getting higher profits, which then results in bands getting paid, which is a goal for the bands.”

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