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Deerprint Wine and Bistro, the little venue that could…

Part 1 in a series of articles about music venues in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico

by Mary-Ann Brandon

From left to right: Deb and Ed Donovan, Ann Altemeier. Photo by Mary-Ann Brandon.

LA VETA — When Ed and Deb Donovan opened Deerprint Wine and Bistro in the fall of 2011, neither had any way to know that their vision of an intimate, community-gathering place would evolve into a premier music venue.

Just one year after they hosted their first music concert, Deerprint is established as a place where people can expect high quality music. This will certainly be the case when New West Recording artist, Max Gomez returns to bring his raconteur Americana music back to La Veta on July 22nd at 6 pm. Gomez is becoming a star in the Americana music world. His encore performance drives home the point that something extraordinary is happening when an artist of his stature wants to return to an unassuming, rural town to play on a small stage for a very intimate audience.

The success of this tiny bistro is remarkable as Ed Donovan explained, “because of the nature of the small town, problems that would have been insurmountable in a big city were solved because so many people just stepped up and helped out. As a result I think this wine bar makes a contribution to the community by providing jobs, and giving bands a place to play for decent money.”

By happy coincidence in 2011 Ann Altemeier moved to La Veta with her husband and began looking for a job. On the day before Deerprint was scheduled to open, she introduced herself and was hired almost immediately

During the summer of 2015, a private, impromptu Jazz performance in the courtyard inspired Ed to turn the patio into a music venue. Having no experience, once again he turned to friends in the community who helped to guide him through the process. A friend advised him to build a stage that was constructed by local builder, Woody Arnold. Ann consulted with music professionals to learn the ins and outs of how to book musical acts. By the summer of 2016 the word was out, national touring artists were coming to the venue. As Donovan was advised about the stage, “if you build it, they will come”; they certainly did.

Matthew Tate, who has a primary career as a history teacher speaks so clearly and articulately about how much his summer job means to him. “We don’t work here for a paycheck,” says Tate, “we work here because we love Ed and Deb and we are working to fulfill Ed’s concept to contribute to the community”.

Ann Altemeier is clearly excited by the success of the live performances. She seems amazed when she reports that “people (musicians, booking agents etc.) are reaching out to us from all over the United States”. This in part is due to how well they treat the performers. Altemeier is proud of that fact that the venue gives the artists 100% of ticket sales, a rarity as often venues take a significant percentage for their own overhead. The tiny town and tiny venue are already on the national map, notable for quality entertainment in a quaint atmosphere. They now have to turn artists away, t

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