The Aquarium
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Fargo-Moorhead Concerts at The Aquarium

Meet Josie and Ryan Hoffart, the promoters behind the beats at The Aquarium, one of Fargo’s hotspots for live music since ’06. Nestled in downtown Fargo above Dempsey’s, this venue is a launchpad for both local talents and touring bands.

Ryan’s deep-rooted passion for music, which originated long before he used to play in his own band and book his own gigs, drives him to be part of the curating process of elevating local and emerging talent. His commitment to nurturing underground artists is as much of a job as it is a passion, his reward being the sight of these artists’ career progression. Meanwhile, Josie leverages her role to bolster local musical ventures, focusing on collaboration and support within the arts community. Her efforts are key in introducing a kaleidoscope of sounds to the area, making her a perfect liaison between the array of musical talent in the region and the diverse sounds brought to the Aquarium.

Handling everything from social media to event planning, Ryan and Josie wear many hats, yet their enthusiasm for their work never wanes. Their collaborative approach is crucial given the small size of the Aquarium’s team. For Ryan and Josie, to have a great show is a must, but fostering a sense of unity and support among attendees— be it the music enjoyers or the music makers—is the ultimate win.

We’re bringing some of the coolest talent that you’re probably going to kick yourself about not seeing in the next five years,”

– Ryan Hoffart


June 14
Butterlicious (Spankalicious + TATR)

June 15
Purple Rain Dance Party: Celebrating 40 Years of Purple Rain

June 19
Gorgatron & Maul Double Tour

June 21
Fargo TornadoFest: Tailspin, Others, & Ravencrow

July 11
Jade Presents: Etran de L’Aïr & Rosali

July 19
Shotgun Facelift/Mvrrow

June 21
Fargo TornadoFest: Tailspin, Others, & Ravencrow

August 3
HIRS Collective

August 5
Mc Chris & Crunk Witch

August 11
It Came From the Sea (Reunion)

August 25
Nox Novacula

August 27
Maul & Oxygen Destroyer

August 31
Apes of the State (followed by) NOUN (Ex Screaming Females) & LUNG

Meet the Promoter

Ryan Hoffart

Ryan has been an active part of the music scene long before he joined the Aquarium. With a background spanning nearly two decades in the industry, Ryan’s passion for concerts began in the early aughts when he started booking his own band. Known for his dedication to fostering a supportive community for underground artists, Ryan helps to create a space where local talent can grow and connect!

Josie Gereszek

Josie’s journey into the world of music promotion is intertwined with her own musical background, and her approach is influenced by her enthusiasm for community building and her commitment to supporting musical projects. Leveraging her experience and connections to promote a wide range of genres, Josie’s efforts in cultivating the local music scene ensure that the Aquarium remains a cornerstone for new and innovative music in Fargo!

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Best Mems!

Being in the promoter industry, Ryan and Josie have witnessed a lot of incredible moments, but some stick out more than others.

Phoebe Bridgers

“We had Phoebe Bridgers [here] just like, I swear, seconds before she just absolutely blew up,” Ryan said. Hosting soon-to-be artists right before they gain national fame is huge, and happens more than you think. The duo remembers when the now international star, Pheobe Bridgers, booked a show at the Aquarium, bringing out about 80 people. The following month, she shot to fame

Battle of the Hamms

Come out on May 24 at 6:30 p.m.! A tradition, the Battle of the Hamms brings together a diverse group to the Aquarium’s space. Think battle of the bands, but 300 cans of Hamm’s beer as the prize—just friends coming together and having a good time.

Surprise Sellout

Balancing well-known and up-and-coming acts is an important part of the job, and there’s something serendipitous about the moment they realize they chose a crowd-pleaser. Unexpectedly large turnouts for bands are moments they’ll never forget, like when Soccer Mommy visited in 2019 and recently, the local band Ghouls.

“It’s always a pleasant surprise when you discover some community within Fargo-Moorhead that you just weren’t really tapped into. And I think that was certainly the Ghouls situation, they’re absolutely killing it and bringing out those college kids, that’s so important for sustaining the music community overall,” Josie said.

What to Know

The Aquarium is equally unique as it is unconventional. The narrow stairwell leading up to the venue is like falling in reverse through the rabbit hole, as the sounds of the downstairs bar faze out and are replaced by whoever is gracing the stage. In the thick of it, the DIY music community will bask in the low ceiling and tight walls. The energy of a full house (which is easy to come by considering the space’s capacity is 260 (shoulder to shoulder) is palpable. If you haven’t been yet, here’s what you should know.

  • The entrance is at Dempsey’s front doors, off of Broadway.
  • The venue’s building does not have an elevator—but, Ryan noted that if you’re willing, the staff will get you up to see the artists you love.
  • There are both ticketed & free events, for both 21 plus & all-ages held at the Aquarium.
  • The venue is pretty much standing-room only.
  • There is a bar upstairs.
  • There are also bathrooms upstairs!

Get tickets, see the schedule, and more on their Facebook & Instagram!

Written by Geneva Nodland

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