Ogden might be known for high crime rates and old buildings, but its reputation for a thriving local scene is on the rise. In fact, there’s a blog completely dedicated to all things independent, local and DIY about Ogden, Utah.
Indie Ogden is a blog dedicated to letting the world know about the events, art, history and culture of “the coolest town you’ve never heard of.”
Mikaela Shafer, the creator and editor of Indie Ogden, is originally from Portland, Oregon.
“I was terrified when we were going to move here,” Shafer said. “I had never even been to Utah. I mean, I drove through, but I never stopped here. So when they said we were moving to Ogden and I looked it up on a map, I just cried.”
Now two years later, Shafer said she wants to raise her children here.
When Shafer first moved to Ogden, she originally started the blog to let her family in Oregon know what Ogden was like. But now it seems that “home” has changed locations.
“I just got back from visiting Portland, and all I could think about was going home. I just wanted to be back in Ogden.”
Shafer said she calls Ogden “Little Portland.” She said it has the same DIY attitude and community vibes that many seek in Portland, but it’s contained in a smaller space.
“So everyone has an opportunity to have a voice in Ogden. In bigger cities, you can get lost. But everyone has a voice in Ogden.”
Jenny Shaw, Indie Ogden’s “Organatrix” and co-editor, said she shares Shafer’s love for Ogden.
“Ogden is about diversity and supporting each other more than anything,” Shaw said. “It’s like a big family. Word of mouth is ridiculous in Ogden, and it’s not a bad thing all the time.”
Indie Ogden aims to spotlight local artists, whether that art comes through writing, music, photography or other media. If local musicians want exposure, the Indie Ogden team is willing to help out for free.
Shafer said if local musicians can just get the writers into their shows, the blog will spotlight them.
“When people are excited about us, we’re excited about them. So when people invite us to things, we want to promote them and help them as much as possible.”
Indie Ogden doesn’t just get invited to local concerts. The writers attended the final shoot of a movie filmed in Ogden, they’ve been invited to private viewings of films, and they get free tickets to other events as well. In exchange, the blog promotes events.
Lauren Gardner, one of Indie Ogden’s editors, said in an e-mail interview that the biggest perk of working with the blog is the people she’s met.
“I interviewed several athletes from the Dew Tour who were rad. My favorite was probably talking to one of the owners of Squatters beer. There was a big release party for their ‘Hops Rising’ Double IPA brew, and I got a fantastic interview from him about local beer.”
This December will mark the blog’s second anniversary, and it is now loaded with advertisements from local companies.
But that doesn’t mean Indie Ogden is rolling in the dough. Shaw said the work they do is currently pro bono.
Shafer said any time they hear of a charity, Indie Ogden donates money, even if it’s only $10. Through sponsorships, Indie Ogden was able to raise $2,000 for the TEARS Foundation. She said the majority of money raised for the blog is donated to charity.
On Aug. 30, Indie Ogden is hosting a meet-and-greet at Grounds For Coffee on Harrison Boulevard from 6-9 p.m. If anyone is interested in joining Indie Ogden, they can meet the crew and learn how to get involved. Indie Ogden is looking for writers, photographers and graphic designers, among other positions.
Shaw said they need people who will do everything they can to help Ogden.
“They have to love Ogden,” Shaw said.
People who miss the meeting can contact Indie Ogden’s staff through e-mail or Facebook. Gardner said people can also support the blog by simply spreading the word.
“If you see a post you liked, or an event you want your friends to go to, repost, re-tweet, re-pin! We get so many clicks that way, which boosts business for our sponsors, which keeps us alive!”
Shafer said Indie Ogden is open to tips about local events and artists, and that anyone can send suggestions their way.
More information is available at www.indieogdenutah.com or www.facebook.com/indieogden.