Strolling down Larimer Street on a warm August evening, all business seemed as usual. But making my way up the side entrance of The Ramble Hotel, the faint vibrations of music became clear. On the rooftop garden, under the bright red hue of a neon Wish You Were Here sign, a packed crowd watched as Grammy-winner Eric Benny Bloom of Lettuce, Borahm Lee of Pretty Lights and Drew Sayers of The Motet played one of the most mesmerizing music sets I’ve ever seen. With the bar stocked with natural wine from Benny & Zoid Selections, the crowd danced with drinks in hand under the disco ball. Tucked away above the streets of RiNo was the soirée of the summer. But for Motherfunk Events, this was just another Friday Night.
Motherfunk Events founder Madeleine Stegman has had a deep appreciation for art and aesthetics from a young age. Raised in Ohio, her parents passed down a love for what she called “fringy music” and “offbeat art.” She has spent the last eight years creating both a career and home in Colorado — and she has certainly made her mark.
While she has dabbled in both the music and art industries, Stegman’s event planning career began at Foreign Form, a brick and mortar gallery, store and event space formerly in RiNo. It was here that she was first able to bring together all three of her passions – art, music and community – to form a network of incredible local artists, musicians and venues.
“I’ve always admired any industry that brings humans together,” Stegman explained. “There’s something special about an event that unites people for a collective purpose. A shared purpose or interest can help foster community and strengthen interpersonal relationships. In events, that purpose could be music, art, food or purely human connection. That in itself was a big draw to the industry for me — to create an environment where people walk out feeling a little more connected, a little more whole from when they stepped inside.”
Inspired to create something unique, the conception of Motherfunk Events began two years ago, but it was far from an easy journey. Set to launch at the start of the pandemic, Stegman was forced to put the business on hold. But despite the world being put on pause and the future of the event industry unknown, she was far from discouraged.
“I believe this period actually helped me slow down, and let Motherfunk breathe and grow into the form it’s in now,” Stegman said.
And grow it did. Officially launched at the start of this summer, Motherfunk radiates the vibe of the ’60s and ’70s. Their Instagram feed is emblematic of that, featuring vintage photographs, bright colors and the ultimate retro feel.
“The colors, patterns, dance, style, music, the spirit of longing for freedom and free love. I resonate with it,” she said. “Of course, things were far from perfect then, but there’s something that can be taken from every part of human history. Freedom is big — it’s everything. You can feel free in just a moment.”
Beyond the aesthetic, Stegman hopes that her events will evoke a feeling of nostalgia, allowing her party-goers to tap into their inner child.
“As adults, we often get caught up in the things we “have” to do. We work long hours, take care of others and sometimes it feels like we’re just trying to stay above water. We don’t get to play the way we used to as kids, because we think we aren’t allowed to, or that it’s silly. We all still need that. We should be able to feel into the joys of life sometimes.”
Since its start back in June, Motherfunk has hosted a number of unique events around Denver. In an effort to uplift female and non-binary voices, Stegman partnered with friend Rachel Roller to host a Pride Week celebration at Fort Greene. A portion of the profits going towards Center on Colfax, the evening was lively, featuring performances from two female DJs, a drag show and an epic dance party in the rain.
Stegman works to ensure each event is entirely different from the last. From an artist’s market at The Parlour to a soiree on The Ramble Hotel rooftop, Stegman collaborates with Denver’s most unique venues and performers to create not just an event, but an experience.
“I want the events to feel like they are made by the community — a collective collaboration to create something meaningful for people. With each event, Motherfunk is typically partnering with other incredible individuals or groups. I think this creates a beautiful melting pot of creativity, inspiration, diverse perspectives and further builds community,” Stegman said.
But not to worry, the parties won’t stop with the summer. From September 17-19, Motherfunk will be partnering with Archipelago Clubs to host Hidden Lands Festival. The mini festival and forest disco will be held at Beyul Retreat, a 32-acre ranch just an hour outside of Aspen.
“This weekend will incorporate art, wellness and music. It is designed to help bring out your inner child. We want people to play, dance in the forest, and feel the freedom to let go and show up authentically as themselves,” Stegman said.
In just a short three months, Motherfunk Events has made a name for itself as one of Denver’s most unique and exciting event companies. Yet there is still so much to come. Stegman has big plans for the future, hoping to give back to the Denver community by partnering with more non-profits and even opening a brick-and-mortar location.
“The goal is to create a space where attendees can experience authentic connection, joy and pure self-expression through an open, supportive environment where all are welcome. If that kind of container can be intended and created, especially during this very uncertain time in human history, and someone that attends can find that moment of joy and freedom, that means the absolute world to me,” she said.
To find out more about Motherfunk and upcoming events, check out their Instagram page or email Madeleine Stegman at [email protected]. Tickets to their upcoming event, Hidden Lands Music Festival, are limited and can be bought at Beyul’s website using code “hiddenlands.”