Was The Inaugural Cloak & Dagger Music Festival The Start Of Something Big?
Cashmere Cat playing at City Hall.
Brennan Bryarly, founder of the Hundred, put on his first festival this weekend, Cloak and Dagger, which was held in the Golden Triangle at City Hall and Vinyl and featured almost thirty electronic producers and DJs. The festival was in the works for two years. But when Bryarly first tried to put on a large event, he didn't have enough backing. This year, though, thanks to a strong track record of shows and some help from (among others) the SoCo Nightlife District, he brought in a lineup including Cashmere Cat from Norway and Holy Ghost! from New York.
The festival he planned in 2012 "had everything lined up, and the lineup was ridiculous. But basically the rest of the Hundred didn't want to do it, because there were doubts... we didn't want to spend money on an event that didn't sell," he says. "It really discouraged me, but I said 'One day, we will start doing big festivals." Those days started last weekend.
The Hundred puts on approximately 150 events per year, from its weekly DJ residencies at Vinyl to presenting special shows in collaboration with Soda Jerk, Souls in Action, Awesome Factory or certain Denver clubs. Around eighty percent of their events now happen at SoCo clubs, and when Bryarly was ready to put on a festival again, the company signed on and financially backed his talent buying budget. The artists was chosen to represent and honor the local Denver culture, as well as drive ticket sales and interest with national and international mega-producers.
Peter Washington, who edits the Hundred blog, explains that keeping the local talent in the spotlight was important, rather than using Denver artists as fillers. "We never want to forget where we came from and want to give back to the community. Throwing these parties is something we do for the city, but we don't to forget the people in the city who are on the grind constantly to build up these shows with talent. It's just as important to bring up the city itself," he says. "We are always on the lookout on whats happening in the city."
Marytn performs at Vinyl.
Bryarly thinks that many festival use local music as a "buffer," and Cloak and Dagger wanted the local talent to be larger than just openers or spot fillers. "If locals get on at 9 a.m., they don't get exposure, and we want this to be good exposure," he says. Three locals were openers for the larger in City Hall and the main Vinyl stage, and the Cue room was all local DJs and producers, giving them prime set times.
"The Hundred has always been on the underground side rather than the bigger names, so we were a little nervous," says Wahington. "But as the night went on, we were very pleased with the quality of the music on all the stages, the energy was incredible, the turn out was very, very satisfying, but we were nervous."
With relatively low ticket prices, hot headliners and a central location, attendance from the Denver electronic community would seem to be certain, but the day of the event was overlapping the Skylab 20th anniversary, a huge electronic music event that featured Tiesto and Deacadon. When asked about the competition in the city for the festival, Brylary says he was extremely happy with the turn out and is in fact glad the electronic music fan base was broken up between the two events. "I think that separating the crowds, brings a little more mature audience to out."
He says that planning for next year is going to be different than it was this year, starting as early as next week so the process can be smooth. But he is certain there will be a Cloak and Dagger festival in the future.
The Hundred is having an anniversary party on Saturday, November 1 at Vinyl featuring Eats Everything, from Europe as their headliner.
Local acts whom performed at Cloak and Dagger:
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.