Tony Mason went down to Dallas to hunt for an apartment and thought he was lucky to get one. He never spent a night in it.
The coronavirus hit then, and as flights were being canceled (Mason says he was lucky to get back to Denver), the economy shut down and a new world emerged. After leaving his job as the lead talent buyer managing Lost Lake, Larimer Lounge and Globe Hall in Denver, Mason saw a new position booking for the famed Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill and Gas Monkey Live in Dallas turn into a depressing slog of cancelling shows remotely from Denver. When he was furloughed three months later, he began working with his contacts in Denver to carve out a living for himself by relaunching his old independent concert booking & promotions company, Tone Dynamix.
Mason now will put his contacts to use to work for an expanded BandWagon enterprise which, in addition to producing BandWagon Magazine into its 11th year, will offer a full-on, regional concert promotions and event production entity. The booking and production wing includes Mason who resides in Denver, Hamilton Byrd of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Ely Corliss, owner of the Moxi Theater in downtown Greeley.
Corliss forged a partnership with Byrd in 2020 to bring shows to Wyoming and the Terry Bison Ranch, an outdoor venue that proved vital during the pandemic because of its less rigid restrictions on live shows. They hired Mason last month to bring in his experience with venues in Colorado Springs and Denver, meaning that BandWagon can offer venues from Colorado Springs to the Denver metro area, through Northern Colorado and well north into Wyoming. BandWagon Presents now has more than a dozen different venues across those areas.
Corliss and Mason were friends too — they went snowboarding together a couple months before the pandemic hit — and Corliss couldn’t be more thrilled to have Mason’s connections with Denver “on the BandWagon.”
Corliss says he’s always admired Mason’s clout in pulling in impressive acts, frankly quipping: “I was jealous of the shows he was working on,” with characteristic humor. Talent buyers, in case you didn’t know, find, book and negotiate bands for venues. It’s a tricky business, as they have to pay bands to play at fair rates on a belief that they will bring in crowds. If they pay a band too much, a venue could lose money without a packed house. If they pay too little, a band may go elsewhere to play and wind up packing another place. Talent buyers, therefore, have to straddle a thin line.
Bands are also wary of booking with just anyone, so people such as Mason with good, creditable reputations can book more, and higher-level talent, than unknowns without connections to good venues and the industry. Bands may even call bookers cold when they’re ready to go back on tour. Corliss said that’s why he hired Mason.
“Experience is invaluable,” Mason said, “and not many have the experience I have. This will create more opportunities for all three of us.”
The trio’s partnership allows BandWagon to book acts into tougher places, such as Greeley, because of the opportunity for offering deals and multiple days in different cities, Corliss said, although they can also book single nights in any city where they have connections to a venue.
“We are growing our office in a lot of different ways,” Corliss said. “This is a big merger. We want to book bands in different areas and build these markets and the region.”
The partnership gives the trio the chance to produce even bigger events, like festivals which could be held in area venues. Corliss, for example, brought Block Party to Greeley, an event that featured more than two dozen bands in one night. The hope is, with the partnership, even bigger events will soon be on the books for BandWagon.
“We are working on a lot of exciting things for 2022,” Corliss said.
The Colorado/Wyoming Pipeline: BandWagon is working to route national acts through Wyoming and Colorado starting in 2022 at the following venues
- WYO Theater – 483 cap indoor room in downtown Sheridan, WY
- All Ages, fully seated events in a Historic Performing Arts Center and Venue located in Northern Wyoming.
- Ford Wyoming Center – (8,000 cap Events Center in Casper, WY)
- All Ages with several seating and capacity arrangements.
- The Beacon Club – 600 cap indoor room in Mills, WY
- Located in central Wyoming, just outside of Casper. The Beacon is a 21+ country music club with a nice stage.
- The Lincoln Theatre – 1,250 cap indoor room in Cheyenne, WY
- All Ages events in Cheyenne’s historic and newly renovated theatre.
- The Outlaw – 1,250 cap indoor room / 2,500-5,000 cap outdoor space in Cheyenne, WY
- 21+ events in the largest bar & country club in the state of Wyoming.
- The Chinook at Terry Bison Ranch – 5,000 cap outdoor space in Cheyenne, WY
- All Ages events at The Terry Bison Ranch conveniently located on the Wyoming/Colorado border just off I-25. The Ranch also offers up to 400 Tent Camping Sites and spaces for RV’s.
- The Terry Bison Ranch – (500 cap indoor space in Cheyenne, WY)
- All Ages country club on the Bison Ranch.
- The Coast – 200 cap indoor room in Fort Collins, CO
- Formerly known as the Downtown Artery, this All Ages venue in Fort Collins is now under new ownership and BandWagon is helping to fill the calendar.
- Moxi Theater – 360 cap indoor room in Greeley, CO
- All Ages venue in downtown Greeley, Colorado. The Moxi is home to BandWagon’s primary office.
- The Oriental Theater – 600-850 cap indoor room in Denver, CO
- All Ages events in a historic theater located in the popular Tennyson arts district just minutes away from downtown.
- HQ – 400 cap indoor room in Denver, CO
- Formerly known as 3 Kings Tavern, renovated during the pandemic, turned over to the same owners as Oriental Theater. This 21+ venue is located in the historic Baker Neighborhood.
- Oskar Blues Black Buzzard – 280 cap indoor room in Denver, CO
- 18+ events in the downstairs level of a music-themed restaurant right on the 16th St. Mall in downtown Denver.
- The Black Sheep – 500 cap indoor room in Colorado Springs, CO
- All Ages events located in the heart of Colorado Springs in the historic Knobb Hill District.