Sense of Place: This all-ages venue is at the heart of the Provo music scene : World Cafe : World Cafe Words and Music Podcast Velour Live Music Gallery and its owner, Corey Fox, have helped launch the careers of bands like Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons and The Moth & The Flame.

Sense of Place: This all-ages venue is at the heart of the Provo music scene

Velour on World Cafe

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Velour Live Music Gallery Stephen Kallao/WXPN hide caption

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Stephen Kallao/WXPN

Velour Live Music Gallery

Stephen Kallao/WXPN

Downtown Provo is not very big, so it may come as a surprise that the same mile-long stretch of University Avenue that houses a few soda shops, cafes and restaurants also houses one of the most important music venues in Utah.

It may come as even more of a surprise that Velour Live Music Gallery has earned that reputation without selling a single ounce of alcohol.

When owner Corey Fox opened Velour in 2006, he wanted music to be the venue's sole focus.

"There's kind of one reason to be here," he says, "and that's the show, the music and the bands."

Inside Velour, there's an oddity covering nearly every square inch of the walls. Stained glass windows frame the stage, and the concession stand is stocked full of sodas and candy. Vinyl records and memorabilia cases near the entrance chronicle all the Provo-area bands that have cut their teeth at Velour: Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, The Aces and The Moth & The Flame are just a few.

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Another Provo export — a band called Sego — is in town during World Cafe's visit. Sego is based in LA now, but drummer Thomas Carroll says the band's time performing in the Provo area was crucial.

"We so desperately wanted to be mainstays at Velour," Carroll says. "We worked ourselves up to that point and got to that place where we were a headlining act in Provo ... When we decided to move to LA, we wanted to take all that culture with us and create that out there, as well."

A lot of that culture was carved out by Fox, who is not only a venue operator but a mentor to Provo's young musicians.

"Since I was a little kid, Corey has been like the godfather of the scene," says Sego's Spencer Petersen.

Corey Fox opened Velour Live Music Gallery in 2006. Stephen Kallao/WXPN hide caption

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Stephen Kallao/WXPN

Corey Fox opened Velour Live Music Gallery in 2006.

Stephen Kallao/WXPN

In this dispatch from our Sense of Place: Provo series, we'll take you inside Velour to learn more about what makes it special, why being a dry venue is actually part of Velour's success, and the lengths the Provo music community has gone to to ensure Velour — and Corey Fox — stick around for a long time.

Also, make sure to check out our story on June Audio, the recording studio that's just a short walk from Velour.

This episode of World Cafe was produced and edited by Miguel Perez. Our senior producer is Kimberly Junod and our engineer is Chris Williams. Our programming and booking coordinator is Chelsea Johnson and our line producer is Will Loftus.

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