Colorado's musical legacy is about to find some permanence. Officials from the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and the Denver-based Blue Goose design firm have unveiled final plans for the permanent exhibition space set to open at Red Rocks Amphitheater later this year. Based at the current Trading Post gift shop on the Red Rocks grounds, the new Hall of Fame exhibit will have a formality, depth and security that's lacking at its current temporary home at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield. And that's just the beginning. Officials say the new Hall of Fame will have plenty of room to expand as the list of Colorado musicians, promoters and songwriters honored in the Hall of Fame expands in the coming years.
The move from the 1stBank Center comes after formal approval from the city of Denver. Blue Goose Inc. President Don Woodard worked closely with Colorado Music Hall of Fame Director G. Brown in finalizing an ideal design for an older space at a historic spot. That took careful planning, considering the status of the venue. After all, Red Rocks itself made the first round of honorees in 2011.
"G. Brown and I visited the Trading Post, looked at the facility and looked for the best way we could display the existing exhibits," Woodard notes, adding that the building carries its own unique demands. "The John Denver (exhibit) was a little bit of a challenge. Rather than mounting the pieces on the plaster walls ... we've designed a frame system that will be positioned up against the walls.
"Some of these displays get kind of heavy," he adds.
After careful planning, the newly renovated space will open this summer. A main hall and a pair of satellite exhibition spaces will be the foundation for that future growth. Don Woodard, president of Blue Goose Inc., says the refitted Trading Post will feature a main hall to house exhibits devoted to promoter Barry Fey and Denver Folklore Center founder Harry Tuft. Both were inducted in 2012. That main space is also set to house exhibits dedicated to the 2013 school of honorees, which includes folk chanteuse Judy Collins, bandleader Chris Daniels and the Serendipity Singers.
Two side halls will feature exhibitions dedicated to John Denver, the biggest name in the Hall of Fame's inaugural class of 2011. Those spaces will also house collections dedicated to 1960s rock in Colorado, including tributes to local bands like the Astronauts, Sugarloaf and Flash Cadillac. All of those exhibits will take up the majority of the space at the existing facility, which is why plans for an expansion are already in the works. Colorado Music Hall of Fame officials are already spearheading fundraising efforts to pay for a separate, satellite facility that would house exhibitions dedicated to future inductees.
"There won't be too much more room within the trading post," Woodard explains. "We can't go too many years. It's actually going to be constructed right next to the trading post. It's going to be a standalone building."
Woodard, a Colorado native whose firm has largely handled designing exhibitions for non-music related entities like the National Renewable Energy Labs in Golden, has found his own way to contribute to Colorado's musical history. An amateur woodcarver, Woodard made a plaque commemorating 2014 inductees Joe Walsh and Barnstorm, Dan Fogelberg and Caribou Ranch. The piece, currently sitting in Chuck Norris' office, is set to be an auction item during a future fundraiser for the new building.
"Getting to meet the inductees personally has been very enjoyable," he explains. "I research all of the players. I try to incorporate the design into these things."