A ‘venueless venue,’ Yampa Valley Entertainment looks to do it all in the event space
Last weekend, Buffalo Commons brought down the house at the Hayden Center, and the happiest person in the venue may well have been Yampa Valley Entertainment’s Nick LaGorga.
“I myself wanted my business to be located right here in Hayden,” LaGorga said of his new startup. “There are a lot of people moving here from Steamboat, and other places, and we just don’t have very much a nightlife right now.”
LaGorga, who lives in Hayden, is hoping his new business venture, Yampa Valley Entertainment, will change that, and his plan is to bring new entertainment options to Hayden including regional talent and, someday, bigger name entertainers.
Mathew Mendisco, Hayden town manager, was also thrilled Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, when people from Hayden, Steamboat and Craig packed into the 300-seat auditorium at the Hayden Center to enjoy friends, music and even a little dancing in the aisles of the former high school auditorium.
“Buffalo Commons was last weekend, and it rocked the Hayden Center,” Mendisco said. “Everybody had a ton of fun, and everybody who was at the concert was great.”
Mendisco said it was also rewarding that the company handling the video and sound, as well as other aspects of the show, is owned and operated by Hayden’s LaGorga, who earned $10,000 in Hayden’s first business pitch competition.
“Nick is starting to take that seed money, and he’s really starting to grow, and that’s the whole point,” Mendisco said. “We had the plans to do a concert series and everything else, but having a partnership with him — because he knows Buffalo Commons and a lot of other things — it makes it easier. So he’s doing his thing, He’s making a living, and Hayden folks are getting bands, and maybe a comedy show and everything else. It’s a win-win.”
Yampa Valley Entertainment won the contest, which was part of the Hayden Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Project. Yampa Valley Entertainment was followed by the Hayden Farmers Market, which received $3,000, and Hayden Tire, which took home $1,000.
The winners were announced last August, and LaGorga wasted little time in investing in the equipment he needed to get Yampa Valley Entertainment off the ground.
“I was awarded some seed money, and I went out and bought a full (public address) system to add to what I was already collecting,” LaGorga said. “Now I essentially have all the gear, and the know-how to operate the equipment, so that I can put on events at different venues. I’m like a venueless venue.”
LaGorga said the Buffalo Commons show was second of 12 shows that the he will produce for the town of Hayden this year. He also did a couple of shows in Steamboat over Winter Carnival and is already looking forward to Hayden Days and the farmers market.
He will welcome Jay Roemer and Friends, along with opening performer Adia Clark Lay, for a concert from 4:40-8 p.m. at the Hayden Granary.
In addition to concerts, his business can provide service for anyone wanting to put on a fundraiser, a family reunion, a wedding or some other kind of special event.
“I will book the bands, I will bring in all the equipment, and I’ll set everything up. I will either run sound or have a sound technician there with me, and I’ll either run lights or have a different light technician with me. We will put on a full-blown show, start to finish,” LaGorga said. “That way people who have the funds to put on and event — but don’t necessarily have the equipment, or the people that run the equipment — can rely on me to come in and put on the show.”
LaGorga said he can also handle the advertising, the digital marketing, the digital art for posters and advertisements and handle social media. His website yampavalleyentertainment.com has a listing of all upcoming events.
LaGorga first moved to Steamboat Springs in 2016. Soon thereafter, he found a place with the band Acutonic and opened at the Steamboat Free Concert Series for artists like Stephen Marley and Tribal Seeds. He has also worked at venues like the Old Town Pub as a sound engineer and the Strings Music Festival as a stage hand, and, most recently, stage manager. He also produces an online publication, “Good Morning Acoustics,” where he recognizes local talent.
This year, LaGorga is adding Yampa Valley Entertainment to his list. He said he will trailer in all the equipment and work with venues to put on events.
Most recently, he has been focused on the Hayden Center, which he said was slated to close down after the Buffalo Commons gig for some renovations.
“The plans that they have for the theater are phenomenal,” he said. “It looks very similar to the Strings theater. … It’s going to be big, and really fancy, which is awesome. If I can maintain my relationship with town throughout the years, I would love to be a part of utilizing that theater and bringing in some really large acts.”
For now, he plans to stay focused on the wealth of talented musicians that can be found in the Yampa Valley, but he can’t help but look to the future.
“I know that if the interest is shown, and the budgets are adequate, we can get in some really big names,” LaGorga said. “I think it’s going to really be a life-changing event for everybody who’s involved.”
Thanks to the money he received from the Hayden business contest and his love for music, things have already begun to change for LaGorga.
“I’ve worked with some big names, I’ve worked with some small names, but overall I’ve helped put on a lot of good shows, and now I’m just kind of trying to do it for myself,” LaGorga said. “My goal is to put on great shows and having memorable experiences for my clients, the artists that I work with and all the people that come out to listen and watch.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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