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Dechen Hawk plays at the Laughing Goat.
Dechen Hawk plays at the Laughing Goat.

It’s tough to keep music venues alive and well in Boulder.

The past few years have seen a radical decline in local clubs and cafes, but the Laughing Goat’s still going strong.

This week, the Laughing Goat celebrates its fifth anniversary at its 1709 Pearl Street location. The local cafe started up after the late, great Penny Lane closed its doors.

The Laughing Goat has become a home to local and traveling musicians, poets and artists. Each week, the cafe celebrates this talent by hosting shows most nights of the week — and for cover charges that are cheaper than most other venues.

Dechen Hawk is a local musician and the talent booker for the Laughing Goat, and he talked about the cafe’s weeklong birthday bash.

Q: What makes the Laughing Goat a special venue?

A: This is a special venue. At this point, we’re one of the few listening room venues and that’s nice for a lot of folks.

People come back here to play, because of the atmosphere. People that could play larger venues even play here — like Erik Deutsch.

And the downtown location is nice as well.

Q: What makes this a great music listening room?

A: There’s always an attentive crowd at the Laughing Goat. Artists really get more exposure at these gigs.

We really have an audience that cares about the music. And since the b-side closed, we’re getting a lot more traffic.

The Laughing Goat is unique, because there’s music every single night and you can really engage with the artists.

We’re also very affordable, and we have beer, wine and coffee that caters to everyone.

Q: What role does the Laughing Goat play in the Boulder music scene?

A: We definitely have a specific scene at the Laughing Goat.

It’s more of an indie vibe with all original artists. We support up-and-coming artists and help launch new artists.

That’s helped us play a role on the Boulder music scene — that kind of exposure. We feel very connected to the local music community.

Q: What’s planned for the Laughing Goat’s 5th anniversary week?

A: On Thursday, we have Mortimer. The act has rock and Radiohead influences with Americana thrown in there, too.

Jarrad Menard’s also on the bill. He’s an up-and-coming guy that plays blues, R&B and pop.

Friday, I’m performing with Ramaya. We’re going to bring home the Penny Lane days of guitar and voice.

Saturday, Koffi Toudji plays here with his African music. And Sunday we have Hamster Theater. They’ve been here for every Laughing Goat birthday.

This is a well-rounded week of music that touches on the genres people like to see here.

Q: What’s the future of the venue?

A: If we ever got the chance, we’d love to expand the space.

We are getting a lot more submissions to play here than there used to be. There’s no mid-size club in town, so we’re trying to find the best way to meet the demand.

We’d also like to see the place packed every night.