For years now, Colorado has boasted one of the best music cultures in the country. With countless venues for traveling acts, including the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, there has been no doubt that Colorado is any musician’s or music fan’s top spot. However, as the growing popularity in music festivals continues, it seems odd that Colorado has yet to host a world-wide gathering of great new music.
I know some of you might stop me right here and name a long list of amazing festivals like Telluride Bluegrass or Snowball, all of which I will not downplay. But at the same time, these events are more focused in their genres and do not seem to hold a universal interest like a Coachella, Sasquatch or Lollapalooza. You can agree that it is surprising that with the natural beauty of Colorado, and with its young, energetic fan base, there is still no widely appreciated all-around festival that we can really call our own. Not until now.
In partnerhsip with AEG, The Boulder-based production company Madison House created Vertex—a 3-day music festival located in beautiful Buena Vista that’ll feature the latest and greatest artists from all every spectrum. I am sure you have seen promotional ads for Vertex all over the internet, but we wanted to dig a little deeper, so we sat down with Madison House Present’s President Jeremey Stein to get more information on this first year festival.
303 Magazine: Where did you get the name Vertex?
Jeremy Stein: Haha that’s a good one, actually haven’t been asked that before. One reason is that vertex relates to peaks and mountains, and then there is a vertex like a place on a map. But more than that, it’s about Colorado’s culture coming together. It seems like a high goal for us, but you know my sense is there a lot of small and medium sized events in Colorado, and for a long time, I’ve heard folks in Colorado say they could really use a flag ship event. It’s funny it doesn’t exist.
There’s already an incredible music culture. There’s a lot of options, but there’s not one that showcases everything Colorado has in one event. We have been building up over the years to Vertex and we have a lot of experience. And when you’re building a 21st-century camping event, it’s not just a music event but also its also a cultural event. Camping and music just goes with Colorado so well that the identity fits perfectly.
303: What drew you to the location site, Buena Vista and Cottonwood Meadows?
JS: We have spent, not exaggerating, 20 years looking across Colorado. In the meantime, we’ve been doing a lot of shows, but always searching. We have had this checklist, and every location that we had visited didn’t meet all the criteria. We needed a location near the mountains, somewhere not too far away from the Denver area, a place with natural beauty and so on. This location at Cottonwood checked every box. Nothing drives Denver culture better than this location. A perfect mix of outdoor activity, natural beauty and of coarse great live music.
303: Madison House is known for the huge festival Electric Forest. What aspects will you bring from that and what will be unique to Vertex?
JS: No matter what we are doing, whether it is managing artists or producing events, we are always looking to make things spectacular and one-of-a-kind. If it’s The Grateful Dead or Bassnectar, we always want to make them one-of-a-kind. I get this question a lot about comparing this to Electric Forest. Even though Vertex is more of a mix of genres, it is still the cream of the crop.
The thing that will be unique about Vertex is the participation of the community. The community of Buena Vista came out right way. There will be so much more to do then just music. We will have something called field trips — a way to combine your favorite thought of what it means to be in Colorado with a music festival. You can wake up, raft, bus to town to get some food in BV (Buena Vista), then come back to the venue to get a quality yoga class. This combination of a Colorado vacation and spectacular mountains with rafting, hiking, and a festival, that’s really one-of-a-kind.
303: What’s the long term goal for this festival?
JS: It’s certainly a goal to expand the scope. Year two is usually bigger. If each year is a success, we will grow but where’s the line? I don’t think anyone knows exactly. I hate to even say numbers, but it’s in the tens of thousands.
303: Any surprises you want to give us hints about?
JS: A lot of the artists are already booked, but there will be a few more. I think the most surprising thing for people will be the non-musical options we have. I recommend you run through the website and check out the field trips. It’s a really good idea to lightly plan your way into it. We have actually just finished building a swimming lake. It’s located near the front entrance and the camp grounds, the water is refreshed every 24-hours with mountain water, there will be a DJ on an island in the middle, and then food, bars and sand around the outside. I am really looking forward to that. For those hot days, we have a stretch of creek that runs a full mile right through the venue. If you wanted to read a book all day with peace and quiet, you could.
Vertex is not yet sold out. Although I cannot speak for a festival that hasn’t happened yet, I can tell you that the location, artists and production company are top-notch. I truly hope this festival is here for the long haul, only to grow year after year and bring something truly spectacular to Colorado. For the full list of field trips, information and tickets, go here.