DENVER — On a sellout night, Red Rocks Amphitheater is electric — concert-goers stand shoulder to shoulder and 9,500 people can be in the crowd.
But this year the max is 2,500.
If you’re doing the math, that means capacity will be less than 30% for one of the most iconic outdoor concert venues, where tickets are almost always hard to come by for popular artists.
“You know it’s not going to look like it did two years ago, but it’s a good place to start,” said Brian Kitts, a spokesperson for Red Rocks.
Towards the end of last summer, the venue could host 175 people, so it’s an improvement. But it might not be enough.
Most of the concerts in the 2020 lineup were moved to 2021, and the schedule continues to be a work in progress. Kitts said some artists have decided to cancel shows, and others have now postponed until 2022.
“Some of those acts can play for 2,500 and feel fine about the money that they’ll make. Some of them would rather wait until a venue is at full capacity, and I think we all understand that,” Kitts said. “This is a business. whether it’s the venue side or the artist side, and COVID has done a number on everybody, so those are individual decisions that artists are making.”
Rich Ross with the Freddy Jones Band knows what it’s like to cancel shows. He played his last concert in February 2020 and remains hopeful that he and his band will be able to perform this June.
“The more we get 50, 75% [capacity], I think that would be more manageable. But I don’t see bands being able to cover their overhead travel,” Ross said.
Red Rocks is still working to determine the protocol for ticket holders who might not be able to attend due to capacity restrictions. If a show is canceled, a refund will be issued. If it is rescheduled, ticket holders will have the option to request a refund within 30 days or hold on to the ticket for a later date.
Kitts believes they will be able to increase capacity later this summer as more people are vaccinated and conditions improve.
“If it’s safe to have more people in the venue, we will definitely do that,” Kitts said.