Do the Operators of Red Rocks Support the EDM Community? "Oh, Hell, Yeah!"
There are some new regulations in place for Red Rocks Amphitheatre this season, which you can read about here.
Because there has been some controversy surrounding these changes, we asked Denver Arts and Venues Marketing and Communication Director Brian Kitts to talk about how these changes will (or won't) affect the experience for fans and how they came about.
Mary Willson: Why did these regulations get put in place?
Brian Kitts: The easy answer is these were prompted by complains of residents that live nearby, and when you start looking at number of complaints and the people getting involved, which include the town of Morrison and the county commission, we realized that is makes sense to look at some of these restrictions.
The interesting thing about Red Rocks is that it's a living breathing venue. It opened 74 years ago, and a lot of things have changed in that time. With the advent of EDM, with the advent of some of the pyro stuff that happens on stage...every once in a while you need to make some changes.
How involved was the town of Morrison in creating these rules?
The residents started the process, because the town government got involved and hired a consultant, and we hired a consultant of our own. The numbers didn't particularly match up, but last summer we put some different restrictions in that had more to do with the start stop times, and we asked for some voluntary decibel level attention. And this year, after we went through a whole summer of doing decibel measuring, we found a decent level that doesn't affect the shows, but hopefully makes the residents a little happier.
How might these changes affect the concert season for fans and nearby residents
I think we have been respectful of their desire for changes that might affect their enjoyment of where they live. Those are, specifically, the stop times and the noise levels. We've moved them up a little bit. But I don't think concert goers are going to notice them at all. This isn't like Fiddler's Green, where there is a strict curfew in place: One minute past the witching hour, we pull the plug. It's not like that. I hope residents will notice and appreciate the changes we have made.
That being said, they moved into neighborhoods next to an amphitheater that has been around for 74 years, and it is a music venue, and music is occasionally loud, and the show must go on. We also recognize there are certain styles of music that tend to be louder, and we are there every night. The best thing we can do for promoters and musicians themselves is to work with the consultants to reach some consistencies throughout the shows. I think the audience isn't going to really notice these changes.
Some fans have raised the point that EDM shows may be more susceptible to being affected by these regulations, because EDM music is generally a loud genre. Are these regulations equal to all genres of music?
This is tough for me, because I am an EDM fan, so I understand it. But in my gut, I believe that this isn't going to be a noticeable change for 99 percent of fans. If you're a sound expert who sits at the sound table and can see the frequencies go up and down, you may see a difference, but let's face it, when you're there in a crowd with nine thousand people and you're in that zone, when you feel a drop...I don't think they're going to notice.
When it comes down to it, part of the Red Rocks experience is being in the venue with that many people and seeing a performer that you really want to see. And to be clear, this isn't like hearing Avicii in a club, where there is roof. This is an outdoor venue. But, like I said, my gut tells me that 99 percent of the fans aren't going to notice.
What feedback have you gotten on these regulations from promoters and artists?
This will be the heaviest season for EDM music that Red Rocks has ever had. So clearly, the regulations aren't restricting them, they believe they can put on an effective show. There is a misconception that EDM is under attack and the sound levels are going to be fifty percent of what they were last year, and that's just not the case. What you're doing is shaving off certain high points of the show, to the point that you aren't going to notice. We're not saying, "The volume gets turned down by 75 percent." There are certain peaks that are going to be affected, but I don't think the normal EDM fan is going to notice.
Do you support the EDM community?
Oh hell yeah! As fans ourselves, we understand the value of the community. The history of Red Rocks is also the history of pop music in america. And right now, EDM is America's music. We value it from an audience standpoint and, frankly, it makes us money. So, we don't want to do anything that would interfere with that business or genre, and it was never about the genre. It was about, "How do we reach a compromise so that in certain parts of the show, you have less interference with what happens in a neighbor's house?"
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