Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom and its little brother, Cervantes' Other Side, have been a hallmark for Denver concertgoers for well over a decade now, and these stomping grounds show no signs of slowing their roll. With fourteen years under their belt of hosting world-famous musicians, local up-and-comers and everyone in between, Cervantes is throwing a two-night party to celebrate its anniversary, fans and supporters. Westword spoke with Scott Morrill, founder and co-owner of Cervantes, to find out what's in store.
Westword: Congratulations on all of your team's achievements. How does it feel to be celebrating the 14th anniversary of Cervantes?
Morrill: It’s a really great feeling. I think the venue has been getting a little bit better each year, which is a very good thing. It feels good to be supported and to be around for that long.
I’m sure it’s very exciting. How has Cervantes been reshaped over your fourteen years with the venue?
We’ve put in a new sound system, we redid the stage, and have done a lot of work to the Other Side. We put in a new patio at the Other Side, and just kind of fixed things to make sure the systems all work really well, and that the staff is very experienced and professional. We just keep getting better and it’s awesome.
It’s great to hear about all the experiences people have had at Cervantes. How did you decide who would perform during Cervantes anniversary bash this year?
Well, we’ve done Everyone Orchestra in the past, and they’re one of my favorite acts because it’s all based on improvisation. Another cool part about it is you can have so many different musicians involved from different bands and different parts of the world, which is kind of what Cervantes is all about. You know it’s a version of what we do all the time so I thought it was a great act to have for the anniversary weekend. We can include a lot of different musicians that have played here over the years and it’s just a great act because it’s so unique.
Is there anything extra special that we can expect that might set this party apart from previous anniversaries?
I think that’s another cool part of Everyone Orchestra. It’s always a different lineup so nothing is ever the same. We have Dirtwire opening up on Friday, which will be really cool. And then Sisters of Soul and Atomga will be performing next door at the Other Side on Saturday so maybe some of them will come over and sit in with Everyone Orchestra. Oteil Burbridge is coming back and he’s one of the best bass players in the world, I think, so that’s really incredible.
I agree that having that collaboration between an array of talented artists really is what Cervantes is all about. What can fans of Cervantes look forward to in 2016?
Well, we’re going to be doing some more Red Rocks shows, which is really exciting. We’re already starting to improve and renovate the Aggie Theatre, which we took over in August. Sonic Bloom and Arise music festivals are both going to be huge this year too, and we help put on both of those. It’s definitely going to be a big year for us.
What is one of your favorite memories of Cervantes over the time you’ve spent there?
Oh man, there are so many. That’s really such a hard question. Most recently Chris Robinson has been a very special musician at Cervantes because he came through in 2003 and was one of my favorite shows of all time. He has also played three of our last four New Years Eve’s, which were all really awesome. One other memory that always stands out was when Page McConnell from Phish played on my birthday in 2007, which was kind of random but really incredible. There are just so many, so many awesome moments at shows. I should write down my top ten. People always ask me and I can never come up with anything off the top of my head.
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You definitely should; I’m sure that would turn out to be an interesting read. Here’s to another fourteen years of fun at Cervantes.
Celebrate with all of the Cervantes family this Friday, January 15, and Saturday, January 16, at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom and Cervantes Other Side. Check out full lineup and details.