One look around Blast N Scrap and the authenticity is palpable. A DIY performance art venue located inside the art reuse center called Who Gives a SCRAP, Blast N Scrap finds itself with the right combination of quirky and weird for a unique artistic experience that the people of Fort Collins didn’t even know they needed.
At its helm is Blasti (known to some as Michael Gormley), a scrappy 36 year old New Yorker with a vision for an art space for everyone. Blasti came to work with Who Gives a SCRAP as they were looking for a new community project and new ways to get people in the doors.
It’s a long and tangled journey that led Blasti from being the guy with a cape who followed Ween around on tour to the guy who manages multiple weekly non-profit events while working a full time job, but it’s that cape that got him there.
In January of 2019 he hosted a cape making party using leftover fabric from Who Gives a SCRAP to raise funds for a local girl struggling with leukemia, and thanks to support from some local businesses and the community, it was a surprising success. (Click here for more on that heroic micro organization).
Then after a few events that were mostly fundraisers, it was clear to the Who Gives a SCRAP people that Blasti believed the space could be used to give back to the community. After that, they discussed the idea of being a DIY venue that had a punk rock ethos but wasn’t just tied to one genre. The venue side would later earn the name Blast N Scrap.
“After they were watching me to make sure I could handle what I said I could handle, I [proved] that people would hang out here, the drinkers would go over to West End Pub then come back for the show. We could still be an all ages venue and people under twenty-one could still have a place to go and create,” says Blasti. “How are you going to tell teenagers they can’t go to shows? They invented rock and roll.”
Blasti’s vision of the space is both a place where there is little to separate the artist from the audience and a space that encourages anyone to create their own art. Besides the live bands, your average Blast N Scrap show features everything from live painters, comedians, or if you’re lucky, even a sword swallower named SLIM the Living Cyborg who lets you staple money to his body.
As the scope and quality of the shows begins to grow, Blasti finds himself inundated with requests from touring and local bands wanting to play. “This is great because it started with just me dragging my friends from here and Denver to the venue,” says Blasti.
Coming from an extensive background in live music production, Blasti sees the space as a vehicle to help develop bands and artists, not just a place to play. He has a deal with a local artist where, for $20, he makes art for the band – which the band then own the rights to and can use for fliers and merch for the rest of their lives. Blasti also subscribes to many of the unwritten rules of gigging, like the adage that touring bands get most of the money made at the door and the mantra: “Drummers take note, tear-down off stage.”
Above all else, Blasti wants the space to remain a drug and alcohol free space that is inclusive to anyone. And while Blast N Scrap is dependent on donations made at the door, as long as they’re reasonable and respectful, Blasti isn’t about to turn people away looking for a good time.
“Your friends can come here if they don’t have any money,” Blasti says. “This was important to me because – how many shows have I played where, like, five friends said they couldn’t come because they didn’t have any money? Art has saved my life enough times, I can’t tell someone who’s down-and-out they can’t come to a show.”