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Online ‘rock stars’ to meet their Utah fans at CVX Live

First Published      Last Updated Aug 03 2015 09:54 am

Internet event » Gathering in Orem aims to be ‘like Comic Con for YouTube.’

It all started when Mindy McKnight was styling her daughters' hair in the morning.

"People would see the different hairstyles I did, and they asked me how I did it," said McKnight, a mother of six — five girls and a boy.

McKnight decided to start an instructional blog, with photos. But some of the hairstyles were complicated enough that the photos were insufficient. So McKnight had her husband shoot video on his flip-phone, and posted the results on YouTube.

That was more than six years ago, when the McKnights lived in Lehi. (The family moved to Dallas two years ago). Now, McKnight's YouTube channel Cute Girls Hairstyles has nearly 3.6 million subscribers, and brings in enough money that McKnight's husband quit his day job three years ago to run the video business.

"It was sort of by accident, to be honest," McKnight said over the phone this week.

McKnight is one of dozens of YouTube video makers who will appear at CVX Live, a convention for creators and fans that's being billed as the first of its kind in Utah. The event happens Friday and Saturday at UCCU Center in Orem.

Where other YouTube conventions, such as the recently completed VidCon in Anaheim, Calif., are designed to let video creators network with each other, CVX Live is aimed at connecting creators with fans.

"We're developing this more like Comic Con for YouTube," said AJ Clayson, the event coordinator.

McKnight and Clayson both noted that Utah's I-15 corridor is a hotbed for YouTube videomakers.

"We've got a lot of creative people here in Utah," Clayson said. "We've got people who see something they like to do, and they start filming it."

A recent addition to that Utah YouTube community is Jessica Frech (rhymes with "heck"), a 23-year-old singer-songwriter who moved to Orem from her native Nashville two months ago.

Frech started regularly posting videos in 2012. "I noticed a lot of my favorite musicians were starting to get picked up on YouTube," Frech said. "I thought it would be a quicker of way of getting to an audience."

Her first efforts were musical parodies — for example, a ditty about Black Friday shopping to the tune of Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night." More recently, her videos have featured more serious songs, both originals and covers (including a rendition, posted Thursday, of the title song from the Pixar short "Lava").

Switching from comic songs to serious material was a bit of a rough transition, she said, but it's been worth it. "The fan base I have now is more genuine and passionate," Frech said. "I'm finally doing stuff that allows me to portray more Jessica."

Frech will appear on the main stage at CVX Live, as will some of the rock stars of the online-video world, Clayton said. They include the following:

GloZell Green, whose comic videos have garnered 3.8 million subscribers — and a visit last year from President Barack Obama.

Devin Super Tramp, creator of extreme-sports videos that draw 3.3 million subscribers.

"The Hillywood Show," a sister duo who make song-and-dance parodies.

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CVX Live

The first CVX Live, a fan convention for watchers and makers of YouTube videos.

Where » UCCU Center, 800 University Parkway, Orem

When » Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7-8, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Tickets » $20 for a one-day adult pass; $35 for a two-day adult pass; $12 for children (ages 4 to 17); $75 for a two-day VIP pass (which comes with a collectible lanyard badge, T-shirt and swag bag); available at http://CVXLive.com.

Information » Go to http://CVXLive.com