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No, Red Rocks Did Not Announce Its 2021 Schedule

The 2021 Red Rocks schedule is still a mystery.
The 2021 Red Rocks schedule is still a mystery. Aaron Thackeray
We're all excited to sweat it out together at a Red Rocks show. And when you go to the venue's brand-spanking-new website and see a calendar full of spring, summer and fall concerts, you want to believe that those shows are actually happening.

But come on: We're in another year of trying to beat back COVID-19. Live entertainment is barely allowed; big events are definitely shut down for the foreseeable future. Nobody at the City of Denver, which runs the venue, thinks that all the gigs listed will really happen. They don't have a crystal ball; they can't know when full-capacity concerts will be allowed again.

But Out There Colorado saw the online calendar and assumed that Red Rocks had announced its actual schedule because, well, the concerts are all listed there.

On January 6, the publication posted a story headlined "Red Rocks Releases 2021 Concert Schedule," which has since been renamed "Here's a look at Red Rocks Amphitheatre's current 2021 concert schedule" — technically accurate, based on what's online, but also misleading. Nearly all of those shows are still up in the air and unlikely to take place, confirms Brian Kitts, a spokesperson for Denver Arts & Venue, the city agency that runs Red Rocks.

Denver Arts & Venues quit announcing Red Rocks seasons several years ago, Kitts explains, leaving it up to AEG Presents, Live Nation and other promoters that rent the venue to publicize their individual events. Many of the 2020 concerts that were postponed last year wound up with new dates this year...with no guarantee they will actually happen.

"The shows up on the Red Rocks website are basically last year's schedule superimposed on 2021's," notes Kitts. "And that schedule has been up for months."

After the Out There Colorado story went live, though, other outlets jumped on the bandwagon and reported that the venue had announced its season — then subsequently scrambled to make corrections, updates and clarifications.

But they couldn't stop the spread of the story. Would-be concert-goers started calling to get tickets. Inundated with requests, promoters called Denver Arts & Venues, wondering what the hell had happened.

"It’s one of the perils of social media and how fast everything moves now," says Kitts.

So what is happening with Red Rocks, which is run by an agency that has had to either furlough or redeploy half its staff to handle contract tracing?

"It’s just too early to tell," says Kitts. "Let’s talk again in March. ... We’re counting on having shows. We’re counting on having shows at a higher capacity than we did last summer. With restrictions in place the way they are, they won’t look the way they would have. As we get into springtime and mid- to late summer, things are going to change."

How? Who knows? 

As for the killer calendar on the website that was gleefully shared by Out There Colorado, "In all of our dreams, that’s what our schedule ends up looking like," says Kitts. 

Good luck with that. 
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris

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