Getting down at the Down Lo


There is no doubt that the Chico music and arts scene is booming. From Friday through Sunday nights, it’s hard not to stumble upon some sort of open mic night, comedy show or art gallery while downtown.

This past Friday, there was an impressive open mic night at the Down Lo, and it soon became obvious that this was not a typical open mic night experience. The instruments were supplied and all attendees, young and old, were encouraged to hop on stage to showcase their talents or join together in a group band jam.

Dynamic duo Jodi Foster and Ronnie Macias are the two visionaries and organizers of the whole event.

After a stunning solo performance by Macias, the two artists were quick to articulate a time where they could further explain the inner workings of their business.

Over lunch a few days later, it became obvious that Foster is the head of this particular musical community, and that Ronnie is her right-hand man, as well as one of the event’s most frequent established performers.

Foster attributes her passion for the local music scene to her volunteer work at the Down Lo last year when the venue hosted a 16-day straight concert, unofficially breaking the world record for the longest concert to date.

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Every Friday night from 7:30-11:30 p.m., the Down Lo opens its doors to poets, musicians and artists. Using their own equipment or those provided by Foster and Macias, they have the opportunity to perform in front of an encouraging audience.

According to Foster, the shows are a chance for new and unknown artists in the area to showcase their talent, as well as an opportunity for older Chico musicians to get back into the scene.

Additionally, twice a month on Saturdays from 7-8:30 p.m., the pair hosts another open mic night which they unofficially named, “Band Jam.” Strangers and friends are encouraged to utilize all equipment available and play with one another.

From there, they have scheduled one hour slots for bands to perform from 8:30-10:30 p.m. To reserve a one hour slot, Foster suggests messaging her on Facebook under Jodi Foster.

Though the Down Lo is a known downtown bar, it’s open to all ages until 10 p.m. If you consider yourself a musician, performer or just appreciate a good show, make sure to stop by Down Lo Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. or every other Saturday at 7 p.m. for bands, food, drinks and some serious talent or Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m. for open mic comedy night.

Jackson Sawa can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.