The dearth of live music over the past year has been a drag of epic proportions, and the folks at Denver's Party Guru Productions know it as well as anyone. Yet crowding at a rave or club is still a no-go.
So the promoters have found a solution: Have the artists perform inside a hotel atrium while fans enjoy the music from their room balconies. Party Guru calls the concept a "vertical concert experience." The shows, two this weekend, are part of the SerotonINN Sound Series. The company hopes to make the events a regular occurrence in Denver — even beyond COVID-19.
In trying to host concerts, Party Guru Productions founder and owner Mike Knopping took inspiration from Europe, where COVID-19-safe events have been going since last summer.
"We've been looking at the various different events and everything that was done," says Knopping. "Obviously, people have done drive-ins and seated shows. But it didn't seem to be the right fit. We were looking for something that was still filling socially distant guidelines but something where you aren't seated like a dinner-theater thing or sitting in a parking lot and subjected to adverse weather."
They eventually decided to host the shows at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in the Denver Tech Center. The hotel boasts a large, multi-story atrium, and ticket holders will be able to watch the musical performances from room balconies. The artists will be set up on the ground floor, with a VIP package that includes a table near the stage and bottle service.
Knopping says that the hotel hosts live music on occasion, so the sound in the atrium should be good.
"It's a luxurious kind of way to do it," he says. "It's the equivalent of having a VIP suite at an arena show like 1STBANK Center or the Pepsi Center. We were able to find a one-of-a-kind atrium that allow us to have everyone safely secured in their own room."
The shows are conducted under Centers for Disease Control guidelines, and guests are required to stay in their own room with their own group and not jump from room to room. More detailed information on rules for the shows is available at the SerotonINN Sound Series website.
"Claude VonStroke is the owner and founder of Dirtybird, which is a music collective, a record label, a clothing line and a festival producer," Knopping says. "It's a collective of some of the best artists in the house-music genre and EDM in general. Worthy is one of the original Dirtybird members as well."
"They are a festival, a collective, a record label," Knopping says. "All those guys together will throw one hell of a party. They'll actually be taking over the entire evening on Saturday night, with Andy Immerman and DSQISE going back-to-back to kick it off."
Knopping hopes the atrium shows continue even after the pandemic; once social distancing is relaxed, he hopes they can become bigger affairs with more people.
"This is an amazing space," he says. "It has so much potential. ... It would be perfect for future events we're hoping to do past COVID."
Basic room packages have sold out for both nights, but a VIP package that includes a table near the stage and two rooms is still available and starts at $187.50 per person. A pool-party package with space near the indoor swimming pool as well as two rooms is also available for Saturday night. Go to the SerotonINN Sound Series website for more information about how to purchase tickets.
Update: An earlier version of this story described the event as a "festival." Kopping prefers to describe it as a "socially distanced concert series."
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