Stacy Nick

Arts, Culture & Music Reporter

Despite being KUNC's resident arts, culture and music expert, I have to admit I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket with a handle. However, I have a deep appreciation for those who do have musical talent, as well as anyone who dances, acts, paints, or otherwise utilizes the creative process.

That's why I've been covering the arts in Colorado for almost two decades. My first big interview was Eagles bassist Randy Meisner and his mom about his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I love finding out the backstory behind why artists do what they do and getting to see the process up close. At heart, I'm just a fan.

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Stacy Nick / KUNC

While the opening day of the Colorado Music Party – an unofficial South By Southwest showcase – was focused on some obviously talented folks, some hidden talents were unveiled as well. Day one was about stepping outside your comfort zone, new material, fun and letting the music party's flag fly.

Chelsea Call / courtesy of Jetpack Promotions

More than 120 bands will be performing at the 2015 Colorado Music Party at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Can't make it out to Austin? Here are six Colorado Music Party acts you should make a point of checking out live when they return home.

Courtesy of Fort Collins Music eXperiment / (C) 2014 Craig Okraska,

Now in its seventh year, the Fort Collins Music eXperiment is stepping up its game to include some unique acts to its 2015 lineup, including classical music, burlesque and more family-friendly showcases, as well as a special guest performance by The Lumineers' Stelth Ulvang.

Organizers said the move is intended to expand the options for their growing audience.

Jessica Spengler / Flickr - Creative Commons

Did you know that March 14 is National Potato Chip day? Sure, it also happens to be Bake a Pie Day, Pi Day and International Fanny Pack Day, but it also stands in tribute to the salty snack. The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery will be celebrating the spud-born snack a day early with a series of activities.

But why the potato chip?

"A lot of people don’t know that we do grow potatoes up here in Northern Colorado," said museum Public Programs Coordinator Kirk Wilkinson. "In 1990 it was one of our biggest crops."

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Dayton Hicks, bassist for the band Fierce Bad Rabbit, got an unwelcome Christmas surprise back in 2012. Some Grinch had looted the storage unit/rehearsal space they shared with another band of more than $30,000 worth of equipment.

"At first you're kind of in shock and then the reality of the situation sets in and you're just like … 'Great, there goes all of our stuff,'" Hicks said.

As bad as that day was for him, it got people in Fort Collins talking – including Angel Kwiatkowski, a co-working entrepreneur who saw a problem. Why isn't there a dedicated, flexible space for musicians to work?

Stacy Nick / KUNC

It was 2 a.m. on a snowy February night when Daisy Mauterer and Brian Weikel arrived home exhausted after playing a double bill for their bands The B.A.B.E.S and La Cucarachas.

The cold, along with the late hour, and the relative safety of their West Fort Collins neighborhood lulled the couple into deciding to leave their instruments and music gear in the locked car, parked in the driveway, for the night.

"Every musician has done it - we know it's wrong but it felt... like it would be OK," Mauterer said.

It wasn't.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

After 15 years with the Yonder Mountain String Band Jeff Austin stepped away from the band he co-founded. But before hitting the road with his new project, The Jeff Austin Band, the mandolin player did something he hadn't done in 18 years – he took a summer off.

"Not just for myself but for the music in general, I really believe it was truly beneficial to make a clean separation, you know instead of just frolicking along like nothing had happened," Austin said. "It was nice to just pause."

Courtesy of Loveland Opera Theatre

Loveland Opera Theatre is preparing to open the rarely performed show Kismet, but the tale of mystery and romance in Baghdad isn't an opera – it's a Broadway musical. And it's not an easy one.

"I have been waiting for the right opportunity to take this show on," said Loveland Opera Theatre Executive and Artistic Director Juliana Bishop Hoch. "It's a beast."

Stacy Nick / KUNC

SXSW will again be in a Colorado state of mind.

More than 120 bands representing the state will be at the Colorado Music Party in Austin next month, with five days and nights of live performances on Sixth Street starting March 17. Founded by Fort Collins-based music organization SpokesBUZZ, the unofficial SXSW showcase allows local musicians to market themselves at the famed music fest.

Courtesy Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

The Loveland Fire & Ice Festival's snow sculpting competition is feeling the heat. Surely you've noticed that temperatures have been hotter than normal, pushing festival organizers to shift gears for the annual event.

"We plan as far ahead as we can and have Plans A, B, C, and D, and most of those plans have been thwarted," said Nate Webb, owner of Blazen Illuminations, event organizer for the festival. "We made as much snow as we could in the last two weeks and prayed to God that it wouldn't melt."