The warehouse of Fort Collins’ Akin Building was erected in 1903, converted to the beloved Washington’s Sports Bar and Grill in 1978 and this Saturday, February 3, will once again be re-birthed as a Ft. Collins landmark simply dubbed: Washington’s. A sold-out crowd of nearly one thousand will unite that evening for the venue’s inaugural performance by Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.
Greta Cornett, a member of the Bohemian Foundation’s Live Music Team and Marketing/Talent Coordinator at Washington’s, squeezed in an interview with us about what we can expect from this new 900 person capacity venue. “It’s been designed to be an incredible, intimate listening room for an exceptional experience for both the listener and the performer. We’re looking forward to playing a role as part of the local music scene and finding our place with our other venues. We want to be a great partner to them and a good neighbor. We’re looking to help grow our live music scene in Fort Collins and keep working towards making this a place that’s known for its live music.”
With the 2018 lineup that Washington’s has announced so far, I think they are doing their part by bringing some fantastic names to town to perform with “state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.” The upcoming shows include local favorites Stella Luce opening for Denver’s DeVotchKa on Valentine’s Day, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe two days later, Fort Collins celebrity Michael Kirkpatrick & The Honey Rider Band on March 8th, The Oh Hellos on March 16th and many more. “Anything goes,” Cornett said. “We want to be inclusive of all parts of the music scene and we want to have a very diverse lineup… and book a lot of different genres for people. A lot of our shows are selling out, so I would recommend that if there’s something you really want to see, you should probably get your tickets for it now.” Cornett mentioned that the Oh Hellos VIP meet and greet sold out immediately, and that they are happy to work with artists on VIP experiences for fans any time.
For those of you who remember the business that was housed inside “the formidable sandstone walls” since 1978, the nostalgic artifacts that remain in the new venue might send you down memory lane – in a good way. Cornett divulged, “We wanted to incorporate some parts of its history and past, and pay homage to that. Probably the most notable one you’ll notice is the Washington’s [Bar & Grill] stained glass, which is beautiful, sitting in our front window right now. We backlight it at nighttime; it’s gorgeous to look at. When you walk through the entryway into the venue, if you look up you’ll notice that we kept the trolley top from one of the trolleys that was inside; it’s been incorporated into that design there. We kept the stained glass that’s inside the venue. If you look up to the ceiling in the listening room, you’ll see this beautiful oval stained glass. We also kept one of the benches that was in the upstairs at the original Washington’s, and it looks really cool in the sound booth. There are some little pieces in there that people will recognize and we hope they enjoy them.”
“Cultivate peace and harmony with all,” George Washington once said. This historically preserved building which depicts our first President in stained glass will certainly provide a place for music, celebration and community for much of Northern Colorado this spring.