As a workaholic, I don’t out of Anchorage as often as I would like. So this weekend I made an effort to escape; to drive south and catch a concert in Hope. The restaurant and music venue, the Creekbend Café ended its outdoor concert season with the Hope Hangout. Not only would my friends and I see Blackwater Railroad Company play, but I would also get to spend some time with family at our cabin.

About midway through the show, the audience started crowding up to the stage. Not so much that you couldn’t dance, but enough that the less committed attendees will gravitate to the sides and back. While I was singing along and snapping photos of the band, my mom turned and said to me; “I’m so glad that you love music.” I didn’t know how to reply to that so I just continued singing and taking pictures. What I should’ve said was; ‘Thank you, because my love of music would not have been this deep without growing up around fellow music fans.

My very first concert was prenatal. It was Jimmy Buffet and I was still in the womb. Since that moment, music has been a part of me. The family living room and kitchen were dominated by the stereo and a huge CD collection. When the family tired of me trying to play with it, I received my very own radio as an early birthday present. The station was set to KASH 107.5 and not knowing how to change station with the dial, I spent the first handful of years growing up with 90s country. I was hooked. Tim McGraw, Clint Black and Reba McIntyre were some of the first concerts I remember.

It wasn’t until 5thor 6thgrade, when friends started talking about music at school, that I found out about rap. I eventually was able to beg, barter and bribe my parents into taking me to Borders Books & Music so that I could get my hands on Eminem, Ludacris and Nelly. A heavy rotation of Hip-hop in middle school began to be infiltrated by rock and alternative/pop-punk during my high school years. Burned copies of Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182, and Red Hot Chili Peppers would blare from our cd players while we skateboarded or played basketball in the driveway.

As my friends and I began making mixtapes of our favorite songs, we could more easily share and expand our collection of music. Our libraries were then supplemented by the internet- Napster, Limewire, and Youtube. A song, artist, or genre that piqued our curiosity could then be devoured with reckless abandon.

My dad had always been a NPR listener and although I started off hating the “talk radio,” I grew to love KSKA for its mix of news, stories, and “strange music.” World Café, Mountain Stage, Afropop Worldwide, and Blues Before Sunrise more often than not will have me reaching for my phone to Shazam or google an artist for future downloads. These days, my music tastes are still all over the map and I will often head from a country concert to a rock show in the same evening before ending the night at a club with a DJ.

Without much musical talent myself, I tried instead to surround myself with those who do. For the past 5 years, I have been blessed to work in the music scene, opening my eyes (and ears) to even more artists. I can’t sing or shred on a guitar but I know how many other ways to support the show. It was both my love for attending live music shows and my desire to share that joy with everyone else that led me to create AK Concerts.

I now know that I should have said “Thank You.” Thanks to my parents and friends for encouraging growth of my music tastes. Thanks to the musicians, promoters, and venues that put on concerts. Thanks to the fellow music fans who make the shows possible by attending and supporting them. And thanks to you for continuing to encourage my love for the music.

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