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Red Rocks revenue doubles in five years, and here's why

081012_skrillex_rr.jpg
A Skrillex show from 2012.
Revenue from Red Rocks Amphitheatre has been steadily increasing, according to numbers provided by the city of Denver, which owns Red Rocks. In 2006, for example, the iconic venue pulled in $5.7 million in revenue, and the total five years ago was just over $7 million. By 2013, the projected revenue (final figures aren't available yet) was $14.6 million.

Why the increase? According to city spokesman Brian Kitts, the reason has to do with the rebounding economy. In recent years, Red Rocks -- which is at the center of a lawsuit filed by four concertgoers who were injured by falling rocks in 2011 and detailed in this week's cover story, "Rocks and Roll" -- has booked more shows and sold more tickets.

The first concert at the Red Rocks amphitheater took place in 1906. According to local historian Tom Noel's book about the iconic venue, Sacred Stones, the first musicians to perform on the Red Rocks stage, as it existed back then, were a 25-piece brass band headed by then-popular Denver bandleader Pietro Satriano.

By the early 1960s, the tenor of the concerts at Red Rocks had changed from brass bands and symphonies to rock and roll. Over the next century, Red Rocks would host some of rock's greats, including the Beatles, Bob Dylan and U2. In recent years, the outdoor amphitheater has hosted performers such as Widespread Panic, Wilco, Wiz Khalifa and the multi-day electronic dance music-centric Global Dance Festival.

So exactly how many events has Red Rocks booked in recent years? And how much money has it made? We've compiled the data below based on information provided by the city and gleaned from Red Rocks' online concert archive.

2006
Number of events, including concerts, Film on the Rocks and graduations: 57
Total revenue: $5,734,602

2007
Number of events: 84
Total revenue: $7,916,556

monolith.festival.red.rocks.2008.565x377.jpg
Mark C. Austin
Fans at the 2008 Monolith Festival at Red Rocks.
2008
Number of events: 74
Total revenue: $7,392,585

2009
Number of events: 70
Total revenue: $7,096,258

dum.dum.girls.red.rocks.2010.565x377.jpg
Aaron Thackeray
The Dum Dum Girls play Red Rocks in 2010.
2010
Number of events: 75
Total revenue: $8,714,104

2011
Number of events: 83
Total revenue: $9,948,758

big.gigantic.red.rocks.2012.565x376.jpg
Britt Chester
The crowd at a Big Gigantic show at Red Rocks in 2012.
2012
Number of events: 100
Total revenue: $12,565,165

2013:
Number of events: 93
Total revenue (projected): $14,606,465

For more on the ongoing lawsuit involving concertgoers who were injured by falling rocks at Red Rocks in 2011, read this week's cover story, "Rocks and Roll."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com


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41 comments
Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

i will say that you have the most amazing facebook profile picture i've ever seen, and I salute you.

Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

right, i'm from Syracuse... where Joe Bonamassa is from. you are from Colorado, where Pretty Lights is from. see? i can make retarded claims, too.

Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

lol, yes Mr. Judd, i know who they are. I don't like EDM... i just don't have my head up my ass as far as the music business goes

David Judd
David Judd

Makes sense after looking at your profile.. you're not even from Colorado.. *face Palm*

David Judd
David Judd

Jason, the last five years?!! Red rocks used to attract great musicians like jethro tull, the rolling stones, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, and countless others for over 100 years.. the last five years didn't create the culture of red rocks. Although it may have ruined part of it until this EDM fad passes. The only concerts worth going to this year seem to be James Taylor, John butler, and Joe bonamassa. If you know who any of them are..

jpkinney7
jpkinney7

Great bands with longevity charge a lot of money and head to the Pepsi Center. Red Rocks would rather book One Hit Wonders + hella EDM shows = More Profit.

End of the Day... Less great music experiences for Live Music fans. The Red Rocks museum plaques will look like a complete joke in 10 years... "Mom/Dad, what was the Global Dance Music Festival?... "what is Bassnectar?" Uhhh, nothing son. Let's head to 1980 thru 2005. Less Profit. Better music.

Steve Conry
Steve Conry

Yeah 'edm' is sooo shitty that they are selling tons of tickets and making record profits. What idiots

Dan Haugan
Dan Haugan

The fact that if you go to a lot of shows, this is a bucket list venue

Christopher Provost
Christopher Provost

So why was Film on the Rocks pleading for money for a digital projector from the public?

Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

and are you suggesting that an artist that sells out red rocks will charge the promoter LESS just because there is one person on stage instead of five? that makes no sense at all. it's up to the band to split up the profit, not up to the promoter to pay more because there's more people on stage. THINK BEFORE POST

Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

yeah, it's JUST the economy... it has nothing to do with the fact that the area has been attracting like minded live music fans in droves that have been building this culture up for the last five years. just the economy!

Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

have you seen the amount of stage production those macbook acts bring with them?

Shalene F. Baird
Shalene F. Baird

Most expensive tickets ever and a better lineup than in previous few years

Pete Copeland
Pete Copeland

The city sold out the rocks to Live Nation. When corporations acquire things, it's to make money, they do this by raising prices and cutting costs. EDM is just what live nation is pushing currently.

Lane Trujillo
Lane Trujillo

Nothing wrong with profit. Find another place that has this great of a setting. I'd say they have a pretty unique venue.

Sean Dolan
Sean Dolan

Dont bullshit yourselves..... A bunch of people with macbooks and a mixer have much lower production costs than full bands with people playing instruments.

Bill MacCallum
Bill MacCallum

Yeah, duh, the ticket price has gotten astronomical.

Philo99
Philo99

They sure are figuring out a way to spend all the extra money quickly on useless projects that destroy the simple and primitive nature that makes Red Rocks so great.


Every time I visit they are doing some new "improvement" that is completely unneeded and damaging. New yellow lines down the middle of the road that completely destroy the scenic nature. New signs telling everyone what they can't do. Overbuilt paths with unneeded handrails. 

The worst of all is the new two story light and concession towers which completely destroy the stage views from the stairs. I always loved the fact you could still see the stage while walking up the stairs towards the bathrooms, now 75% of those views are obstructed from the new monstrosity of a lighting tower.


I wonder who on the Red Rocks board is approving these projects and who's family member is getting the construction contracts.

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