The roots of the Diverse Emerging Music Organization (DEMO) can be traced back to a former non-profit arm of First Avenue & 7th St Entry that was known as the Diverse Arts and Music Foundation (DAMF). Our mission today is very similar to what it was then: to promote, support, and educate emerging independent musicians, as well as communities eager for rich, multi-cultural experiences. DAMF was re-organized outside of First Ave as DEMO by Steve McClellan in 2005 when he parted ways with club after serving 32 years as General Manager.
We believe that music has the power to bridge barriers and that musical diversity is critical to maintaining a vibrant culture and community. We also believe that the most inspired music today comes from the multitude of passionate, innovative, and hard-working independent musicians who are cultivating their own paths.
Since our inception, DEMO has showcased hundreds of emerging artists at dozens of venues throughout the Twin Cities. DEMO has promoted shows by Patti Smith, K’naan, Lucky Dube, The Hold Steady, and the Twilight Hours. We’ve benefited from (and helped share) First Avenue’s rich history through the 35th Anniversary Bootlegs CD, the screening of Rich Fuller’s film “Hay Day”, and a month long series featuring the landmark venue’s recently discovered “Basement Tapes”.
DEMO has held educational music industry panels and discussions with MNartists.org and Springboard for the Arts at both McNally Smith College of Music and Summit Brewery on topics such as “Breaking into TV and Movie Music Licensing, "How I Learned To Survive In The Indie Music World", "The Ins And Outs Of Indie Music", viral marketing, and the future of music. We offer volunteer and internship opportunities, where students can learn first-hand about the music business and work with both musicians & the professionals who work with them.
DEMO showcases give musicians the opportunity to connect with their peers and develop their artistic vision. This process also allows DEMO to provide audiences with access to a community rich in authentic artistic and cultural experiences. In turn, musicians are given access to attendees eager for diverse, multi-cultural experiences. The reputation, environment, and community aspect of our events, draws music fans that may have no idea who is performing before they arrive. DEMO fills a void by providing “unheard and unseen” musicians with a stage to develop and grow while creating a larger and more connected pool of local musicians with experience, name recognition, and audiences.