A year ago this week, the 2019 Red Rocks season was under way. In advance of 4/20, Flatbush Zombies and Joey Bada$$ opened the amphitheater, followed by Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, then 311 with Method Man and Redman.
In the months that followed, music lovers enjoyed more than 150 shows, from Billie Eilish, the youngest performer to headline the venue, to John Prine with the Colorado Symphony.
Memories were made. Lives were changed by music. People traveled from all over the world to Colorado, and musicians and fans alike crossed off a life goal: make it to a Red Rocks show.
Again and again, the 9,000 people packing the venue became one musical organism, singing along with the musicians we love. And as the season wrapped up in early November with Deadmau5, we looked forward to the start of the 2020 season, as our city's bookers announced concert after concert — so many that it was hard to keep up with the schedule.
Finding out which artists are coming to Red Rocks and then planning which concerts to attend — rain or shine — has been a Denver tradition for decades.
Then came the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 Red Rocks season was supposed to start this week. But mid-April concerts were canceled, as were dozens of Red Rocks concerts in the months to come, along with tens of thousands of concerts nationwide.
And it's not just the Red Rocks amphitheater that's been shut down; it's the entire park — from the trails to the Trading Post.
On top of the death, despair and social isolation that COVID-19 has caused around the world, the live-music industry is bleeding. Some wonder if it can ever bounce back. Will people be able to congregate again at concerts? If so, how? And when?
From the vendors to the ticket takers to the security guards, stagehands and people who clean the venues, as well as the musicians, talent buyers and promoters, many people in the industry are out of work. Those in charge don't know when things will start up again.
But we've got our memories, and since we can't go to Red Rocks this weekend, we're thinking about all the concerts we were able to experience there. We want to know about your favorite shows at Red Rocks, too, whether you went to hear music, worked the venue or even played the stage.
Post a comment, or send your Red Rocks photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org; we'll share them next week, when you can put on a favorite record, lift a glass and toast — from a distance — to better times.