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

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

2008 Number of events: 74 Total revenue: $7,392,585

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

2010 Number of events: 75 Total revenue: $8,714,104

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

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."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar