The room is dim. There are odd paintings on the wall and antique furniture in the corner. Some guests are seated around the room looking at their phones, but most stand in front of the stage waiting anxiously for the opening act to come out. The crowd prepares for yet another show at the Velour with audible chatter and a vibrant energy.
On Jan. 16–17, the Velour will be celebrating nine years of business. That’s nine years of providing opportunities for up-and-coming artists to perform, as well as music and entertainment for residents of Utah County.
Local musician Corey Fox created the venue in January of 2006. Fox foresaw the potential of Provo as a music hub in Utah and decided to open the Velour exclusively for live music. The Velour prides itself on the environment it provides, which is unlike other music venues in the Provo area.
“I think there are a lot of things that make Velour unique to other venues, but the two most mentioned are probably the atmosphere/decor and how hands on we are with the development of bands,” Fox said. “Many local and touring bands have called Velour their favorite venue of its kind in the country, and it’s usually because of the unique atmosphere and attentive crowds.”
Another unique feature about the Velour is that it does not sell alcoholic beverages. While an ice-cold beer is considered a staple at most music venues and festivals, Velour guests will have to go elsewhere to find alcohol. Due to its close proximity to Brigham Young University, the venue caters to a specific audience, which is largely made up of students at the school.
“The Velour is just a fun, cozy environment. I feel like it’s a place where you can really be yourself and enjoy others doing what they love,” said Drew Dubois, a junior at BYU.
The Velour attracts a variety of guests with several different genres and types of performances, including open-mic night, Battle of the Bands, acoustic showcases and other local performers.
Over the years, the Velour has provided the means for several new artists and bands to gain publicity and build a name for themselves. Coin in the Sea, Westward the Tide, the Brocks and Desert Noises are all local bands who have gained popularity through shows at the Velour.
“I wanted to open a venue that would not only supply a stage to play on but also a foundation to develop as an artist. Since we opened our doors nine years ago we have had an unprecedented amount of talent start on our stage and move on to have national success,” said Fox, founder of the Velour.
Na-G, a local hip-hop artist who has performed at the Velour a number of times for open-mic night, described the importance of the Velour for new performers.
“The Velour is like a mile-mark or prerequisite for music. If you want to be noticed in music, you have to play at the Velour,” Na-G said.
Na-G got started by creating and producing music in his free time, while also performing at open-mic nights at the Velour. After performing there several times, he was eventually approached by a manager who encouraged him in booking a spot for an actual show.
“As a hip-hop artist, the Velour gave me that chance. They saw potential and helped me establish a music career,” Na-G said.
The venue encourages prospective artists to check out the location and includes the email for booking on its website, making it easy for anyone that is interested.
Several bands that have played at the Velour during its nine years of operation have even made it onto the Billboard Charts. Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons and the Local Natives are all bands with Billboard hits that have performed at the Velour.
Fox has high hopes for the future of the music venue.
“There are a lot of exciting things in the works for this year and especially for next year’s 10-year anniversary,” Fox said. “In general, though, our goal is to just keep the standard that has already been set.”
NA-G will be performing on Jan. 14, right before the Velour kicks off its anniversary celebration that weekend. The venue will host local favorites like the Moth & the Flame, The New Electric Sound, Mount Saint and more.