Steve’s Guitars strumming along |

Steve’s Guitars strumming along

Janet Urquhart
Aspen, CO Colorado
Steve Standiford's vintage guitar shop in Carbondale is a popular venue for live music and one that will stick around, thanks to a new long-term lease for the space. (Paul Conrad/Aspen Times file)

CARBONDALE ” It has been close to a year since the owner of Steve’s Guitars put out a plea for support to keep the struggling Carbondale concert venue alive.

The response gave Steve Standiford the confidence to sign a long-term lease for his space in the Dinkel Building, he reported Wednesday in an e-mail, assuring fans and supporters that the venue’s future is secure.

“I try not to get overconfident, but it sure seems a lot more secure than it did last spring,” said Standiford, who runs the vintage guitar shop and listening room with his wife, Mary Margaret O’Gara. They first began offering live music in the Fourth Street building in downtown Carbondale more than a decade ago.

Last spring, though, Standiford warned supporters the venue was in danger of closing in the face of increasing rent. The community subsequently stepped up, offering accommodations and meals to traveling musicians, helping work the door and hang posters, packing the house for shows that charged more admission than had previously been the norm, and creating a website for Steve’s. And, Standiford said, the shop has struck a reasonable lease agreement with its Aspen-based landlords.

The shop has been booked for live music, nonprofit meetings, local fund-raisers, comedy and other uses on nearly 150 dates since last spring, he said. Agents have also discovered Steve’s, and touring bands from around the country and beyond have made appearances on the tiny stage. Live music on Fridays at Steve’s is a staple of Carbondale’s entertainment scene.

“It has always been a pleasure hearing live music in our listening room and we look forward to continuing doing so. We are very pleased that our first public appeal for help received a strong response from the community,” wrote Standiford in his e-mail. “Our shop is important to many of you for a wide variety of reasons and it’s true that it does take a village to keep it going. We thank everyone who has helped keep our musical adventure alive and thriving.

“We are happy to say that no other public appeals for help are anticipated,” he added. “You can stop worrying about our future survival and just come out and enjoy the shows with us. That feels good to say and we hope it is good news for everyone who has enjoyed our store.”

With the future secure, Standiford has also announced plans for a new series of concerts he dubbed NEXT ” for New, Emerging, X-citing Talent ” giving young musicians an opportunity to perform.

“This is, I hope, going to draw a lot of young folks,” Standiford said. “I’m really trying to keep a venue open for the young musicians and their fans.”

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is