Music Festivals

Brennen Bryarly Has Big Plans for the Cloak & Dagger Music Festival

Cloak & Dagger Music Festival is set to take place on four stages between Vinyl and City Hall on Saturday, September 19. The set times for the festival can be found below, and you can buy tickets via Ticketfly. While it is a sizable festival of electronic dance music, Cloak & Dagger is not focused on mainstream EDM. Rather, it features underground, largely experimental electronic artists such as Gaslamp Killer and Four Tet.

Now in its second year, the festival has already grown to include a date in Dallas as well as Denver. It represents the latest vision of founder Brennen Bryarly, who has learned the ups and downs of throwing parties through his work as the founder of The Hundred. Bryarly has become increasingly busy with promoting shows/parties throughout the Midwest, and as of 2014, The Hundred has become one of the biggest independent electronic-music production companies in the region, especially in Colorado.

“If you're dancing in this city at all, there's about an 80 percent chance it's one of my shows in one way, shape or form,” says Bryarly. “We've turned into the biggest talent-buying operation in the Midwest right now. React in Chicago is bigger, but they're not independent anymore. We're buying about $1.4-1.5 million worth of shows just in Denver alone.”

Promoting 200 shows per year in addition to festivals, Bryarly has kept busy. But in 2014, he made a conscious decision to cut back on his workload for 2015, in order to get a chance to focus on his own original music. He spent a good deal of time this year writing new material in collaboration with several vocalists, and his Option4 project will release seven EPs during the course of the next six months, starting with the October 12 release of “Vibe On”/”Say Woo” on Nervous Records.

Still, putting on shows will always be part of his work. Bryarly has a good foundation with attracting talent to the festival through his former booking agency, Windish.“Windish is a huge reason Cloak & Dagger even exists, period,” says Bryarly. “We had Windish backing the first year. They understood what I was trying to go for, which was an actual underground music festival that was curated and could do a couple of thousand people. They helped me from the beginning.”

Next year, Bryarly plans to expand Cloak & Dagger further, taking the festival to six cities. 

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.