On Wednesday, the FMQB Triple A Conference kicked off at Boulder’s St. Julien Hotel & Spa.
The renowned multi-day event — put on by influential trade magazine “Friday Morning Quarterback” that covers the radio and music industries — remains a must-attend for artists, radio DJs, record label executives and music industry professionals looking to gather, listen and tap into the next big thing set to hit the airwaves.
“What I most look forward to every year is seeing how the radio professionals — and the public at the evening shows on The Hill — respond to the performances, both by established artists and new artists,” said Jack Barton, Vice President for Triple A at the Friday Morning Quarterback charts. “It’s fascinating to see the impact an outstanding performance can have on an artist’s career.”
The event, focusing on the evolving climate of “Adult Album Alternative” radio stations like Boulder’s KBCO (97.3 FM), packs panel discussions, intimate sets and shows both outside and inside the Fox Theatre into four days.
Previous FMQB Triple A Conference performers included Bonnie Raitt, Coldplay, Amos Lee, Graham Nash, Brandi Carlile, Damien Rice, Brett Dennen, James Blunt, David Byrne, John Mayer and Dave Matthews.
“For the industry professionals, it’s one of the few places — if not the only place — where both commercial and non-commercial program and music directors in the Triple A format from the largest to the smallest markets gather to share experiences and ideas, while seeing some really great music played,” said Barton. “And, the event’s long history in Boulder, a very unique, creative and vibrant city, only adds to experience.”
Festivities for 2019’s conference include a late-night Friday pajama party, sponsored by Columbia Records, at St. Julien’s ballrooms.
This year the lineup, featuring internationally touring acts, once again wows. Wednesday night Hiss Golden Messenger and Soak will perform for free on the Hill’s outdoor stage and Death Cab for Cutie will treat fans to an intimate set within the Fox.
On Thursday, JD Simo and Charley Crockett will play the free outdoor stage and those lucky enough to score tickets will enjoy an indoor show with London-based songstress Jade Bird, country outlaw Tyler Childers and British rockers Keane.
“Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more excited for our big name headliners — Death Cab For Cutie, Keane, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, and more — but, I always love being introduced to the artists I’m not so familiar with when FMQB comes around,” said Andrew Gill, senior marketing manager for Boulder-based Z2 Entertainment. “I saw Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats perform at the free outdoor stage on the Hill in 2015, and look at them now. It’s a privilege to be introduced to some amazing artists before they hit the big stages”
Industry veteran Linda Perry, once lead singer of ‘90s band 4 Non Blondes — who has lent her producing and songwriting skills to Pink, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera — will also be in attendance. Perry will take to the Fox’s indoor stage, along with Willa Amai, Pete Yorn and Big Head Todd & the Monsters on Friday. While this show is also sold out, music fans can catch Neil Francis and Wilder Woods at the outdoor stage.
From folk singers weaving delicate vocals with soft strums to powerhouse rockers commanding stages, there’s a place for all at FMQB’s Triple A Conference — an annual event that has enriched the Front Range for 27 years and helped to launch some of music’s top stars.
Not only does the long-running conference, that concludes Saturday, provide a platform for artists to connect and brainstorm, it also offers residents a chance to see a diverse array of acts share stages — allowing music lovers to bear witness to rare performances not always found in other venues.
“Hands down, the most rewarding aspect of being a part of Boulder’s music scene is the pure joy of bringing live music to the community,” said Gill. “We’ve all experienced it — that blissful moment during a show when the music carries you away and nothing else matters. It’s rewarding knowing that the work everyone here at Z2 Entertainment puts forth day in and out makes that possible and frequently accessible to the community is priceless.”
While the conference could easily take place in L.A., N.Y.C. or Nashville, it’s Boulder’s strong creative scene and accessibility to music that makes it an ideal destination for an event of this magnitude and caliber — drawing in global players year after year.
“There are a couple main aspects that stand out to me when I think about what sets Boulder apart from other music towns,” said Gill. “First, the people. Boulder is full of music lovers, and the artists can tell the crowd is there for the tunes. In addition, and without bias, the venues. Boulder’s venues offer that sense of inclusion you’re talking about on many levels. Most particularly, an atmosphere where you genuinely feel connected to the artists, audience and even the staff.”