Music News

Despite Growing Momentum, Is This the End of Goldrush Music Festival?

After five years of providing Denver with a well-curated, post-festival season throwdown, the Goldrush Music Festival’s creator says this could very well be the end of the line

“The future of Goldrush is definitely up for debate, considering how much time and effort it takes and the fact that I’m no longer currently based in Denver,” says Crawford Philleo, the festival’s co-creator. “That aspect made the entire event — and especially the record fair — a huge challenge.”

Philleo conceived Goldrush with Jake Martin and Ryan Pjesky in 2011, but he moved to Chicago in June. The move itself and the distance from Denver made organizing Goldrush difficult, he says.

“I was still living in Denver when the wheels started to turn for the 2015 edition,” says Philleo. “I felt like it was important to see it through for at least one more year, as I’d already had a few commitments in place.”

Philleo says the difficulties of planning a two-day festival with twenty bands and numerous sponsors from across the country are too numerous to list. It’s a year-round job, but the weeks leading up to the 2015 event were particularly time-consuming and stressful, he adds.
“The final week leading up to the festival was…a huge strain in terms of getting to Denver in time and then being able to tie up all the loose ends quickly to ensure everything was in place to run smoothly,” he says. “I think the hardest part was the on-the-ground promotion of the event itself.”

To help take up the slack from his absence this summer, Philleo says he and festival organizers brought in a street team to do the bulk of the promotion for the event. Working off Goldrush’s past success helped as well. But he says he’s still not convinced that the festival can be run consistently from afar.

“Goldrush has a great reputation,” says Philleo, “and our marketing strategies and advertisements seemed to work really well for us. But I think just myself being there day by day, to be talking about it with people on the fly, is key to keeping the event at the front of everyone’s minds.”

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Oakland Childers has been a music journalist since he was sixteen.