Outpost is every traveling musician’s desert oasis and a place to recharge and create, whether they’re just making a pit stop in El Paso or performing here. The freshly minted, approximately 2,000 square foot facility located at 2317 E. Missouri houses a general store, fully functional kitchen, lounging area, library and recording studio.
El Paso is the first of five U.S. cities to get the facility. The bi-coastal marketing group, the Participation Agency, is the mastermind behind this unique concept. Participation’s co-founder Ruthie Schulder says El Paso’s emerging youth movement and rich cultural identity make it a perfect creative focal point.
“We’re connecting artists to local culture in a way that just makes sense and is really energizing for all parties involved,” Schulder said.
A major goal of Outpost is to expose the community to up-and-coming artists and nurture authentic, meaningful connections.
“[We want to provide a] space to explore different topics and launch a cultural program that’s tapping into El Paso as a community and bringing in people to engage in topics that matter to the community,” said Participation’s Christie Pageler.
Knowing that life on the road for musicians can be expensive, Schulder said Outpost aims to ease financial burdens with free amenities. We’ve rounded up a few of those features. Some parts of Outpost are still under construction, but the entire facility is projected to be complete in about eight weeks.
Necessity breeds innovation, and this is evident at Outpost’s general store. Items ranging from guitar strings and drum sticks to granola bars and soup occupy the shelves. Guests can pick up what they need at no cost.
“It’s really expensive to be on the road, and unless you’re at a certain stage of your career, it’s not very financially viable,” Schulder said. “We’re trying to provide amenities that not only enhance people’s experience, but are cost-saving.”
Schulder says that while Outpost’s recording studio is no Sonic Ranch, it offers a scaled-down, legit space to lay down some tracks, record a podcast or execute an audio interview. Much of the gear has been donated by industry heavyweight Gibson.
The outpost library gets its set of literature from used book stores. Based on the “take a book, leave a book” philosophy, venue staff encourage artists to take a book with them when they hit the road.
Outpost’s staff is also working on a running almanac of various artists and their experiences while on tour. Using the facility as a backdrop, artists will relay their respective stories, which will be captured digitally and published on social media.
“We’re working with them to create amazing content about their lives on the road and what it means to be a cultural creator traversing the country and getting to interact with so many different kinds of people,” Schulder explained. “We want to capture what that is – what that life is like.”
Aiming to provide the quintessential El Paso experience, area businesses and professionals are invited to the venue to provide services.
“We want to really tap into the local ecosystem as much as possible so that the program is very mutually beneficial to both the artists and the community,” Schulder said. “We’re building the experience so that it can touch a lot of people.”
Outpost plans to nurture the careers of rising stars by connecting musicians with local experts to provide business advice and direction.
“We want to provide a resource where they have access to legal advice, financial advice, things to help them get their careers off the ground and things that aren’t so easily accessible to artists who don’t really know how to navigate those industries,” Pageler said.
Locals will also be encouraged to attend artist podcasts. The setting is more intimate than a traditional concert, and therefore encourages conversation between the artists and audience members.
All in all, Outpost is a truly unique innovation designed to ease the travails of life on the road and invigorate the entire creative experience.