Connie Hanrahan, Alumni Association Lifetime Member and founder/chief relationship strategist for Mantooth Company, has been waiting for this moment for the past two years. Ever since she and Mantooth Company took over the production of the Lagoon Concert Series 25 years ago, she has always looked forward to the event that she and her staff fondly refer to as “Connie’s baby.”
It’s been a sleeping baby for the past two years – the series was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2021 version was a much smaller event – and Hanrahan hasn’t been the only person ready for the event to come back in full force.
“The ‘Lagooners,’ the people who come every year, were really upset, and I would spend hours every day responding to emails or taking calls from people asking when the series would be back,” she said.
It was an emotional moment when Hanrahan did her first walkthrough of the concert area this past spring, and what really made her realize how long it had been since the event last took place was how big the trees had grown.
“It felt like the trees had gone on steroids,” she said with a laugh. “They seemed so tall from the last time I saw them.”
The Lagoon Concert Series is a storied Colorado State University tradition and, like the best of traditions, no one is really sure how it began.
“I’ve heard from folks how they attended the concerts back in the 70s and 80s when they weren’t organized. It was just a band that decided to play and a hundred people sitting on the grass enjoying the music,” she explained.
At some point, the Rocky Mountain Collegian got involved, and it was mostly a student-run event with no stage and about 300 people attending each concert. Then, in 1997, the Spring Creek Flood hit Fort Collins and devastated the CSU campus.
“At that time, Mantooth had the community concert experience, and we got a call from [Rocky Mountain Collegian Advertising Manager] Kim Blumhardt asking if Mantooth would be interested in taking over the production and promotion of the series,” Hanrahan said. “We met, came to an understanding, and for 25 years Mantooth has produced and presented the Lagoon Concert Series for the community.”
With Hanrahan and her company in the lead, the concerts have blossomed into a seven-week series with an average of 2,000 people attending each show. And Hanrahan made sure to keep the student element in tact – the Lagoon Concert Series team is made up mostly of CSU student interns and Mantooth invites RAMProductions to film the events, do band interviews, and help students in that program gain real world event production experience.
“RAMProductions has the most dedicated students who have so much fun being a part of it all,” she said. “I get such joy talking with our interns the morning after a concert to hear what their favorite part of the show was. They feel real ownership over the series.”
But like most everything, coming out of the pandemic hasn’t been easy for the event. Hanrahan felt that most when she began reaching out to local businesses who for years have helped sponsor the series.
“There wasn’t one sponsor who wasn’t hit hard by the pandemic,” she said. “Everyone gave what they could, but we were still several thousand dollars short. That’s when Canvas Credit Union stepped up and helped us cover the rest of the cost. It’s the first time they’ve been involved and we’re all so happy they’re joining us this year.”
The biggest expenditure for the series, Hanrahan added, is the sound. With a focus on local, Colorado-based, and up-and-coming bands (not to mention several with Ram alumni), Hanrahan said it’s imperative to provide high-quality sound for the enjoyment of the bands and the audience alike.
“One of my favorite parts of producing the series is calling bands to invite them to come play,” she said. “I never have to explain what the Lagoon Concert Series is. They all say they’ve been wanting to do it for so long and can’t believe they finally got the call.”
Getting the bands together may be her favorite part, but what Hanrahan truly loves about being involved with the concert series is seeing how much joy it brings. For the past 25 years, Hanrahan has taken to walking through the audience chatting with concertgoers and finding immense joy in watching multiple generations play, dance, and just enjoy the communal experience that comes with listening to live music.
“We’re so proud for this to be our 25th year,” Hanrahan concluded. “We just want to continue to grow this event. Not necessarily in attendance, but in the type of joyful experience we’re delivering to this wonderful community.
More than 10,000 people have attended the Lagoon Concert Series this summer. With two more concerts in the line-up, the Lagoon is the place to be. Gather your friends and family and arrive early to enjoy a picnic dinner or delicious menu items from on-site food trucks. Mantooth partners with Colorado State University to feature interactive booths showcasing various CSU programs, research, and resources. Be sure to have your camera ready on July 20 when CSU student athletes will be on site to play volleyball and basketball with concert attendees. They will also have autograph books to begin capturing your favorite players’ autographs for all CSU sports this upcoming season.
Here’s the lineup for the rest of the series:
July 20 – Rusty 44
Bluegrass is in the blood of this rustic roots band from the Front Range. Bringing unique acoustic styles with banjo accents, this band consists of Fort Collins native Stacy Heikes, Dave Jensen from Blytheville, Arkansas, Colorado native Mike Smith, Derek Crane from North Lake Tahoe, and Wes Tucker from Oklahoma.
July 27 – The Wendy Woo Band
Denver singer and songwriter Wendy Woo is coming to rock out on her acoustic and electric guitar all night long. Woo won the Westworld Music Award five times and is coming to show us why on July 27. Woo and her band play over 100 songs in various genres like folk, jazz, blues, rock and pop. Woo has it all, and you do not want to miss a night of dancing, singing and rocking out.