Breaking: Monolith Festival on the ropes

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Just received word from Josh Baker, co-curator of Monolith, that the future of the indie-centric festival is uncertain. (Read Baker's full statement after the jump.) Although the turnout for this year's festival seemed to increase slightly from year's past and the lineup itself seemed more solid than ever, with headliners like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Mars Volta, the picturesque annual two-day outing at Red Rocks is now finding itself in the precarious position of having to seek new investors to keep the festival going after its third year.

Despite the well wishes of many music fans, ourselves included, and the gracious underwriting of corporate sponsors such as Esurance, who fully embraced the festival for the same reason as fans, namely the festival's knack for landing forward thinking acts -- the prescient booking of a number of buzz bands such as Vampire Weekend and Phoenix, for instance, who went on to make huge inroads -- this outcome, unfortunately, seemed foreseeable, especially when organizers parted ways with AEG Live, the promoter who produced the 2008 installment of the festival and who opted out this year.

Talent aside, fact is, the annual fall festival, although affordable and appealing to astute music fans, faced an uphill climb from the beginning and endured its share of obstacles, not the least of which was the elements. Although there's nothing quite like a September afternoon in Colorado, the evenings can be more than a little unforgiving. Monolith also seemed to be undermined by the very thing that made the it so appealing to so many of us, the fact that it catered to passionate music fans by creating exposure for talented emerging acts at the exclusion of appealing to mainstream interlopers by booking artists that had already broken on a massive scale otherwise.

All hope is not lost, however. If Baker and company can manage to align themselves with an accommodating benefactor, there's still a glimmer of hope that Monolith will continue. In the absence of that, though, it looks like Red Rocks will seem a little less magical for music fans at the end of next year's summer concert season.

Brother, can you spare a couple hundred thousand dollars?


We are very saddened by the nature of this announcement but wanted to bring it to you first.  We feel like we have always been very fan-centric, honest and open with you therefore it's important to us to communicate the severity of our current situation.  We have tirelessly promoted and produced the Monolith Festival for 3 years now.  Over the course of those three years we have witnessed some amazing performances, met a bunch of great friends and produced a very special event that filled our voracious appetite to deliver the most amazing new artists in the world.  Many of you who know us know that we do this out of sheer pleasure, undesirable love of music and a vehicle to tout our admiration for hardworking musicians. 

With that said, the future of the festival is very grim.  A tough economic year and an opening day of chilling rain combined to put a serious dent in our humble operation.  We have continued to pursue any and all options that would allow us to recover from this year and head into 2010 with full steam.  At this point in time, we have been unable to secure any options.  We are communicating this message to you - the fans, the media and the artists who have supported time and time again for good reason.  We hope that somewhere, in our vast network of music lovers, that there may be someone with the means to pull us up by our boot straps and give us chance to continue building this amazing event.

If you have any input or know of someone who may be interested in investing in/purchasing our small but mighty event, we would love to speak with them. We have a number of options available for interested parties/individuals.  For more information please contact jb@monolithfestival.com.  Again, this is our last resort and we have explored just about every option that is available to us. To  the folks who we still hold financial obligations to, we whole-heartedly appreciate your patience and willingness to work through this tough time with us. 

A very special thanks to the fans who have bought tickets, told your friends, blogged and shouted from the mountaintops about their admiration and love for Monolith.  We encourage you to continue this as it can only help our cause.  We would also like to thank our loyal, generous sponsors who have been there for us year after year.  Specific thanks and credit goes to Esurance who saw our vision for this event and remains the sole reason why this event was even possible.

Best Regards,

Contact us at jb@monolithfestival.com

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.