2014 is truly a year for making things happen in Colorado. Venues are opening up all over the place, established venues hosting an influx of well-known acts, new festivals are on the rise and now – drum roll – in recent Colorado entertainment news is the passing of the City of Denver’s approval of The Colorado Hall of Fame move into the Trading Post at The Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Set to open its doors in hand with the start of the summer concert series this year, visitors will be greeted by a 14 ½ fool bronze stature of John Denver called Spirit that was donated by the Windstar Conservation Group in Aspen. The group was formed by John Denver upon the purchase of 957 acres in the 1970’s (more information about the group’s activities and movements are found at www.aspenjournalism.org).
Onlookers will be welcomed into the new space that will accommodate the John Denver exhibit, among others. Denver and The Red Rocks Amphitheatre were the first inductees shortly after its opening April 2011. Across from Denver’s memorabilia will be the Rock In The 1960’s exhibit including The Astronauts from Boulder, whose popularity superseded The Beach Boys during their tenure, Sugarloaf of Denver (Green-eyed Lady) and The Flash Cadillacs who originated in Boulder. The Flash Cadillacs were indead ahead of their time, creating quite the following with their rude and brush tactics (if you’re familiar with The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ show antics, such as their ‘socks only’ performances, you’ll understand).
Exhibits dedicated to 2012 inductees include Barry Fey, concert promoter who worked with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, naming a few, opened The Family Dog concert hall in 1967 and proceeded to establish Denver as a “must-play” market, and Harry Tuft, folk musician and godfather of Denver Folklore Center, will be on display in the main room. Also, the Class of 2013 showcase will be including The Serendipity Singers – Boulder, KIMN Radio – Denver, Chris Daniels – Denver, also collaborated with well-known acts as a bandleader for The Drifters, The Platters and Francine Reed, to name a few.
The COMHOF Class of 2014 will be inducted with a big bang of a celebration. Planning is underway for spectacular guest appearances whose dates are yet to be announced, (we’ll be dancing like disco divas in Margaritaville – just a hint), will likely be close to the end of the summer season. Caribou Ranch, located in Nederland, is home to many recordings of artists including Chicago, Elton John, John Lennon, Michael Jackson and many more, before falling under the demise of a fire in 1985, heads this year’s inductee list.
Dan Fogelberg who had set his sights on LA, fell in love with Colorado while passing by through Estes Park and met up with Chris Hillman, an original Byrds member, in Nederland. His hits “Leader Of The Band” and “Longer and Same Old Lang Syne” were inspired by his love of Colorado.
Joe Walsh and Barnstorm came about after Walsh left the James Gang in 1971 and moved to Colorado. Walsh’s huge hit “Rocky Mountain Way” was released in 1971 on The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get album. In Walsh’s words, “I’m living in Colorado and I’m mowing the lawn. I look up and there’s the Front Range of Rocky Mountains and there’s snow on them in the summer and it knocked me back because it was so beautiful. And I thought, well I am committed. I’m already in Colorado and it’s too late to regret the James Gang. The Rocky Mountain Way is better than the way I had.”
Colorado native, Dean Reed, Gary Stites from Wheat Ridge and Band Box Records, a successful Colorado record label from Lakewood also join the COMHOF Class of 2014.
The Inaugural Fundraising Dinner in March 2011 with celebratory performances including Subdudes co-founder John Magnie as well as Danielle Ate The Sandwich, launched an incredible epicenter showcasing only a few of the many stars that live among us. This much needed move is the first step towards expanding awareness of the rich beauty that Colorado humbly emanates from its deep soul culture. Colorado, you are the best!