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DTP reaches out to local musicians at town hall meeting

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The Bunkhouse’s familiar front exterior has been preserved by its new owners.
Photo: Corlene Byrd

With “return on community” no longer a part of Downtown Project’s core values, the redevelopment group is trying to extend an olive branch to locals. At least that’s the feeling some Vegas music enthusiasts got after attending a town hall headed by DTP Music on June 12 at the Ogden. The event addressed concerns and answered the local scene’s burning questions about the urban development group’s music leg.

“It’s a good start,” says Roxie Amoroso, bassist for Crazy Chief and co-owner of Cowtown Guitars and Exile on Main Street boutique. “I will commend them for starting somewhere. I don’t think we’ve ever collectively been asked our opinion.”

In May, DTP sent out email invitations for the town hall, calling it “a space for musicians and music community members to gather together [and] build constructive conversations around the existing community.” The event was capped at 40 people on a first come, first served basis. No reporting media outlets were allowed to attend.

“I actually thought it went really good,” says DTP music booker Aly Prudence. “[It] helped alleviate a lot of the stigmas about unapproachability between the music scene and DTP.”

The event began with a question-and-answer roundtable (moderated by the Weekly’s Mike Prevatt). According to attendees, DTP answered questions about what the group does, how locals can volunteer or get involved and details about the reopening of much-adored music venue the Bunkhouse.

“I think that people were honest with their questions as much as the team was honest about answering them. It was a great step,” Prudence says.

“There was a lot of Bunkhouse talk,” Amoroso says. “They did say they would approach it [from] a music-first standpoint … the PA is grade f*cking-A and they have a Midas board,” a top-of-the-line audio console. “It generally means that their money is where their mouth is.”

One concern was that not enough people from the music scene knew about the event. “It just so happens that we invited our bandmates from the punk-rock world, but that’s not something on the DTP radar,” Amoroso says, adding that next time, she’d like to see more bands being contacted to join. “They’re just too regimented. It didn’t need to be closed off to the public. If you really want an open dialogue, you need a constant flow of people. The only way to do that is to be cool with the locals. I think they’re getting there; they just need some gentle prompting.”

“To me the important part of helping the scene grow is being a part of it—going to shows and making connections with the people,” said Same Sex Mary’s Tsvetelina Stefanova, who called the event “a step in the right direction.”

“What I got out of it is that they’re all genuinely trying,” she says.

As of now, a second town hall has not been planned. Local musicians with additional questions or concerns can email music@downtownproject.com.

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Local and independent music lover Leslie Ventura found her passion for journalism as a UNLV undergrad, contributing to Las Vegas ...

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