On May 14, Mayor Michael Hancock announced that most social distancing requirements, the mask ordinance, and bar and venue capacity restrictions would be dropped, boldly claiming that Denver is back in business for an "all-star summer." Over the weekend, venues grappled with what that would mean for them, and they're now announcing big changes.
After starting concert season with a string of 2,800-person shows, Red Rocks, which is busy hosting high school graduations this week, has announced that it's bumped up its capacity to 6,300 for the next month. By June 21, the venue will be back to full capacity, 9,500, for all shows, including both newly announced and rescheduled concerts from last year.
"It's exciting," says venue spokesman Brian Kitts.
That news came the same day that the Colorado Symphony, which will be heading to Red Rocks this weekend to play the music of blockbuster movie composer John Williams on May 23 and May 25, announced a rare collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan along with Big Boi and Chris Karns on Friday, August 13. Tickets for that show, which go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, May 21, are $69.95 to $139.95 and available at AXS.
Like Red Rocks, other venues are now lifting capacity requirements.
Levitt Pavilion Denver, which spent a good chunk of the year developing pod seating, has done away with pods and is letting people fill the 7,500-capacity venue. That means tickets are again available for this weekend's previously sold-out DeVotchKa shows.
The Oriental Theater has announced that it will be returning to 500-person shows, and the hi-dive has begun rolling out summer shows, including a new Thursday night karaoke series.
Even DIY venue Glitter City announced its first in-person concert, though as of May 17, organizers were still planning to keep reduced capacity to fifty into July, a testament to the underground scene's abundance of caution.
As for bands that were planning to play reduced-capacity shows, many are now attempting to punch well above their weight and sell far more tickets than they had anticipated.
Music's back. Now the question: Will crowds return?