Music News

Live Music Returns to Some Venues Under Level Orange

Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom reopens this weekend.
Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom reopens this weekend. Kyle Harris
On Monday, some counties including Denver that had been at Level Red on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's COVID-19 dial dashboard were moved to Level Orange; once again, most indoor music venues can host shows indoors at 25 percent capacity or fifty-person capacity, whichever is less.

Outdoor events under Level Orange can have 25 percent capacity or up to 75 people within the usable space (not including staff); the number is calculated using the state's Distancing Space Calculator. For seated outdoor events, 25 percent capacity or up to 75 people with six-feet distancing between non-household contacts are allowed.

"It doesn’t do much," notes Chris Zacher, Levitt Pavilion Denver head and co-captain of the Colorado chapter of the National Independent Venue Association. "On the indoor side of things, we need to be in Blue or Green for it to make a difference. The orange-level cap is fifty and the yellow level cap is a hundred; however, there is still a square-footage calculator involved that will keep most of the smaller clubs from reaching the high end of these caps limits. I don’t expect substantial movement that will allow reopening that will help us until June at the earliest."

Nocturne opened on Wednesday, January 6, with 25 percent capacity and COVID-19 safety measures in place for guests, staff and musicians. The jazz venue has concerts lined up for the rest of January, including weekly residencies by the Gabriel Mervine Quartet, Annie Booth and the Derek Banach Quintet.


The Mercury Cafe reopened for indoor dining as well as musical and literary events, including-open mic nights, Fridays through Sundays. Gabe Gravango Quartet leads a modern jazz jam on Fridays starting at 5:30 p.m.

Dazzle owner Donald Rossa says he's waiting for two weeks to see if there's a surge in COVID-19 cases from the holidays before booking live shows. For now, Rossa says Dazzle will stick with Bread and Jam, its weekly livestream series that's helping musicians in need by opening the venue as a food pantry during the livestream shows as well as offering mental health service referrals.

"I'll hopefully make a better decision on opening after the 20th," Rossa says.

The Broadway Roxy will be closed until at least February, says owner Paula Vrakas.

And Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom just announced it's open again; tickets just went on sale for two nights with Lech Wierzynski, frontman and songwriter for the California Honeydrops. While Magic Beans' two-night run at the venue is sold out this weekend, the band is doing a fan appreciation pay-what-you-can livestream from the venue on Saturday, January 9. 
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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon