From Throwing Small Events To Producing A Festival: James Bedwell Talks Compound Sound Festival
Denver has witnessed a lot of change in the past decade. As artists and techies flocks to the mecca of creativity and innovation, an economic and cultural boom has been unfolding quite radiantly.
I had a chance to chat with the owner of Boogie Groove Entertainment and Your Mom’s House, James Bedwell III.After living places like New Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Arizona, James has called Colorado home for the last 5 years.
He shares how he went from throwing small shows in a restaurant lounge to owning his own production company and venue to helping throw his first major music festival.
iEDM: What brought you out to Denver?
James Bedwell: After I graduated college, I went to Houston and I managed a couple restaurants. It was the first time I felt locked down in a job in a city that I did not want to be a part of. So I was like, I have to move somewhere I want to be a part of. Where if I lose my job I don’t feel stranded and I am in a city that I love. I ended up choosing Denver over Portland and moved here in mid-2011.
iEDM: How did Boogie Groove Entertainment begin?
James Bedwell: Pretty much from booking at Tony P’s. My current roommate right now, Matt Creedon, who’s a bartender at Your Mom’s House, the guy with the fedora who does all the hat tricks, moved in with me. I had an old roommate move away and I decided that I didn’t want to be a landlord for my friends. That’s just weird. I decided to find someone random on Craigslist and that random person was Matt, who ended up becoming a great friend, and two weeks into living at my house he asked me to come check out the spot where he was bartending.
He showed me Tony P’s and took me to the upstairs lounge. He asked what I thought about the space and said, I think we should throw some shows here. He told me he had done some shows in New Orleans and that he would love to something here. We ended up just having Friday and Saturday and after a couple weeks we got Thursday and Wednesday. So we were booking like four nights a week and people were telling me that I needed something to represent who’s throwing the shows and Boogie Groove came about.
iEDM: How did Your Mom’s House start?
James Bedwell: Your Mom’s House just came about with connects. While booking at Tony P’s, I was letting people know to keep an eye out for other venue spaces. We didn’t have the best pay structure set up at Tony P’s. We were pretty much just doing it to just throw shows and the experience. I was thinking, If I could just have my own music venue. It would be just so much different.
I knew this girl, she was an old bartender at Pearl’s, her name is Meeg and she dated one of my friends that worked over at Ophelia’s. One random day, she reached out to me after not seeing her for a couple months. She told me about that they were going out of business at Pearl’s. My business partner and I came in and asked if we could potentially save it. The two existing owners ended up picking us out of five or six others and six months later they ended up not wanting to be a part of it anymore so now it’s just me and my business partner, Joe Dan.
The trippy thing about Your Mom’s House is that Joe Dan and I met on the venue side before it was called that. The Bordas brothers were having there 29th birthday party over at Pearl’s, they had Project Aspect and Tnertle play. That night I met Joe Dan in the space that soon after became Your Mom’s House. The name came about through a time constraint to launch our name. We needed a different venue name rather than just Pearl’s.
We went to the Nuggets game but before that we got nice and buzzed rather than spend like eight to twelve dollars on beverages at the game and were hitting this little hash pen. We were in the zone just shooting names back to each other. One of us said, your mom, and the other one said, your mom’s house, and we both looked at each other. The other two owner’s at the time hated it and we were like, Perfect. We love it. That’s pretty much how it came about.
iEDM: What’s the hardest part of owning a venue and production company?
James Bedwell: Constantly being on top of all of your staff, your team members. Following up with them, making sure they are following up with everyone else. It’s different because we are a venue and we have a bar staff. We have all of our normal bar stuff we need to worry about and then we have our music team which is way bigger than our bar staff. There’s four or five of us in from 11am-7pm constantly bookings and following up with musicians. It’s just non-stop on the music side of things.
I would say one of the biggest obstacles is staying ahead of the curve and being up-to-date with all your bookings. It’s really easy to fall behind. I would ideally like to be booking three to four months ahead. It would be nice to be booking for November or December right now. Right now I’m booking for September and October.
Compound Sound Festival has taken so much energy from us. We’ve been planning for it since January and then we had a big Fox Theater show in June. So the combination of those and throw in shows every single week at Your Mom’s House, we have not had a lot of time just for Your Mom’s House. I’m really looking forward to when the dust settles after Compound Sound and we can strictly pay attention to Your Mom’s House so it can flourish. It will be good timing since school will starting and outdoor venues will be slowing down. There won’t be that many Red Rocks shows; it’s hard to compete with those guys.
iEDM: Tells us about what we can expect with Compound Sound.
James Bedwell: There have been a few Compound Sounds but this is the first time that they have brought in outside promoters like Boogie Groove Entertainment. They wanted to make it legit. My buddy Matt Schultz, who is the main guy throwing this festival, is the keyboardist for Kaleid. He reached out to met last year talking about how they have been throwing parties on this land for 9 years. They grew up on the land and have been throwing events each year but they wanted to make it legitimate festival. So he brought Boogie Groove along and it’s basically been me and my right-hand man, Justin Long, Matt and a few others along the way but it’s pretty much been us three doing this whole thing. It’s been intense. We luckily have Ashley and you in the art department and Koda and his friend helping with vendors. But it’s a small team.
With all that being said, I just really stoked for this to all come together. With such a short amount of time to plan, since you usually plan for a festival for a year, we’ve had about seven months, it’s coming together. Right now, looking at it from the outside, it’s stressful thinking about all the loose ends we need to tie up but I know it’s all going to come together. We have a good group of people who are all going to see it through.
iEDM: Any future surprises or goals you would like to share?
James Bedwell: I would just like to see the success of Your Mom’s House and Boogie Groove as a team. I’d like to see more shows thrown outside of Your Mom’s House. We want Boogie Groove involved in more festivals and artist representation, helping bands book national tours. We want to have a big roster of bands and DJs that reflect our vision of music and this movement that we are trying to create. Joe Dan and I discuss expansion on Your Mom’s House in other up and coming music cities. Another thing we keep saying is 2020 Boogie Groove booking a show at Red Rocks.
Compound Sound Festival will be groovin’ near Cheyenne, Wyoming on from August 24-25th just two hours from Denver. Ticket are only $80 and you can snag them HERE.