In December, the Front Range EDM community blew its top after word spread that a potential rave called Warehouse Invasion, thrown in part by Colorado Springs-based Rage Cage Entertainment, would be taking place even though Denver and surrounding counties were under strict Level Red COVID-19 guidelines. After our story about concerns over this potential superspreader broke on December 12, the day of the rave, it was canceled.
But Rage Cage hasn't stopped putting on events: The next one is scheduled for March 19.
Meanwhile, the fallout from Warehouse Invasion has been brutal for some of the acts listed on the bill. Other promoters threatened to blacklist them for agreeing to perform; on his podcast, The Raver’s Circle, Hollywood Hyde, who had backed out of the show but was not taken off the flier, reported that he'd even received death threats. (Hyde declined to be interviewed for this story.) And scheduled headliners say they have still not been paid.
DJ Tom Rogers, who was billed as one of the headliners, flew into Denver from New York on the day of the show. His Rage Cage contact, Quacy Cayasso, a former New York City promoter he'd worked with before, had assured him the rave would be in compliance with Colorado's COVID-19 guidelines, Rogers recalls: “We were told the venue was in another county, and that all of your different counties had different color codes. We were told this was one of the last remaining ‘green zones,’ and because of their previous experience in other states, they were the only promoters with this opportunity.”
But the moment he stepped off the airplane in Denver and checked his phone, Rogers says he was bombarded with messages from fans cautioning him not to perform; he reached out to Cayasso to find out if the show was legal or not. According to Cayasso, determining that was the responsibility of Rage Cage CEO Angel Avila and the venue owner.
“From the moment I began raising concerns before leaving the airport, they were all apologizing for Angel's poor conduct and business acumen,” remembers Rogers.
Even before the show was canceled, Rogers had decided he would not perform. But he's still taking heat for even being listed, as is fellow headliner Daze OFF.
"So what happened is I was booked for an event in Denver Colorado by Angel Aguila [sic] however I was never made aware of the actual circumstances of the event and how unsafe everything was and I was never paid for the event even though I was promised $300 for the event," Daze OFF writes in a statement.
Rogers, too, says he has yet to be paid.
"Of course I am pursuing legal action: If promoters don't pay you, then you have a right to hold them to your agreement and be paid," Rogers explains. "I am a firm believer that business is relationships, and you must respect your relationships to build something significant. Colorado deserves a vibrant electronic music community, but bad actors such as Angel Avila are running free, damaging the careers of your artists and reputation of your state."
Rogers says that while the show was being organized, his primary contact was Cayasso, who would communicate through a Rage Cage email address; Cayasso lived with Avila and other members of the Rage Cage team.
“Quacy was our point person and definitively worked for Rage Cage. He even ran the Eventbrite ticket link and booked my flight,” says Rogers. “He also booked arrangements for Daze OFF. I know this because we were both picked up at the airport together and discussed the flight arrangements. We spoke on the phone with both Quacy and Angel as representatives of Rage Cage from the beginning of this event, right until now. ... [Avila] often kept Quacy in the dark about financials or other logistics, and Quacy would have to confer with Angel, then get back to us."
Avila did not respond to questions regarding whether acts booked for Warehouse Invasion had been paid. As for Rage Cage's arrangement with Cayasso, “Quacy was never employed by me," Avila says via email. "He wanted to be apart [sic] of the company."
Early this month, Cayasso reached out to Westword with this statement:
I am the main promoter of the WAREHOUSE INVASION event and Rage Cage Ent. the Main company behind the event. I'm reaching out to you with this official statement and my official response to the event, please read and publish asap.
It's with a heavy heart that we announce the closure and end of rage cage ent, due to ability that we are unable to pay DAZE OFF, Michael Phase B2B Tom Rogers and their artists, some of which dropped from the event due to our carelessness during a pandemic.
All pending and future events are canceled. We did not fully understand the laws in colorado and misrepresented them to these artists.
We are truly sorry and hope to continue throwing events after this is all legally resolved.
While Rogers also has regrets over what went down with Cayasso and Rage Cage, he still wants to perform in Denver.
According to Beta Event Center talent buyer Adam Rich, the DJ will likely be playing the club in early May for “a redemption show.”
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