AEG Live Rocky Mountains to take over booking and operations at Gothic Theatre on January 1
"Our goal has always been to be engaged soup-to-nuts with the artists and the fans," says Strasburg. "Starting from Scott Campbell's Larimer Lounge with the relationships we have, obviously at the Fox and Boulder theaters, the Ogden and Bluebird and now the Gothic, this gives us the best framework to offer artists to enjoy their time in Colorado -- and therefore, we think it only helps develop the music community, because we can have the most flexibility in offering the customer, the fan, the exact perfect place to see the band they love.
"Inherently," he goes on, "if that's done, the artists can put out the best product...they can put on the best show possible. If the band puts on a great show, the fans have a great time. We know this is how you develop the community. This is how we create the highest level of enjoyment of live music, thereby helping everybody grow and get to the next venue, and the whole community flourishes."
Community is the key element here, says Strasburg, and that involves not only striving to create a top-notch live experience, but also continuing the Gothic's long-standing commitment to local music, which it shares with some of AEG's other rooms, such as the Bluebird and Ogden. "Local bands have a relationship with the local community," he notes. "This is where they will get their start, and if they have the ability to bring out enough people, then we should be using these great venues that we have."
While adding the Gothic Theatre has added perks (while state liquor laws still apply, obviously, the ordinances in Englewood allow the venue to stay open later, making it an ideal spot to host the occasional after party, like the upcoming Winter on the Rocks shindig) and is clearly a great business move for AEG -- which launched its local outpost here just half a dozen years ago with no properties to speak of at the time -- Strasburg prefers to focus on the music. For a company like AEG to continue to thrive and for the music scene to stay vibrant, keeping the fans' interests and experience in mind has to be at the core of any plan.
"Instead of thinking of it from a level of business," says Strasburg, "we think of it from a level of music and from experience. The business will all work -- that's fine -- if you do it the right way. I like to say, 'We're not in the music business; we're in the business of providing entertainment for our community.' If we do that job correctly -- if our job is to bring the best music and create the best musical experience for the Colorado community -- the business will work.
"The energy that we all put into creating a great experience to see a concert, to see a live performance, helps make our community appreciate it more, and I think that helps bring a more open-minded and a more focused mentality on live music as something that's part of how we enjoy ourselves in Colorado," he continues, "because the quality of the experience is really good, people enjoy it more maybe here. And because they enjoy it, more people want to go to concerts, because it's fun -- and then more people want to play music at concerts because of how much fun it is. I think it all flows from the effort that we put into the experience.
"And by the way, this isn't just AEG Live. I think all of the people who are involved in bringing concerts to Colorado do this at a really high level. And this is what separates Colorado from almost every other market in the country. The rooms that we have in Colorado," he concludes, "most major cities -- mid-level to major cities -- would be 1,000 percent better, in terms of their musical experience, if they had a quarter of the quality venues we have here. It's true. What we would consider the weakest venue in Colorado would be the absolute state palace in most other markets."