Red Rocks Kicks It Into Overdrive
There will be over 150 shows at Red Rocks in 2018.
They say "the only constant is change." I'm not sure who "they" are but they're right about the music industry. It's changing, bigtime. There was a time when bands sought record deals and label support to take their music, record it, produce it, distribute, promote it to radio, and then market it across the country. After the album was released the band would go on tour to support its sale. That was the formula to "strike it rich" as a rock star. It's completely reversed today. Bands basically give their music away and go on tour to make money. Red Rocks and other venues are evolving to keep up with that trend. In 2018 season Red Rocks plan to host 150 concerts for an estimated 1.5 million fans.
"Five years ago we were doing 78 shows a year," says Red Rocks spokesman Brian Kitts, "But the touring industry has changed now. So, musicians don’t make money from record sales or downloads; they only make money when they hit the road."
It's a major undertaking. Planning for the 2018 season basically began when the last tour bus pulled away at the end of 2017. The venue plans to hire an additional 100+ workers this season and every night a crew of 25 will pick up trash for hours after the lights come back on. All of it must be sorted, bagged, hauled away or sent to be recycled.
Feeding 9,000 hungry music fans at a sold-out Red Rocks show means food preparation on another level. "We plan on serving about 50,000 pizzas this year, and we’re going to probably make enough smoked pork green chile to fill a couple of hot tubs," says Craig Luckmann, Red Rocks food and beverage manager. With twice as many shows this year than there was just a few years ago, it's taken twice the effort.
The live music business is expected to continue to grow over the next few years. That means more concerts than ever. That's good news for live music fans! However, what happens when there are more tours than working men and woman can afford to buy a ticket to attend? Will there come a day when too many tours will mean the end of the music industry forever?
Credit: The Denver Channel