Denver Arts & Venues Will Close All Its Venues in October, Including Red Rocks, Until Further Notice

Earlier this week, Red Rocks (along with 1,500 venues) put out a plea for help in the form of red lights. Dubbed the #RestartRedAlert, venues nationwide lit up as a call to action for Congress to pass the Restart Act. The bill would bring economic relief to the events industry —  which has come to a screeching halt due to the pandemic. According to the organizers of #RestartRedAlert, as many “as 12 million people in the Live Events Industry are currently unemployed, furloughed, or have lost up to 90% of their income, and the world’s largest concert promoters have reported a 98% loss of revenue since the start of the pandemic.”


Photography courtesy of Nick Guzzo.

Today, Denver Arts and Venues are showing just how dire the circumstances are locally. Starting in October, all of its venues will close. This includes many of Denver’s institutions such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex and the McNichols Civic Center Building. The only ones that remain operational are Denver Coliseum and Colorado Convention Center but only for COVID-19 related purposes. Venues will remain closed until larger events are able to restart or pandemic related conditions improve.

Sadly, this means 70 Arts & Venues employees will be furloughed either full-time or part-time starting at the end of September. The furloughs will last until at least January 2021.

McNichols event center. Photo by Brittany Werges

“It’s hoped that by pausing things now, at a time when we know our venues won’t be open, Arts & Venues can be in a financial position to reopen quickly once live entertainment returns.  This is a tough time for our community and our own staff, and we’re hoping to be back in operation as soon as the arts and cultural industries are allowed,” said Brian Kitts, Denver Arts & Venues spokesperson.

Denver Arts & Venues, although a city agency, is responsible for many of its expenses and is required to raise revenue for its labor expenses, venue maintenance, capital improvements and more. Since it hasn’t been able to throw many ticketed events (save for some fitness classes, socially distant concerts and drive-in movies) the agency can no longer keep up with its many associated costs. So if you’re able to, take one last heart-pounding walk to the top of Red Rocks and soak in the sights while you can.