AEG To Manage Fiddler’s Green

Shed's shift away from Live Nation bolsters Chuck Morris' Rocky Mountain business

  • by Lisa White
  • Published: August 14, 2013

Fiddlers-Green.jpg

Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre in Englewood, Colo.

A new partnership deal will result in an overdue renovation for a venue that’s considered part of Colorado’s music history and live music landscape.

Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) and AEG Live Rocky Mountains recently announced a 15-year partnership of Denver’s Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre beginning with the 2014 concert season and including an extensive renovation this winter. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’ve been thinking of Fiddler’s Green for a long time, and when its contract was up with Live Nation, we saw an opportunity and jumped on it,” said Chuck Morris, president/CEO of AEG Live Rocky Mountain Region. “This venue is ripe for a massive improvement that will bring it into the 21st century.”

What helped seal the deal was that MOA, AEG and Fiddler’s Green representatives were all on the same page in terms of its upgrade and future goals.

“It was clear that our mindset and ideas for the future of Fiddler’s Green were in lockstep with the venue’s museum owners,” said Don Strasburg, VP and senior talent buyer of AEG Live Rocky Mountains. “Everyone saw the opportunities and were thinking to the future in the same way.”

The goal of the renovation, expected to total $5 million, is to update the 25-year-old venue, which has not been improved since being built.

“Because the building has never been upgraded since its creation in 1988, we knew we were looking at investing a significant amount of money,” Strasburg said. “We have ideas in respect to the infrastructure and mechanics as well as addressing the aesthetics of the venue that impact patrons’ experiences.”

The goal of the project is to create a facility that encourages repeat business, while creating an icon in the community.

Fiddler’s Green is an outdoor performing arts venue that remains closed from Oct. 1 through early May, which is when the bulk of the renovations are expected to take place. Advisors and consultants affiliated with AEG are expected to assess the facility to determine the specific improvements that will be made.

According to Strasburg, the renovation will most likely cover three aspects of the venue. The backstage artist’s area is expected to receive a complete overhaul, with the dressing rooms, offices and catering areas being reworked and upgraded. On the operations side, the concessions areas, access points, box office and other public areas will most likely be reconfigured. In addition, the gates and entrances will be evaluated and improved for easier navigation by patrons.

During the renovation, special attention will be given to the aesthetics, with changes being made to the facility’s overall décor.

There also is expected to be more symmetry with MOA, which owns the building.

“It doesn’t make sense that the museum’s knowledge and arts were not brought to bear as part of the venue’s interior,” Strasburg said.

AEG Live Rocky Mountains and its principals have a history of building and restoring venues, including Ogden Theatre and Bluebird Theater in Denver, Gothic Theatre in Englewood and Fox Theatre and Tulagi in Boulder, Colo.

In 2010, the company renovated Broomfield, Colo.’s 1STBANK Center, formerly The Odeum Colorado and The Broomfield Event Center, which was only in its third year of operation at the time.

“The 1STBANK Center had great bones, but we wanted to create more of a club feel,” Morris said. “With Fiddler’s Green, the soul of the place is cold, and we want to change that.”

The renovation team had not been confirmed at press time.

AEG will position the facility for all types of shows and music events for its 2014 summer season.

“We will do good things like Live Nation and House of Blues did before us,” Morris said. “We also are open to other companies bringing in their tours.”

A preopening party is expected to be scheduled in early May to unveil the new facility.

“There will be a lot of work and money spent, so we will do the job properly, even if it takes us more time [to complete renovations past the May opening date],” Strasburg said. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to invest money in creating a new and incredibly well-thought-out amphitheater experience.”

With a seating capacity of 18,000 people, events at Fiddler’s Green bring in more than 200,000 visitors annually. The venue has hosted a number of international performing artists, including the Eagles, B.B. King, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Tool and the Who, in addition to holding other events and festivals.

Interviewed for this article: Chuck Morris, (720) 931-3915; Don Strasburg, (720) 931-3915

  • by Lisa White
  • Published: August 14, 2013
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