A near-exclusive deal struck between Clear Channel Entertainment and the city of Denver that gives CCE first rights to every date at Red Rocks, has rival promoters House of Blues Concerts and Nobody In Particular Presents livid.
A lock on this deal would also give CCE a monopoly control over most of Denver's best concert venues – Red Rocks, Pepsi Center, Fillmore and the proposed 5,000-seat tented amphitheater, City Lights, set to open next summer at the Pepsi Center's parking lot. This latter venue comes via a partnership between CCE and Kroenke Sports Entertainment, owners of the Pepsi Center.
"Our company is totally committed to doing 30 and 40 shows at Red Rocks," Chuck Morris, vice president, CCE, told the Rocky Mountain News. "It's our only major amphitheater that we can book in this town. In the next two to three years, you're going to see the Red Rocks schedule go back to the glory days of the '70s.
Jesse Morreale, a co-owner of Nobody In Particular Presents, which recently filed a lawsuit against CCE accusing it of "monopolistic, predatory and anti-competitive practices," (CelebrityAccess, Aug. 8) told the paper that any Red Rocks deal "would have to go out to bid.
"It defies comment," he said. "I can't imagine that a deal that takes away the ability for everyone to promote at Red Rocks is a fair deal. I just can't see that happening."
"You'd think after the lawsuit, they would stop it," added Barry Fey, head of HOB's Denver operations. "But they're just so aggressive here; they want it all. They're not going to get it. If the city's going to be a partner in this, maybe they just like being defendants. If the (city council) doesn't stop it, maybe a judge will. It's wrong. It's just wrong."
But any proposal to give CCE first crack at concerts would have to pass a City Council vote. Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth, whose district includes Nobody In Particular Presents' Bluebird and Ogden Theaters, told the paper she doesn't want NIPP impacted because of the deal.
"I don't want to have a deal exclude any one person in this city," she said. "I'm concerned about that and was very clear about that with [Theaters and Arenas head] Fabby Hillyard. Most of my colleagues will want to make sure that whatever is agreed upon for the Pepsi Center or Red Rocks doesn't get to be a domino thing, where one knocks off the other." That is yet to be seen.